Seiji Kanai

Oink Games from Japan is known for small card games which pack a big punch. Past hits from Oink have been the excellent games A Fake Artist Goes to New York, Insider and Deep Sea Adventure. Oink has just announced their next 2 games coming to western shores – Mr. Face by Jun Sasaki and Tricks and the Phantom by Takashi Saito.

Mr. Face is a social guessing game, where players play cards with leading phrases, such as “The clouds look so nice”, or “What is that smell?” One player attempts to build a facial expression on the board with supplied components, representing their phrase card. Afterwards, all players place phrases into the middle. Players then try to guess which odd phrase was the one which inspired the face. Mr. Face can also be played by taking selfies for the facial expressions.

Tricks and the Phantom is a deduction trick-taking game with a tiny deck of only 10 cards. The values and colors of the cards in the deck are known to all, reminiscent of Seiji Kanai‘s megahit microgame Love Letter. Each player plays one of their two cards face down to the middle, but denotes the color of the card by placing a token on the back. Players then try to guess which card is the “culprit” – the highest card. Cards are revealed, and successful guesses earn points, but be careful, several of the cards have special abilities, and the Phantom, the lowest card, can not only pretend to be any color, but also earns points for each other player tricked into incorrectly picking it.

Mr. Face and Tricks and the Phantom should be available in stores in the beginning of August. For more information, check out the Oink Games website here.

Love Letter, a popular card game of social deduction and player elimination, has been acquired by Z-Man Games.

“We are thrilled to have Love Letter join Z-Man’s diverse catalog,” says Steve Kimball, Head of Studio at Z-Man Games. “This gem of a card game packs a lot of fun in a tiny box (or velvet bag) and fits perfectly with the many other acclaimed card games that have been a hallmark of the Z-Man brand. I’m excited to work closely with Seiji Kanai to help Love Letter reach new audiences and realize its full potential.”

Love Letter was designed by Seiji Kanai in 2012 and has been reimplemented with various themes including Adventure Time, Batman, The Hobbit, and Lovecraft Letter.

“Love Letter and Lovecraft Letter have been a pure joy to develop and share with our customers,” says John Zinser, CEO of Alderac Entertainment Group. “We would like to thank Seiji Kanai and our partners at Japon Brand for entrusting us with the smallest but most valuable of treasures. Our friends at Asmodee have the capability to take Love Letter and Lovecraft Letter to even greater heights and we are excited to watch the games make this transition. We are sure that everyone who has sought the favor of the Princess will be delighted with Asmodee’s stewardship of these great games.”

QST Tabetop Subscription Box is a really interesting new project just launched on Kickstarter. QST aims to deliver a brand new board game each month, created as a collaboration between a famous concept creator, board game designer, and artist. What makes this project special is the amazing caliber of the personalities already lined up. Get ready for a long impressive list.

The Concept people include Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty), Nolan Bushnell (Remember Atari and Chuck E. Cheese), R. A. Salvatore (Sci Fi Author), Kevin Eastman (Heroes in a half shell), and many others.

Board Game Designers include Richard Borg (Liar’s Dice, Memoir ’44), Bruno Faidutti (Citadels, Mission Red Planet), Bruno Cathala (Shadows  Over Camelot, Cyclades), James Ernest (Kill Dr Lucky), Seiji Kanai (Love Letter), just to name a few.

The artist list is no slouch either, with huge names from various field, such as Vincent Dutrait, Mihajlo Dimitrovski, and Marvel artist Walt Simonson.

The first game from QST will be Foreclosure: Dungeon Masters Tavern, by Cory Jones (Co-Founder of Cryptozooic), Matt Hyra (Adventure Time Card Wars) and Robb Mommaerts (Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis). In Foreclosure, the boss monsters have sought legal counsel and sued the dungeon masters over loss of treasure. Having won, they are now collecting on the loot from the Dungeon Masters Tavern, driven into foreclosure. 2-4 players take on the roles of varied monsters in a blind bidding game in an attempt to gather the most loot.

The Kickstarter Campaign will run through September 29, and is expected to start shipping in March 2018. Check out the complete list of people involved here.

Japanime Games is currently raising money to bring the animated series Sword Art Online (SAO) to board game form!  Each player in SAO takes on a character with unique dice-based Sword Skills.  Players have to work cooperatively to chain attacks and defeat all of the enemies of the evil Game Master to make it out of SAO victorious, or at least, alive.  Hopefully, equipment and potion cards will assist the characters in their journeys, too.  For fans of the anime, the cards and components feature artwork of the original series.

Sword Art Online Board Game: Sword of Fellows is for 1-4 players and is stated to play in only 30 minutes.  Most importantly?  SAO Board Game is designed by Seiji Kanai, who previously introduced the world to Love Letter.  Head on over to the Kickstarter page for SAO Board Game for more information here.

eight epics

AEG is not slacking off as the year comes to a close with several new game releases and a few more expansions.  The first game on the list, coming in October, is the game Eight Epics.  Eight Epics is a cooperative dice game from Seiji Kanai, designer of the popular micro game Love Letter, and has you and up to 7 other players trying to save the world.  There are eight different obstacles that must be overcome and you will use red and black dice to play the game.  Red dice will activate heroes to help you in the game, black dice are what you use to defeat the enemies.  Each enemy has a value you must reach based on the number of dice you roll, so luck will have to be on your side in order to win.

treasure lair

The next game being released is called Treasure Lair, and it’s all about the money in this game.  In Treasure Lair you are forming your party to go adventuring to find the greatest treasure you can, but there in lies the issue.  Each cache of treasure has different requirements in order to get them such as strength, or stealth, or even wilderness lore.  So you will have to carefully craft your team in order to get the most treasure possible and be crowned the winner.  This game will be released in November of 2016.

royal decree

Next is an expansion to a popular dice game called Dice City: By Royal Decree.  This expansion to the game will add a new trade board with dice for that board, new locations, and a new type of card called Queen’s Plans.  From the sound of it the Queen’s Plans cards may work similar to the boat cards, but we will find out more as the release date gets closer.  Look for this expansion to hit stores in November of 2016.

letters seals

Last is an expansion to another popular game and that is Istanbul: Letters and Seals.  This expansion adds more tiles to the game for even more variety, but also adds a couple new mechanics.  The first is an added postal system which gives you the ability to deliver letters to shops to get points.  Another mechanic being added is the auction mechanic, where now there are places, like the auction house, where you bid to buy more bonus cards.  Last is the addition of a companion to your group, but what makes him different than your regular discs is that he can move and act independently from the rest of your pieces.  These new additions will bring more strategy and variety into an already excellent game.  Look for this also to hit store shelves in November of 2016.

Love Love Letter?

Even if you aren’t enamored with the phenomenon called Love Letter, one must respect how much impact a 16-card card game had on the hobby gaming world. Even lovers though are sometimes left with the want for something more.
To evolve the game, the creator Seiji Kanai along with fellow designer Hayato Kisaragi, kept the rules simple but added more dynamic card combination, player actions and lastly, customizations between card sets. Thus Lost Legacy was born. When originally produced in Japan, each release in the Lost Legacy series contained two 16-card sets. This emphasized the inherent design concept that one can create their own game by switching out cards amongst sets or even combine sets to increase the number of players from the usual 2-4.

Here is a brief overview of the rules of all the sets and a display of the simple design:

Objective: not be eliminated and be the player to locate the card Lost Legacy
Shuffle the 16 cards, draw one to form the Ruins, a facedown side by side pile of cards, and each player receives a card for their hand
1) Draw a card
2)Play: Choose one of the two cards in hand by placing it faceup in a pile in front of player
3) Effect: Carry out the played card’s effect
4)End: If there is at least one card left in the deck, the turn goes to the next player; if not, the Investigation Phase starts. It is during this phase that players try to locate the Lost Legacy card. It could be in someone’s hand or in the Ruins that was built and manipulated during gameplay.

It is that simple and yet there is a lot of game in these 16 cards, even more so than Love Letter. Add in the ability to switch cards between sets, cards that have all different kinds of effects, and you have an incredible amount of different games here.

When AEG wisely negotiated the release of this Kanai game to the market on this side of the Pacific, they initially released each set individually: The Starship and The Flying Garden. This was to emphasize that each 16-card set has a strong story and is a strong game in and of itself. The story covered in these first two releases is that long ago a starcraft bearing powerful artifacts crash landed. The numerous broken apart pieces of the ship became the Lost Legacies. In the first set, a piece of the Starship itself is the object of desire and in the second set a Flying Garden that grew out of a piece of the craft.

Emphasizing each set worked to highlight each story but the trade-off was that it wasn’t obvious enough to consumers that combining the sets, which were separated by months of real time, provides a plethora of game combination possibilities. To remedy the situation, for the next release in AEG’s Lost Legacy saga, the next two “stories” will be released together as Lost Legacy: Second Chronicle. This release will include two 16-card sets: Whitegold Spire and Vorpal Spire. This release is expected in April 2015 and furthers the story that the first two releases of Lost Legacy started. The Spire was once part of the starship but now is a citadel full of powerful partygoers ready for intrigue. The Vorpal Sword is not only a weapon of the Legacy, it is also a key to unlock further mysteries found within the starship.

AEG has now announced Lost Legacy: Third Chronicle which will include:

– Rulebook
– 16 Game cards (for the Sacred Grail set)
– 16 Game cards (for the Staff of Dragons set)
– 4 Reference cards
– 13 Victory point tokens

As for the storyline, a royal family has long ago discovered a piece of the Legacies and named it the Grail which has provided the family with great power, honor, and tragically, envy. The story continues with another Legacy, a staff that allows the wielder to control dragons. Now who would want that kind of power? Oh yeah, everyone!

Expect this Third Chronicle in July 2015.

AEG may market this as part of their “5 Minute Fun” series but like that fabled potato chip, you cannot play just one game. These five minutes do sure add up for some incredible gaming experiences!

For more information, visit AEG’s Lost Legacy site here.



Blue Orange Games has announced that they will be showing off their new European Games Collection.  Many titles within this new collection are new with a few seminal favorites.  This collection is their way of showing that they are committed to the hobby game market.  While known for their light family fare with titles such as a Spot It they do want to appeal to the the more “gamery” market.

After having tested the market in the US for some of their heavier titles last year 5 titles including Braverats, Niya, and Battle Sheep they will be bringing over 7 additional titles to start the collection off.

“We are excited to bring the best “gamer” games from Europe through our Blue Orange Europe product line with games from famous game designers such as Seiji Kanai, Bruno Cathala, Bruno Faidutti, and Charles Chevallier.”

“Last year, we tested the waters by bringing over a few of the games from Blue Orange Europe such as Battle Sheep, Niya and BraveRats. When we saw how overwhelmingly positive the response was for these games, we decided to bring other games to expand further, and offer even more games in this spirit.”

– Martin Marechal, VP of Sales and Marketing.

They have stated that this line of games should be available in Spring 2015.

Publishers descriptions below


designed by Bruno Cathala

Ages 8 to Adult / 2 Players

Longhorn is a 2 player strategy game. You and your opponent play as two rival bandits, trying to make the most money from stealing longhorn cows and valuable gold nuggets. Each turn, you will take all of the cows of one color from your current location, and then move the same number of spaces away to a new location. The trick of the game is that each time you take a cow of a certain color, it will reduce the value of ALL cows of that color. So if you get too greedy, and forget to diversify your cow portfolio, you might end the game with a pile of worthless livestock.


designed by Bruno Cathala

Ages 8 to Adult / 2 Players

Niya is a 2 player abstract strategy game where your objective is to match the patterns in the garden tiles in order to arrange 4 of your tokens into formation (or leave your opponent with no legal moves remaining). Each turn, you will choose to place one of your tokens, in the place of a tile in the garden by matching one of its patterns with one of the patterns on the previously removed tile. The first player to arrange 4 of their tokens in either a straight line or 2×2 square wins the game.

Dragon Run

designed by Ludovic Barbe & Bruno Cathala   NEW

Ages 8 to Adult / 2 to 5 Players

Dragon Run is a push your luck game where players take the control of a group of adventurers, who after a long and profitable journey into the depths of a dungeon, are startled to realize that they are not alone. The dragon has awoken and is eager to protect her treasure! Each turn, you will choose to either charge forward into the dungeon in search of new treasure, or advance cautiously to try and avoid the dragon’s detection. Escape with your life while still carrying more treasure than your opponents to win the game.


designed by Charles Chevallier  NEW

Ages 8 to Adult / 2 Players

Wakanda is a 2 player totem pole building game. Your objective is to build and claim the totem poles worth the most points at the end of the game. Each turn, you will have to choose between increasing the value of one of the available totem poles, or claiming it as your own. Totems only score points if you can also claim the corresponding village tiles. So play smart, and build totem poles that will honor the old gods.


designed by Christwart Conrad  NEW

Ages 8 to Adult / 2 to 4 Players

Armadora is a 2-4 player area control game. Your objective is to claim the biggest portion of the dwarven gold mines. Each turn, you will choose to either place one of your tokens facedown to claim territory, or place a palisade to divide existing territories in two. The player with the highest strength in each territory wins its gold at the end of the game. The player with the most gold wins.


designed by Thierry Denoual

Ages 7 to Adult / 2 Players

Gobblet is a 2 player strategy game similar to the classic game of Connect 4. Your objective is to line up four of your pieces in a straight line – but it’s not so easy! The twist is that pieces come in 4 different sizes, and bigger pieces can be placed on top of littler ones (gobbling them up!). You will need a clever strategy and a good memory to remember where your opponent’s pieces are hiding while cleverly positioning your pieces on the board!


designed by Bruno Faidutti  NEW

Ages 7 to Adult / 2 Players

Attila is a 2 player abstract strategy game, where your pieces move like the knights in Chess. However, your objective in Attila is NOT to capture your opponent, but rather you must outmaneuver him, trapping his pieces with no moves remaining. Each turn, you will move one of your horsemen, then let loose a flaming arrow, adding an impassible scorched earth token to the modular game board. The first player no longer able to move his pieces loses the game.


designed by Seiji Kanai

Ages 8 to Adult / 2 Players

BraveRats is a 2 player bluffing game. With only 16 cards, this “micro game” sure packs a lot of punch. Originally called “R” in Japan, BraveRats is now refreshed with new art and a beautiful tin carrying case. This clever twist on the classic card game of War will have you playing several games back to back, and each playthrough will add new complexity to your understanding of both the game AND your opponent.

Crab Stack

designed by Henri Kermarrec  NEW

Ages 8 to Adult / 2 to 4 Players

Crab Stack is an abstract strategy game for 2-4 players where your objective is to trap your opponents by moving your crabs on top of theirs, and washing them away with the waves. Players control 3 different sized crabs, each with their own movement rules. Each turn, you will move one crab to a new location, trapping whatever is underneath it. And stay alert! If you ever create two separate groups of crabs, the smaller one will be washed away and removed from the game board. The last player still able to move one or more of his crabs wins the game.


designed by Fred Krahwinkel  NEW

Ages 8 to Adult / 4 to 8 Players

Wink is a hilarious party game that will plunge you deep into an atmosphere full of crazy laughter, awkward stares, and a healthy dose of paranoia. Each turn, you will try to covertly wink at your new secret partner without being detected by the other players. Keep your eyes wide open, because if you catch an opponent in the act of winking you can use one of your Accuse Cards to steal their points! The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Battle Sheep

designed by Francesco Rotta

Ages 7 to Adult / 2 to 4 Players

Battle Sheep is a 2-4 player strategy game where your objective is to outmaneuver your opponents’ sheep and take control of the biggest portion of the playing field. Each turn, you will move your herd by dividing one of your stacks of sheep into two stacks, and moving the new stack in a straight line as far as it can go – hopefully trapping your opponents’ sheep in the process! The clever rules on movement make traveling across the board an interesting challenge, and the modular game board ensures each game feels fresh and exciting.

Sushi Draft

designed by Takahiro  NEW

Ages 8 to Adult / 3 to 5 Players

Sushi Draft is a card drafting game, where your objective is to eat the sushi worth the most points at the end of the game. Each turn, you will pick one card from your hands, one card to keep, and then pass the rest of your cards to the next player. At the end of each round, the player who ate the most of one type of sushi wins that corresponding scoring chip. And whoever ate the most VARIED menu (of different types of sushi) wins the coveted Dessert chip. The player with the most points at the end of the 3 rounds wins the game.


Batman Love Letter

batman love letter

In a recent post over in Facebook AEG announced/revealed Love Letter Batman Edition.
As AEG put it:

Early 2015 is looking a little more… dark… knight… ish.

I don’t know about you but they finally managed to catch my attention with this Love Letter variation; after all, Batman is my favorite superhero. I wonder if they will be using original artwork or reprising artwork from the comics? Either way, I am looking forward to this game.

To view their post click here.

black box

Coming November, for Black Friday is the Black Friday Box from AEG.  This will be a special one day only product for sales at limited allocations and brick and mortar stores only.  The specific contents remain a mystery, however, hints at games that are published, games with alternate art versions (which will be exclusive to this box), and games that are stand-alone or expansions to another AEG game.

letters to santa

Also releasing in November is Lover Letter: Letters to Santa by Seiji Kanai.  This is a special Christmas edition of Love Letter and will be available, like above, at limited allocations and brick and mortar stores.  Components will include 16 cards, 4 reference cards, 13 “present” tokens, and a red clamshell edition bag.

shadow thief

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) posted a picture of the Shadow Thief card on Facebook as a sneak peek of their upcoming Lost Legacy line of games.

Lost Legacy is 16 card game from designers Seiji Kanai and Hayato Kisaragi played very much like Kanai’s last microgame success, Love Letter.  AEG will be releasing three themes that will have players bluffing their way to find the Lost Legacy card. In  The Starship, Flying Garden, and Whitegold Spire players will draw the top card, choose one of the two cards and carry out the effect on the card.  If there are no cards left to draw from, players guess who holds the Lost Legacy card in order of their “speed” indicated on the card.  By combining different Lost Legacy sets (while keeping only a single Lost Legacy card in play), up to six players can compete at the same time.

Lost Legacy is expected to release in August at Gen Con 2014.