One may not think that the New York Magazine would be
the place to look for board game recommendations, but for the past couple of
years the magazine has featured articles on board gaming as part of life and
culture in New York City. Its latest
article, featured in its Strategist section which helps shoppers focus
on getting the best value for their money, identified the
best four-player board games according to experts. These experts included game
store owners, board game reviewers, and even a board game illustrator, so it
should be no surprise that the list included some heavy hitters in the board
game hobby and include several Spiel des Jahres winners. Some of the
games on the list do play more than four players, but the experts felt that
these games played best with four players.
was named Best overall four-player board game.
Other categories on the list include best four player strategic board game,
best four-player board game for beginners, best four-player thematic board game,
best family-friendly four-player game, best board game for advanced gamers, best
cooperative four-player board game, best world-building board game, best
four-player party games, best word-association four-player board game, best
fast-paced four-player board game, best app-compatible four-player board game. Sheriff of
Nottingham, from the Dice Tower
Essentials line, was named one of the best family-friendly four-player games. Read the full
article here to learn more about which games were consider the best
four-player games. In case you missed
it, take a look at their list of best
two-player games published earlier last month.
Arcane Wonders has announced the release of a new set of promotional items that will be available exclusively to brick and mortar retail stores. A box of 12 unique promotional items along with instructions will be available for use at in-store events.
The promotional kit, which will certainly help convince Sheriffs everywhere that there’s nothing in the bag but chickens, will only be available while supplies last and only is available to brick and mortar stores.
Matryoshka are also called Russian nesting dolls and are the famous dolls that contain smaller and smaller dolls inside in a descending size order. Some of these dolls can be very valuable and are a national handicraft of Russia, so a game about collecting these dolls is not far off of reality. In Matryoshka you are trying to collect the most valuable set of dolls, but what you have is random scattered pieces, you will have to trade to create complete sets. In each of the four rounds you will put up cards for trade as a set, and then each other player will secretly offer something to you in trade. You will then pick a trade offer you like and make the trade. This will go around all players and then you will play out some of your collection to the table, allowing others to see who is collecting what and make better deals. At the end, whoever has the most valuable collection will win the game.
Terra Nova Games has partnered with White Goblin Games to bring this game to the U.S. from the Netherlands. Matryoshka is designed by Sérgio Halaban, designer of Sheriff of Nottingham and Quartz. Look forward to this release in Q1 of 2017, and at the very least check out the great art of the game.
CoolMiniOrNot has acquired the rights to publish Sheriff of Nottingham, the first game in the Dice Tower Essentials line, worldwide. In a short press release CMON expressed it’s pleasure to be able to work with Arcane Wonders to be able to bring this game into more and more markets around the world. You can read the full press release below.
Today, March 7 2016, CMON Limited announced it has acquired the critically acclaimed Sheriff of Nottingham from Brazilian publisher Galapagos Jogos. “CMON is excited to welcome such an esteemed title to our growing library and will continue to offer the game to fans worldwide,” says Chern Ann Ng, CEO of CMON.
In Sheriff of Nottingham, players attempt to gain the most wealth by selling goods both legal and illegal at the market. Each round, one player becomes the Sheriff, policing the market by stopping any contraband from being sold or accepting bribes to line his own pockets. Sheriff of Nottingham is part of the Dice Tower Essentials line of games.
CMON is pleased to work with Arcane Wonders, who will be responsible for publishing the English edition of Sheriff of Nottingham worldwide. “Arcane Wonders is excited to be working with CoolMiniOrNot,” says Bryan Pope, CEO of Arcane Wonders. “This new relationship will provide even better support of the game and fans will see some great expansions in the future.”
Sheriff of Nottingham has appeared in multiple languages, including German, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Czech. CMON will continue to work with existing worldwide partners to ensure there will be no interruption in the supply of the game. For inquiries regarding a foreign language edition of Sheriff of Nottingham, please contact Carol Negrão at email@example.com.
CMON looks forward to the future of Sheriff of Nottingham and its continued presence on tables for years to come.
About CMON Limited
CMON is an international publisher of boardgames, tabletop games and apps. Beginning from small hobbyist roots, CMON has grown into a multinational group that publishes several award winning games, including Zombicide, Arcadia Quest and Blood Rage. CMON.com CoolMiniOrNot.com
About Arcane Wonders
Arcane Wonders is a game publisher dedicated to producing a few great games each year. Each game is carefully selected, given lavish attention to detail and art, and made with the highest quality. We’re building an amazing brand, one great game at a time! ArcaneWonders.com
Throughout the month of March, Barnes and Noble bookstores will be hosting Casual Game Gatherings put on by Publisher Services Inc. (PSI), supplier of games, toys, books, and collectibles.
Each Thursday night in March, Barnes and Noble employees will be facilitating game nights for new players and fans alike, featuring one light strategy game each night. Promotional items for four of the featured games will be given to participants wile supplies last.
These Gatherings are positioned as casual game meetups for customers who want to come in, play games, share a coffee from the café and demo the featured game. Local game groups, board game meetups and gaming clubs are also invited to join in the fun.
Game nights will begin at 7:00 PM and will last until the store’s posted closing time.
The gaming schedule will be as follows:
King of Tokyo (3/3/16) – Participants Receive Promo pack of 11 Power Cards
Sheriff of Nottingham (3/10/16) – Participants Receive Promo pack of 6 Contraband Cards
Splendor (3/17/16) – Participants Receive one Splendor Play-mat
Lanterns: the Harvest Festival (3/31/16) – Participants Receive a pack of 4 Lanterns promo tiles
Below is the official listing of all participating Barnes and Noble stores:
Straight from the GTS Distribution Trade Show in Atlanta 2015 we have some excellent news to share with you all:
Arcane Wonders, makers of the Dice Tower Essentials line, have announced that a Sheriff of Nottingham expansion is under development and is being designed by our Capo, Tom Vasel, and fellow designers Steve Avery and Zee Garcia.
Now that AEG has finished their trio of vehicle games, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, they now turn their attention to expanding the three games. Interestingly they are opting to release a single expansion that will contain modules to expand the three different games instead of three different expansions so look forward to this.
Marvel Legendary is the deck building game that keeps on going and there is no plan to stop now with the announcement of Legendary Captain America. Expect to see this small box expansion from Upper Deck in 2016.
Have you been itching to get some Cthulhu in your war game? Well you won’t have to wait much longer as Shadows over Normandie from Iello is set to release on November 12th.
Fluxx, the game with more variations than Love Letter, has just passed the 2 million Fluxx games sold mark, so toss Andy Looney and the folks at Looney Labs a congratulations for reaching this amazing milestone.
Hot on the heels of the release of T.I.M.E. Stories, the folks over at Space Cowboys have stated they intend to provide a new scenario for the game every quarter, making sure you don’t get bored of playing the same scenario over and over.
That’s it for now, but loads more news will be coming as the show goes on so keep watching here or the Dice Tower twitter feed.
Thinker Tinker Maker (TTM), an Oregon based duo that creates custom game components, is now planning on starting up a company to sell laser-cut board game inserts, accessories, and components. For their first project, they’re creating a Kickstarter for board game inserts. According to TTM, their inserts will accomplish the following:
Consolidate shelf space to make room for more games
Decrease setup and pack up time
Enhance presence, interaction, and organization of components
Draw envious eyes of other gamers
From the gallery of their current inserts, I’ll definitely agree with point 4, since the inserts are filled with nice thematic laser-cut designs.
Currently, you can get inserts from the following games on the Kickstarter:
TTM plans to use the Kickstarter funds to get its own laser cutter for future inserts. After the Kickstarter, TTM will launch an online store with the items at standard prices (the Kickstarter has discounted prices based on bulk). If you want to get an insert for one of your games (or just want to see some neat inserts), check out the Kickstarter here!
Bruno Faidutti, left, Sergio Halaban, right (Image from meepletown.com)
Derek Thompson, over at MeepleTown ,interviewed Sergio Halaban, one of the designers of Sheriff of Nottingham; winner of the 2015 Origins Award for best board game.
In the interview he talks about how he got started in the hobby and what eventually led to him design games. As he reminisces about the start of his gaming hobby Sergio says:
None of us were a “real gamer”, so we started with the games we used to play in our childhood and adolescence (Monopoly, Clue, Risk, etc.). At that time the Internet was a novelty and through it we discovered a wonderful new world of games! So from the Hasbro “classics” we moved to Settlers of Catan and then we never stopped
He also talks about some of the unique things about co-designing games and his relationship with Bruno Faidutti, designer of Mascarade and many other games. He also talks about how he goes about finding publishers for his games.
Every year at the Origins Game Fair the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design presents the winners of the Origins Awards for that year. The winners are chosen from a pool of 5 nominees and voted on by the Academy members. These nominees are pulled from a pool of games that publishers and designers can submit eligible products to. Additionally attendees of the Origins Game Fair are asked to vote for the Fan Favorite winner.
This year’s winners in their respective categories are:
Best Board Game: Sheriff of Nottingham from Arcane Wonders, designed by: Sergio Halaban, Bryan Pope, Andre Zatz
Fan Favorite: Dead of Winter from Plaid Hat Games, designed by: Jonathon Gilmour
Best Card Game: Splendor from Asmodee, designed by: Marc Andre
Fan Favorite: Star Realms from White Wizard Games, designed by Robert Dougherty, Darwin Kastle
Best Children’s, Family, & Party Game: The Hare and the Tortoise from Iello, designed by: Gary Kim
Fan Favorite: Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension from Renegade Game Studios, designed by Corey Young
Best Collectible Card Game: Magic: the Gathering Khans of Tarkir from Wizards of the Coast, designed by: Wizards of the Coast R&D
Fan Favorite: The Spoils from The Spoils USA, designed by Ken Pilcher, Josh Lytle
Best Game Accessory: Wings of Glory Mat from Ares Games, designed by: Ares Games
Fan Favorite: Counter Ring from Crit Success, designed by Aaron Laniewicz
Best Historical Board Game: Heroes of Normandie from Iello, designed by: Yann and Clem
Fan Favorite: Heroes of Normandie from Iello, designed by: Yann and Clem
Best Historical Miniature Figure/Line: Sails of Glory Series 2 from Ares Games, designed by: Andrea Angiolino, Andrea Mainini
Fan Favorite: Sails of Glory Series 2 from Ares Games, designed by: Andrea Angiolino, Andrea Mainini
Best Historical Miniature Rules: Sails of Glory from Ares Games, designed by: Andrea Angiolino, Andrea Mainini
Fan Favorite: Sails of Glory from Ares Games, designed by: Andrea Angiolino, Andrea Mainini
Best Historical Miniature Rules Supplements: Battleground Europe from Osprey Publishing/Warlord, designed by: Ryan Miller, Rick Priestley and Alessio Cavatore
Fan Favorite: Flames of War: Barbarossa from Battlefront Miniatures, designed by: Battlefront Miniatures
Best Miniature Figure Rules: Golem Arcana from Harebrained Schemes, designed by: Jordan Weisman, Mike Mulvihill, Brian Poel
Fan Favorite: Marvel HeroClix: Guardians of the Galaxy Starter Set from Wizids, designed by: WizKids Games
Best Role Playing Game: Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook, designed by: Wizards of the Coast R & D
Fan Favorite: Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook, designed by: Wizards of the Coast R & D
Best Role Playing Supplement: Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual from Wizards of the Coast, designed by: Wizards of the Coast R &D
Fan Favorite: Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual from Wizards of the Coast, designed by: Wizards of the Coast R&D
Some excellent games in this list and they are all worth checking out.
Image found at: http://mothersofbrothers.com/crossing-the-streams/
Crossing the Streams
As fellow renaissance geeks, I’m certain that there are many among you who dabble in all sorts of tangentially related gaming activities that don’t necessarily involve quad-fold boards, colorful chits, and endless decks of cards. Video games, sports, trivia nights…any excuse to get together and have a good time is completely valid and makes us well-rounded social creatures.
Many of you also roleplay, an activity that is as near and dear to board games as peanut butter is to jelly. There are many reasons that the Venn diagram between these two hobbies overlap to such an extent. Many board games and roleplaying games have similar thematic and media influences. There’s also a collectible aspect to each that extends the life and replayability indefinitely. Both hobbies are also by definition social, and rather than offering a freeform experience that might turn off extroverts like myself, board games and roleplaying games provide a structured platform for social engagement and helps ensure that all participants have related interests.
There’s more to the overlap than just people sitting at a table chucking dice. Board games and roleplaying games evolved from a common ancestor: war games. Much like modern board game mechanisms, roleplaying spun out of an attempt to simulate many aspects of warfare. Roleplaying’s forefathers simply zoomed in on the action, designing experiences that simulated the struggle between one combatant and another. From one-versus-one, few-versus-few was the natural next step and thus was born the adventuring party that we’ve come to know and love.
As board games and roleplaying games developed alongside each other, each influenced the other. Today we can see roleplaying games like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition that actually includes cards and chits like a traditional board games. In the other direction, we see the proliferation of so-called dungeon crawl board games like Imperial Assault and the Wrath of Ashardalon series replicating some very common roleplaying elements: advancement, persistence, cooperation, tactical gameplay, and even the acquisition of wealth. Incidentally the publishers for both of these games, Fantasy Flight Games and Wizards of the Coast produce roleplaying games as well. The connection between these gaming styles is undeniable
So why should board gamers take the next step and dive into the crunchy world of Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, and other lesser-known roleplaying games? The best answer, the only answer that matters really, is that they’re fun. Really fun! Roleplaying games are a platform for creative storytellers to weave grand epics and see those story beats come to life. They allow individuals to imagine strange worlds, evoke unique characters with interesting personalities, and work cooperatively with others to solve problems and discover hidden bits of story. As evocative as a theme can be in a board game, roleplaying games bring us even closer to living out our imaginations.
Getting Past the Gate
From an outsider’s perspective, roleplaying can seem extremely intimidating. Likely your friendly local gaming store has at least a few shelves of thick tomes full of complex rulesets and impenetrably detailed lore. Alongside those expensive books are miniatures, paints, gridded mats, weird dice in crazy configurations, and all the other trappings of the roleplaying hobby. It’s intense and can be more demanding on your wallet than board games.
That’s a completely reasonable perspective, but I say ignore all that. Like board games, your investment can be as little as a $15 deck of Fluxx (not recommended) to a $2000 near-mint copy of War of the Ring: Collector’s Edition on eBay (also not recommended) and everything in between. You don’t have to go all in; in fact you can spend zero dollars on roleplaying and still have an amazing experience that will leave you wanting more. I’ll go into how to get started in another Playing Roles article, but suffice to say, price should not be a barrier to this incredible hobby.
The other element of roleplaying that intimidates many of the uninitiated is the perceived requirement to really get into it. Pop culture tells us that real roleplayers adopt their character’s personas like method actors. Accents, costumes, make-up, foam weapons, mock combats in parks populated by normal people- that’s a lot of geek to take on for someone who just thinks it might be cool to play as a Jedi for a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon. Well forget about all of that affectation. The only thing you need to roleplay is yourself, an imagination, and some basic social skills.
Roleplaying is really just a game of improv with some additional rules bolted on. It’s no different than charades or even the act of storytelling. It’s not hard and it doesn’t require an appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio to do well. Chances are you’ve already done a little roleplaying and didn’t even know it. Have a favorite role in Pandemic that you’re drawn to? Have you acted like a pompous jerk while playing the sheriff in Sheriff of Nottingham? Have you felt a bit of a sting when one of your survivors dies in Dead of Winter? At some level, that’s roleplaying. Just like telling your significant other about the crazy day you had at work and getting an appalled reaction. You did it! Now how would you have told that story if you were a Cleric of Palor and facing down the zombie king was your day at work?
Entering the Arena
On more than one occasion, I’ve heard roleplaying referred to as “poker for nerds”. There’s even a Dungeons & Dragons podcast called Nerd Poker hosted by comedian Brian Posehn.
This comparison to poker is referring to the commonality of weekly poker nights that perfectly normal individuals have all the time. They’re playing cards, telling jokes, talking about the latest episode of The Walking Dead, complaining about work…everything you would expect from adults engaging in an organized social activity. Roleplaying is no different, just swap out “playing cards” with “fending off a goblin ambush”. Which one sounds more fun to you?
I encourage anyone with an interest in roleplaying to check it out. Look for meetup groups in your area, or pick up a rules-light game like Fiasco and try it out with your friends and family. Roleplaying is an extremely rewarding pastime with a ton of variety and a very welcoming community. They can played with kids and adults, geeks and civilians, and for as long or as short as you like. Just be friendly, be open, and don’t touch anyone else’s dice. That’s a crime punishable by death!