Stephen Buonocore

Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games was a recent guest on the Board Game Gumbo podcast when he was asked by a viewer if Terraforming Mars was going to receive the Legacy treatment.  Stephen confirmed that Jacob and Issac Fryxelius are 100% working on the Legacy version of Terraforming Mars.  Now, Stephen cautions that the project is still very early in the works and it might not be seen until 2020 or 2021. What a legacy game of Terraforming Mars looks like is anyone’s guess, but the generations will undoubtedly have a more personal feel. We will just have to wait and see.

Terraforming Mars has grown to be a very popular game in the hobby, currently sitting at number 5 on Board Game Geek’s rankings. The game has come a long way with the content that it has, seeing players take control of corporations who are trying to turn Mars into the coziest place they can (as well as satisfying their special interests). However these corporations were really just starting resources cards that also detailed some bonuses or special actions unique to them as well as a bit of flavor text to add in a dash of theme, but they were hardly anything more compelling. That is soon to change as, coming this Summer, the newest expansion for Terraforming Mars will bring more theme and power to each corporation. As announced by Fryxgames and shared by Stronghold Games shortly after:

     “Prelude is a small expansion that lets you kickstart your terraforming! It focuses on the early stages of Mars colonization and tells the background story of the corporations. When choosing corporation and starting hand, each player also draws 4 Prelude cards, and chooses 2 of them to boost their corporation. The expansion opens up powerful starting combos and increases player asymmetry.”

For those that love Terraforming Mars, this one appears to be a no-brainer. Expansions which just add more player power at setup tend to be exceptionally painless to integrate and often don’t require a lot of additional explanation, and in my experience they are typically the most sought after as well. While it will only be a handful of months until this expansion releases, there will also be a pre-release at Origins in June. For more information about this expansion release and future Terraforming Mars content, please check out Fryxgames and Stronghold Games websites.

Stronghold Games LLC, publisher of Terraforming Mars, Core Worlds, Space Cadets, and many other great games, has moved from Somerset, New Jersey to their new location in Boynton Beach, Florida. While they’re currently in temporary offices in this city they’ll be in their permanent HQ by the end of March.

Their new logo was designed by Bill Bricker, which is an evolution of the original design from the company’s inception in 2009.

Stephen Buonocore, President of Stronghold Games:

“This is an important moment in Stronghold Games history, as we exit our most successful year. With the continuing growth of the company, it is time to add new talent with both an eye toward diversity and insider/outsider industry knowledge. We mark this moment as well with a new logo – a new representation of Stronghold Games.”

There are also two, new full-time staff members. Bill Bricker will become the new Director of Art & Marketing and Pauline Milano will become the new Director of of Administration.

More details can be found in their press release on the Stronghold Games website.

Having previously garnered success with co-published titles 504, Fabled Fruit, and Fuji Flush, Stronghold Games and 2F-Spiele announced 6 new jointly published games releasing in 2017, including:

  1. 3 games in the Fast Forward series of games, all designed by Friedemann Friese utilizing the Fable system introduced in Fabled Fruit.  Fear will be a hand-management game about chasing ghosts, Fortress will be a bluffing game about becoming king, and Flee will be a cooperative game about running from monsters.  The games supposedly forego rule books, so that players can begin playing immediately and discover new rules as they play.
  2. an expansion for Fabled Fruit, the progenitor of the Fable system.  Fabled Fruit: The Lime Expansion adds 20 new locations and the eponymous limes.
  3.  a new solo-only game, Finished!.  Friedemann Friese previously designed the hit solo game Friday.  In Finished!, the player is trying to sort a deck of cards to not fall asleep at work (which is more than a little meta).
  4. a reprint/update of 2007 game Felix: The Cat in the Sack entitled Felicity: The Cat in the Sack, a game about acquiring cats, but not bad cats, and not dogs or rabbits, either.

All of these games are set to release in October 2017, with the third Fast Forward title coming in November 2017.

Because someone was able to talk Tom into doing it, The Dice Tower will again be doing a day long marathon of board gaming with Tom, Zee, Sam and some special guests.  This year the special guests will be Zev, the founder/owner of Z-Man Games, Marty Connell of Rolling Dice and Taking Names, and Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games.  They will all be trapped in the same house together for 30 hours as they play all sorts of games like Time’s Up, Captain Sonar, Cash ‘n’ Guns, and Spyfall.  You can check out this thread on BGG for links to the live YouTube feeds and browse a complete list of games and players that will be in the marathon.

So, who’s up for some Blood Rage at 3am?

On Monday, July 18th, Stronghold Games will be releasing two new games for pre-order:

terraforming mars

Terraforming Mars, designed by Jacob Fryxelius, plays 1 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, and takes about 90 minutes.  Set in the 25th century, Terraforming Mars is a resource and hand management powerhouse where the players take on the role of large corporations tasked with the goal of making the planet of Mars a habitable environment for Earth’s ever-growing population.  If you can succeed in raising the sub-zero temperatures, adding oxygen to the atmosphere, and melting those ice caps to let the water flow, then maybe you can succeed at Terraforming Mars!

dragon flagon

Home after a hard day’s work terraforming a distant planet, why not try to have a drink at The Dragon & Flagon?  Stronghold’s newest game by the designers Engelstein, The Dragon & Flagon, is a chaotic brawl of a game where 2 to 8 players, ages 10 and up, have approximately 1 hour to try and win the last Flagon of The Dragon!  You and your fantastical friends will have to avoid flying mugs, chairs, magic, and each other in your attempt to build a reputation that guarantees you get the last sip of, The Dragon!

Did your rowdy night at The Dragon & Flagon cause you to miss the latest news on the progress in Terraforming Mars?  Fear not, tune in to the Board Games Insider Podcast where they will be broadcasting from Mars (Just go with it…) this summer!  Stephen Buonocore, president of Stronghold  Games, and Ignacy Trzewiczek, president of Portal Games, are both bringing great new games based on the Red Planet to the hobby this year.  Terraforming Mars and First Martians are sure to be out of this world hits!  If you have questions for these two giants in the field, Stephen and Ignacy invite you to submit them <here>.  They also have their very own guild over at BGG and would love it if you’d come help them reach their goal of 500 members by clicking <here>.  And of course, if you’d like to hear more of their outstanding and unique podcast, click <here> and enjoy!.

If you don’t want to wait for GenCon 2016 to secure your copies of Terraforming Mars and/or The Dragon & Flagon, click <here> to pre-order today!

Effective immediately, New Jersey based Stronghold Games and Germany based 2F-Spiele entered into a strategic partnership for Stronghold Games to co-publish, in English, all new future 2F-Spiele titles. Stronghold games have released many games including “Survive: Escape From Atlantis!”, “Core Worlds”, and “Space Cadets” (plus many, many others). 2F-Spiele is known for “Power Grid, “Fearsome Floors”, “Felix, the Cat in the Sack”, and a personal favorite of mine “Friday”.  The two companies worked together on the 2015 hit “504” which creates 504 different games from the 9 modules contained in the box.

Two giants in the gaming community, Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games and Friedemann Friese of 2F-Spiele, have both expressed excitement in this project and what it could mean for both companies moving forward. What this means for hobbyists in North America and the rest of the world is they will see an almost simultaneous English release of 2F-Spiele games, while maintaining the high quality components both companies are known for.

To kick off this Strategic Partnership, the following titles will be co-published by Stronghold Games with an expected street date of October 2016:

Fabled Fruit (Stronghold Games title) / Fabelsaft (2F-Spiele title)

While living in a bountiful forest of amazing fruits, players will try to be the first to quench their thirst by making the most delicious juices. Various forest dwellers will help players in a variety of ways. Fabled Fruit is being debuted as a “Fable Game” which Stronghold and 2F-Spiele describe as:

A new and unique concept in game experiences, where the gameplay changes over time. The game starts in an initial, simple state, but as you explore deeper into the game system, the mechanisms and gameplay will evolve over time. Unlike in a Legacy game, however, the game is never permanently changed. This Fable Game will remain just as playable on the 20th play as it was on the first plays of the game.”

Fuji Flush (Stronghold Games title) / Futschikato (2F-Spiele title)

Fuji Flush is a 15 minute, easy to learn card game in which you try to get rid of your hand of cards before any other player. Work with other players to beat cards other players lay down, or play the highest card to beat your colluding opponents.


dicetower stronghold

The event, being called Havok in Homestead, will feature the Dice Tower crew hosting both Rodney Smith (Watch it Played), and Stephen Buonocore (Stronghold Games) for an all day game fest.  Some of the games that they will be playing are Dark Moon, Sheriff of Nottingham, Catacombs, and many more to fill the entire day.  The event will be live cast on the Dice Tower YouTube channel and will start on Saturday, May 21st at 10am eastern time, the stream itself will be split in two with one starting at 10am and the other starting at 4pm.  How long will the goodwill last in the Havok in Homestead?  You will have to watch to find out!

It is also worth mentioning that this year once again Stronghold Games has generously sponsored the live show for the Dice Tower and the party with the Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast at Origins as well as the Dice Tower live show at Gen Con.  The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast party will be the Friday of the fair (June 17th) at 8pm, while the Dice Tower live show will be at 9pm on Saturday (June 18th) with Stephen Buonocore attending (or crashing depending on how you view it) both events.  At Gen Con the Dice Tower live show will also be on a Friday, August 5th, at 1pm and it will be a ticketed event, so purchase your tickets in advance so you can get a seat as they could run out.  You can go to the Gen Con website now to get your tickets, and until then, have fun gaming!

UPDATE: Article originally gave the incorrect dates of the Origins events and have been corrected


Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games has released a newsletter full of news for 2016, beginning with the announcement that he plans to leave his regular full-time job to give 100% of his attention to Stronghold Games.  He hopes to make this move before the end of the year.

Following this is the announcement that Stronghold Games’ Pocket Line (including Diamonds) will be expanding to include Bear Valley (Carl Chudyk) and Stellar Conflict, a fast-paced space combat game with real-time elements set in the Among the Stars Universe.

Stronghold also announces further summer 2016 releases to include their first pirate-themed game, PiratoonsCity of Spies: Estoril 1942, and The Pursuit of Happiness.  Additionally, Stronghold discusses their podcast, Board Games Insider, co-hosted by Stephen Buonocore and Ignacy Trzewiczek, and the progress made in 23 episodes so far.

For more details on this year’s upcoming titles, visit the Stronghold Games website here.


portal games logo

Portal Games sent out a newsletter at the end of last week full of exciting news. If you aren’t familiar with Portal Games, you should be. They are the Polish board game publisher headed by Ignacy Trzewiczek. He’s the guy that designed the siege boardgame Stronghold (can’t wait for the next edition), the huge hit Robinson Crusoe and most recently the empire building card game Imperial Settlers. Since forming his own company that enabled him to get his games directly to market, he has picked up several titles like Neuroshima Hex. If you are unfamiliar with any of these games do yourself a favor and go fix that!


Enough introductions, lets get to some goodies from Portal’s newsletter. First off is some more news about Imperial Settlers. As Dice Tower News first reported here, the first expansion, Atlanteans, will be premiered at Gen Con in July and then available for the masses in August. This expansion introduces a new faction with a new mechanic as well as cards for all four existing factions. The newsletter provides more fuel for fans of the game by revealing artwork from the expansion, specifically artwork for some of the new Roman cards!

In more Imperial Settlers news the first Empire Pack (of 55 cards) Why Can’t We Be Friends added new card mechanics to all four core Factions as well as solo play. Adding cards to the core opened up a new aspect for the game, Deck Building! Although you can just add the new cards in, it is advised you remove core cards out as you add new cards in. Wow! the possibilities for this game in the future just opened wide with more Empire Packs and expansions. There is a suggested method for this Faction deck building and Ignacy himself has added a video walkthrough to this process here.

tides of time ban

Ignacy visited the UK Games Expo where he previewed Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot as well as Tides of Time. Both are new Portal games that will be made available at Gen Con. Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot is a dice chucking game with modifiable pirate ships that DTN wrote about here, whereas Tides of Time is a “micro” card drafting 2-player game that we announced here. Having a chance at a sneak peak may have well been worth a trip across the pond!

The Portal newsletter provide a link to a user created “spin down” life counter for the very popular Robinson Crusoe. This beautifully drawn life counter was created by BoardGameGeek user Rom Brown and can be downloaded for free here from the BGG site.

board game insider

Board Games Insider is a bi-monthly podcast by Ignacy Trzewiczek and Stephen Buonocore (president of Stronghold Games) that is geared toward designers and insiders but any fan of boardgames would enjoy. The newsletter directs readers to the link for Episode 7 where the hosts talk about BGG Fam con, the UK Games Expo and a Mysterious Origins Announcement (spoiler: a new game from Stronghold)! Go ahead and check out the podcast here.

Neuroshima Hex is Portal’s hugely popular tile placement game that is heavy on combat and tactics. The newsletter directs fans to a BGG link that provides a user made faction, The Gurrak Tribe.

Two last news bit from the newsletter. First, Ignacy has started his second Kickstarter for his writing endeavors. The first one for Board Games That Tell Stories was successful and enabled him to publish a book collecting articles from himself and other board game designers about many topics including board game design. Now Ignacy is kickstarting Board Games That Tell Stories 2! Lastly, the 6th annual PortalCon took place on June 6th in Poland.

That was a lot of Portal news! In short, if you enjoy Portal games, get ready for some new games and expansions in the next couple of months!