storytelling

Asmodee, which has the largest catalog of games under it’s wide umbrella thanks to it’s partnerships with Days of Wonder, ZMAN Games, Fantasy Flight, Catan Games and more, has announced it’s Modern Classics line. This new category is for games that are easy to get into yet offer tremendous depth and make for excellent staples in any new or existing collection. The titles in this series together cover a wide range of mechanisms and modes-of-play and each one is considered a gateway of it’s respective genre. As stated by Asmodee in their announcement:

“Modern Classics refers to a small group of pioneering titles that have left a lasting legacy on the board-games market and have stood the test of time to remain preferred gateway purchases in a constantly changing landscape of products. […] Each of the highlighted titles is easy to learn but hard to master, making them well suited for any gaming situation that you might encounter. The Modern Classics range consists of the following games: Ticket to Ride Europe, Catan, Carcassonne, Dixit, Pandemic, and Splendor.

While this really is just a matter of showcasing for new customers, the games chosen here are, I feel, irrefutably ‘Modern Classics’ and deserve to be called as such. These quintessential games also cover a lot of ground as well, certain to prepare even the newest of gamers for the great many strategy games that lie beyond. Just with these six games there’s card drafting, network building, tile laying, set collection, storytelling, cooperation, trading, and resource management game mechanisms. Hoo! The question I have now is, will there be any more games added to this list in the future? Only time will tell.

The second expansion for Norsaga, Odds and Endings, is available for funding now on Kickstarter. This card game pits 2-4 vikings against each other to tell outlandish stories of their lineage through card play and embellishments. The expansion adds 48 more cards to the game, including Realms, Immortals, and Heirlooms which change the rules and offer new opportunities to players. As described via the campaign page:

“Odds and Endings introduces 3 new decks of cards: heirlooms and immortals provide permanent bonuses once unlocked, while realms change the fundamental rules of the game. It also includes additional base game cards, and updated 2nd Edition basic embellishments which accelerate the flow of the game.”

 

Not to bore anyone with simply adding more cards to the game, Odds and Endings seeks to make Norsaga more dynamic by adding more difficult decisions and shaking the strategy with these new cards. Heirlooms are definitely the most interesting of the bunch, as their existence in a game prohibits you from doing one of the basic actions of the game, using “embellishments” (Norsaga’s name for special powers). It takes a big sacrifice to flip them, but should you do so you are rewarded by not only gaining embellishments back but having more of them as well. If you’re interested in Odds and Endings, you can back it or find out more information by visiting the campaign page or by visiting Meromorph Games’ wesbite.

rule-make-logo

Hand of Fate is an excellent video game available on Steam, Xbox One, and PS4 that draws upon many board and card gaming elements and mixes it with storytelling. It is, at it’s heart, a deck-building game that supplants careful card choices for every encounter of a perilous journey. Players are required to carefully choose opportunities of heroism, terrible pitfalls, and even each piece of mundane or legendary equipment they can possibly run into much like making a personalized choose-your-own adventure game. Playing it can make you wonder why a tried-and-true tabletop game hasn’t yet emulated the same captivating experience, but now there’s no need to wonder – It’s in development!

hand-of-fate

The game’s design studio, Defiant Development, is working with Rule & Make, the creators of Entropy and Rise to Power, to bring the hit video game to the board gaming world. With a sequel coming to Steam and Xbox One in early 2017, it is plain that Defiant is investing heavily on the success of the original game. From my experience with the design, I feel they have every reason to, and I’m excited that they appear to be thinking critically about how this game is being translated from one platform to another. One can tell by this quote from the press release just how serious these developers are in bringing this game to life:

 “When we started thinking seriously about a physical version, we spoke to a few different people in the space, but it was Rule & Make who we really wanted to work with, largely because they were local, passionate, creative, and knew our game inside out. In terms of the tabletop version, we’re really looking forward to having an actual game we can unfold with friends, and we’re excited by some of the mechanics ideas Rule & Make have in mind.”

Hand of Fate is a solitary experience that required tactical thinking at every step, but some of those steps cannot directly translate to a board game which leaves questions about what will be the same and otherwise. Will it be a solo game, or will it be adapted to allow multiple players, or even a “dungeon master”? How will it accommodate for the third-person combat? Unfortunately there is no word on a release date or finer  details as of right now, but Defiant studios has said they will reveal more details after PAX Australia which is currently underway. Keep an eye on either Rule & Make or Defiant Development’s news pages for more information about the game as it comes to fruition.

dixit revelatios

Dixit: Revelations, the 7th and newest expansion to the enormously popular Dixit boardgame, has recently been announced by publisher Asmodee.

Dixit: Revelations brings all new cards to the game with all new cart art by French illustrator Marina Coudray.  Coudray’s art is full of hidden meaning with mysterious images pulling inspiration from classic art to world mythology to current online trends.  Whether you like a bit of whimsy to your art or prefer a more stoic layered look, there’s something in this set for everyone.

For those unfamiliar with the Dixit series of games, Dixit is a light storytelling game for 3-6 players.  Each player has a had of cards featuring beautiful art.  After the active player chooses a card from their hand, they come up with a word or phrase or song title, etc. that they think in some way describes the card.  Each other player then chooses a card from their own hand to go with the given phrase.  Once all cards have been chosen and revealed, all players except the active player vote on which card they think is the active players.  Points are distributed in an apples to apples fashion.

With many ways to interpret every card, the Dixit: Revelations set is sure to add to the enjoyment of the game.  If you talk to any fan of Dixit, you’ll quickly realize that the more cards you have and the more varied the artwork, the more fun can be had by all.  Dixit: Revelations is due out in the fourth quarter of 2016, and I for one cannot wait!

To learn more about Dixit and it’s current expansions, click <here>.

dark and stormy cards

Coming soon from Asmodee is an expansion to their StoryLine line of games: Scary Tales. Scary Tales, designed by Steve Kimball, expands the world of StoryLine by including new horror-themed story cards such as Haunted or Hideous alongside fresh narrator cards like “It was a dark and _________ night.”

StoryLine is a family-friendly game that has an Apples-to-Apples feel that is more story-driven. Played over fifteen rounds, players take turns being the narrator and flipping narrator cards that contain prompts for other players to fill in. These prompts will include suggestions for characters, features, actions, locations, and more. The suggestion preferred by the narrator will earn a token as a reward, which bears points to be revealed at the end of game.

This new stand-alone expansion includes:

  • 30 narrator cards
  • 100 illustrated story cards
  • 21 tokens

For additional information, visit Asmodee’s website.

near and far

Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games announces a sequel to the story-driven “civ-building”, or actually town-building, game, Above and Below entitled Near and Far.  In Near and Far, up to four friends are searching for the Last Ruin, which purportedly contains a legendary artifact that grants their greatest heart’s desire.  In the game, players will be recruiting adventurers, hunting for treasure, and competing to be the most “storied traveler”.  Players will need to manage their food and equipment to survive the long journey, and sometimes special encounters will befall a player, in which another player will then read from the Book of Encounters.  Players will read over ten game sessions to reach the end of the story.

A Kickstarter project to fund this new game is expected later in 2016.  For more information on the game, visit Red Raven Games’ website or the game’s page on BoardGameGeek.com.

awful fantasy

Awful Fantasy, a social media parody of fantasy and sci-fi, is coming out with its first tabletop game, Awful Fantasy: The Card Game. The game comes from the designers of Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game, and features the humor of Awful Fantasy. In this storytelling game, players will be collecting cards in order to complete their own awful fantasy tale. The game will launch on Kickstarter on May 3rd. For more information, see the full press release:

Awful Fantasy—the satirical social media source for all things awful in fantasy and sci-fi—is proud to announce the upcoming release of its first official tabletop game, Awful Fantasy: The Card Game! Watch for the upcoming Kickstarter campaign launching on May 3rd.

About the game:
Based on the the unique and absurd humor of Justin and Mitchell Lucas and with gameplay designed by Adam and Brady Sadler (Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game), Awful Fantasy: The Card Game is a casual card game for 2 – 6 aspiring awful authors. Each player takes on the role of a ridiculous author equipped with a hand of awful cards, which are used to either draw fantasy cards or thwart your rival authors.

The goal of the game is to collect a series of fantasy cards to complete your own tale of awful fantasy. Each story must contain at least 3 fantasy cards, including a plot, a protagonist, and an antagonist. The combinations of these cards are diverse, and each play provides a new opportunity for you to tell a tale more awful than your last.

The Lucas twins and Sadler twins have a long creative history that began in their high school days. This is their first collaboration in the gaming world, but hopefully far from their last.

Number of players: 2 – 6
Time required: 20 – 45 min
Recommended ages: 13+
Awful Fantasy website: awfulfantasy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AwfulFantasy
Twitter: http://twitter.com/awfulfantasy

Explore a massive cavern and build your new village above and below ground in this storytelling/town-building mashup board game.

Ryan Laukat and Red Raven Games brings a new board game to Kickstarter that combines city-building elements, worker-placement mechanisms and storytelling into one game: Above and Below.  In this game, players take on the role of a village leader trying to grow a new town after the previous village was destroyed by barbarians.  Interestingly, a network or caverns lies beneath the site for the new village, and players will become engaged in the storytelling aspect of the game as they explore it.  Players will send their villagers to work on varied tasks such as exploring the cave, harvesting resources, and constructing houses.  When exploring the caverns, players will be reading from a book of paragraphs as the story unfolds, creating a new story every time you play.

A standard version of the game is available through this Kickstarter as well as an Expanded Edition, which will include all stretch goals and will only be available through the Kickstarter and select conventions.  Above and Below is for 2-4 players.

To find out more about this project, visit its Kickstarter page here.

 

 

agents of smersh ult

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? They were these children’s books where you took the role of the main character in a fantasy world setting out on some big quest. Often, you would get the chance to choose how to act and depending on what choices you made, you would be told to go to a specific page of the book that would react to the choices that you’ve made. 8th Summit’s Agents of SMERSH is like that, only in board game form.

In Agents of SMERSH you and up to three other players are spies during the Cold War era trying to take down the evil Dr. Lobo and his four associates. The game features a scenario book with over 1,500 encounters. As you play the game, you’ll be told to read specific entries from the scenario book. You then react to the encounter and different things happen depending on what you do. It’s similar to the storytelling game Tales of Arabian Nights, but with more of a focus on strategy.

Designer Jason Maxwell said that not much has changed going into the second edition. A few typos have been fixed and some encounters have been rewritten for clarity. The Dr. Lobo track has been shrunken down a little, and there have been slight adjustments made to the coloring of some icons. The biggest change has been the addition of 60 new encounters. Maxwell explains:

“The Scenario Book has 60 new “entering the base” encounters with a completely unique method of choosing which are read by the player based entirely upon a player’s skills. Every player gets one of these encounters.”

“Players use the Scenario Booklet no matter if they have won or lost the board game. This is a micro game that happens after playing the board game. Losing the board game in most cases will have consequences. And again, losing against Dr. Lobo will have further consequences in future scenarios. There will be a few surprises. That being the case, I’m working to make the scenario book replayable as well, but for the most part the biggest fun will be had by playing it through the first time.”

agents board

The Kickstarter offers bundles for the game and the expansion for the people who have yet to experience the thrills that Agents of SMERSH has to offer. For those who already have the first edition, you have another chance to get the promos that were available in the game’s previous Kickstarter campaigns, as well as the revised encounter book, the new Dr. Lobo track, and more. The Funding period ends on Monday, September 1 and the game is expected to ship in February 2015.

For more information, check out our review and the Agents of SMERSH 2nd Edition Kickstarter page.