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tasty minstrel games

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Tasty Minstrel games have just released their latest newsletter detailing their plans in the run up to GenCon.

scoville labs

First up is the first expansion to their hot game Scoville – Scoville: Labs coming to kickstarter from August 11-20th.  The expansion will come in the smaller box size like Harbour with minimal components but a maximum amount of depth being added to the game.  Each player gets their own new 3×3 lab board that you can plant peppers on which no-one else can use.  It comes with additional wooden peppers, new recipe cards and pepper multiplier tokens.  You can sign up for text message notifications for Scoville: Labs here

TMG are also present at GenCon and are offering a text messaging service with last minute news and events here

cthulhu realms

They are also pleased to announce that Cthulhu Realms is waiting for them at GenCon but stock of these few pre-release copies is expected to sell fast.  It’s a family friendly Cthulhu game with funny artwork capturing the spirit of the mythos but in a funny way and is described as a child of Star Realms.

flip city

Flip City should be on retailers shelves soon.  This unique deck builder works without a hand and cards played directly from the top of the deck.  You play one at a time and can then buy a new card with any money you may have earned from those played cards.  You could end up playing bad cards as well as good but don’t play too many unhappy ones or your turn will end.

steam works

Steam Works is on pre order and is a steampunk themed worker placement game where you build machines using clockwork, steam or electricity.  You can get text notifications about when the game is available for pre order here

gold west

Gold West a resource management and area control game about building mining empires while you compete over the precious metals is nearing pre order.  Resources are managed using a mancala style supply track.  You can register for text updates about the pre-order here

 

If you haven’t played Eminent Domain by Seth Jaffe yet you are missing out on a spectacular game. It’s twist on deck building and role selection will remind you of games like Roll for the Galaxy and Puerto Rico. It is also one of my favorite games to play during my lunch hour because of it’s short playing time. There is even an expansion out for it called Eminent Domain: Escalation that adds to the replayability of the game and changes up the original’s ‘everyone starts with the same deck’ concept. Now Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG) is bringing us another expansion for the game called Eminent Domain: Exotica:

Your civilization has grown to the edge of the known universe. To expand farther you’ll need to explore exotic worlds and learn their language and customs. Mine foreign asteroids for valuable crystal and befriend alien cultures in Eminent Domain: Exotica!

Eminent Domain Exotica adds a lot more to the game.

  • 9 new starting scenario cards – these cards were first introduced in the Escalation expansion and allow players to start the game with asynchronous decks
  • 31 new technology cards – technology cards are key to winning the game and these will add even more options for you to choose from
  • 27 new planet cards – new and exciting planets to take over either through colonization or warfare
  • and a whole lot more!

In addition to the expansion box, which will come in a limited edition foil stamped digitally signed box, each backer will receive a promo pack that will include more planets, technology cards, and scenario cards as well as extra Exotica components  for fifth player. Eminent Domain: Exotica definitely sounds like an outstanding expansion to an outstanding game.

But wait….there’s more!

Not content to just offering an expansion to one of their hit games in their latest Kickstarter TMG has also included a brand new game set in the Eminent Domain universe called Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers by Philip duBarry!

Battlecruisers is a game for 3-5 players that plays in about 15 minutes. Players are locked in space combat with each controlling a battlecruiser and are looking to either be the first to gain 15 victory points or be the last one standing. All players have decks of 20+ cards but each player only plays with six to eight of these cards (determined by player count) which can be randomly chosen, mutually agreed upon, or picked using one of the scenarios in the rule book. During set up players will randomly discard one of these cards into their discard pile and play one face up into their ‘recovery pile’.

Each turn players will choose one of the remaining cards in their hand to play simultaneously face down in front of them. Players will then turn their cards over resolving them in number order. If no one else chose the same card as you then you can play the main card effect helping you achieve victory. If two or more players chose the same card then you resolve the clash affect that will punish you and the other players that played the same card. After resolving effects players return their ‘recovery zone’ card back to their hand and place the previously played card in the recovery zone. If you ever run out of cards to play you are out of the game.

This game looks like it offers tons of variety and like it can be enjoyed by just about every type of player out there. This is due to the large number of cards per player yet only a small number of them are used each game. Players can choose to play with the cards that match the gaming style of the group they are currently playing with.

Eminent Domain: Exotica should be an excellent addition to the Eminent Domain base game and Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers looks like a fun quick game with huge amounts of replayability. You can find both on their Kickstarter page here where you’ll find a discount if you wish to back both of the games. I for one am very excited for another expansion to the fantastic game Eminent Domain and Battlecruisers has me interested enough to pledge for a copy of that. Of course both of these games should be making an appearance in you FLGS/OLGS after they ship to backers so you can always wait for them to arrive there.

In what will be exciting news for Stefan Feld fans Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG) will be re-releasing Luna a popular Feld title that has been out of print for a few years now.

“The end of her regency is nigh. It’s time to clear the way for a new bearer of the burden. She will keep a wary eye on the novices representing their Orders and trying to win her favor. Eventually, she will have to come to a decision. Which Order will prove itself worthy to decide on her successor? There will be a new Moon Priestess and she will bear the title: LUNA.”

In Luna 1-4 players take on the role of heads of the different Orders trying to convince the Moon Priestess who is about to retire that they are the ones worth of being her successor. They will need to place/move their novices on islands that surround a central temple island. They will need to be in the right place at the right time to collect the influence points needed to win the game.

There isn’t a whole lot of information available about the reprint except that it is expected to be released in the Oct/Nov and the box art has not changed except for the addition of the TMG logo.

battlecruiser

First up Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers a new stand-alone game by Phillip DuBarry that is set in the Eminent Domain universe. Battlecruisers will pit 3-5 players against each other trying to achieve victory through glorious achievements…or just be the last ship standing. Each of the players will have a hand of actions that are almost exactly the same and secretly choose one at the same time. The catch is you want to choose an action that no one else does. But don’t worry you’ll know what their last action played was. The game should be intense fun and take about 30 minutes.

In Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers, you want to be the first to escape with 15 victory points, or be the last ship standing. Each round you and your opponents each play a card from your identical hands. If you play the same card as an opponent, you’ll clash and bad things will happen! But if you manage to sneak a card through unhindered, then you’ll reap the benefits.

ed exotica

Eminent Domain: Exotica is an expansion for Eminent Domain that will introduce two new planet types: Exotic planets and Asteroids. Exotic planets will introduce Alien icons that will require converters to use them for the regular roles while Asteroids will do very little for you, almost useless really, until you develop the “Asteroidal” techs that will get better and better the more asteroids you have in your empire.

Your civilization has grown to the edge of the known universe. To expand farther you’ll need to explore exotic worlds and learn their language and customs. Mine foreign asteroids for valuable crystal and befriend alien cultures in Eminent Domain: Exotica!

Look for both Battlecruisers and Eminent Domain: Exotica to show up on Kickstarter after Eminent Domain: Microcosm ships to backers.

gold west

In addition TMG has reported on other games in their pipeline that will not be on Kickstarter. They are:

  • Gold West – Pre-production is done, and printing has begun.
  • Flip City (formerly known as Design Town) – Art is 100% updated, pre-production done, and printing is funded.
  • Luna – Artwork 100% updated for TMG release and moving into pre-press.
  • Cthulhu Realms – Art is 100% finished and pre-production is underway.
  • Dungeon of Fortune – Artwork is 95% finished.
  • Steamworks – Artwork is approaching finished, pre-production needs to start, and funding is needed.
  • Downfall – Artwork is 50-70% finished.
  • Amun-Re – Artwork is being reworked in cooperation with a French publisher.
  • Zombie Roll – Game design is finished and we are in discussions with another publisher for its future release.

 

tasty minstrel golden geeks

In Tasty Minstrel Games’ latest newsletter, founder Michael Mindes discusses three areas that are hot topics for TMG at present.  But before that, TMG encourages everyone to try AquaSphere, the latest game from Stefan Feld, and Village Port, expansion to Village, by Markus & Inka Brand.  Both of these games have limited availability.

Golden Geek Awards

TMG has 6 different titles that have been nominated for various categories of the Golden Geek Awards on boardgamegeek.com.  These titles are:

  • AquaSphere – Game of The Year  /  Strategy
  • Orleans – Game of The Year  /  Strategy  /  Innovative
  • Scoville – Artwork & Presentation
  • Eminent Domain: Escalation – Expansion
  • Burgoo – Abstract
  • This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us – Abstract

Testing

In the past year, TMG has been able to expand services to their customers through expanding their staff, resulting in 4 full-time staff and several key contract-based workers.  Mindes states that he is in the midst of testing many things within the company structure, and states the following things explicitly:

  • Everything we decide to do is for the benefit of our Customers. This is our guiding principle.

  • We strive to more directly interact with our Customers while being able to continually create fantastic games that they want.

  • We have a gigantic pipeline of games that is around 40 titles right now, and want to bring these to life quickly, steadily, and carefully.

  • We want to have deep and valuable relationships with our closest stakeholders, this includes game designers, artists, key retailers, reviewers, email subscribers, and so forth.

Successes

TMG lists its top 3 successful sellers:

  • Dungeon Roll – 40,000+
  • Village – About 16,000
  • Eminent Domain – About 15,000

For more information on Tasty Minstrel Games and this latest company news announcement, visit the newsletter here.

orleans

Tasty Minstrel Games is back on Kickstarter, this time raising funds for Essen 2014 hit Orléans. Set in medieval France, Orléans is a worker placement and resource management game with a twist. Dubbed “bag building”, players take actions to seed personal draw bags with additional worker tokens. Every round, players draw a number of workers from their bags and take actions based on what they’ve drawn.

“During the medieval goings-on around Orléans, you must assemble a following of farmers, merchants, knights, monks, etc. to gain supremacy through trade, construction and science in medieval France.”

orleans 2

Orléans comes in two flavors: a basic edition with standard cardboard components, and a one-time Kickstarter exclusive deluxe version with metal coins and stickered wooden discs.

If you’re interested in backing Orléans, head over to the Kickstarter page for all the details. For more information and to get our opinion, check out the Dice Tower review of Orléans.

Over at the Dice Tower, a new Board Game Breakfast was released. In this week’s episode we are treated with the usual suspects (Board game Apps with Suzanne, Snakes & Lattes, Head in the Clouds with Chaz Marler, etc). This week includes a discussion with Scott Mindes, owner of Tasty Minstrel Games.

microcosm

From Michael Mindes and the fine folks at Tasty Minstrel Games comes the a mashing of one of their biggest properties and one of their specialties.  Eminent Domain Microcosm is a two player micro game designed by Seth Jaffee and set in the Eminent Domain Universe.  With just 34 cards this really does solidly fit into the micro game genre.  Being only two players this game should be appealing to those who enjoy the full version of Eminent Domain.  In addition because the price point on it is fairly low you can try it out without feeling too guilty about plunking down some substantial investment.

The key to the game is the multi-use cards. You’re constantly watching every avenue for synergies between your hand, your discard pile, and the planets or different technologies. But don’t get caught focusing too much on your own empire … or your efforts will just end up in your opponent’s spoils of war.

In addition to the base game they are also including 14 promo cards 8 for Eminent Domain, 5 for Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers, and 1 for dungeon roll.  In addition they are offering the kickstarter edition of Dungeon Roll along with add ons like their branded sleeves and copies the original game and its expansion.

microcosm components

While TMG did have some delays getting games out earlier in the year causing many of their projects to be delayed anywhere from 2-5 months they have seemed to gotten production under control.  With four major games still outstanding.  Current projects appear to be near to on time though with any company delays can always happen.

If this sounds interesting to you head on over to Kickstarter for all of the details here.

dtn gencon

 

So, the entire DTN crew will be bringing you constant coverage of Gen Con this year.  The quickest way to receive updates is to follow @dicetower_news on Twitter.  You will receive Tweet alerts throughout the day of many exciting events and news. All of the pictures that you’ll see in this, and many future articles, can be seen first on Twitter, live, throughout the day.

So today was setup day.  Many of the Publishers were setting up in the Convention Center and many had their demo play rooms set up.  I had the luxury of play testing, along with Eric Summerer and Dan King from The Dice Tower, City Hall by Tasty Minstrel Games.  Designer Michael Keller set up a game that we were able to play through.  Unbelievably, I came in second – behind Michael himself (go figure, right?)

 

Michael Keller - Designer of City Hall

Michael Keller – Designer of City Hall

A stop at the Tasty Minstrel room wouldn’t be complete without Michael Mendes himself (owner of TMG).  Holding up a copy of Scoville – an exciting new game from designer Ed Marriott.

 

Michael Mendes - owner of Tasty Minstrel Games

Michael Mendes – owner of Tasty Minstrel Games

One of my favorites, that I actually got to play test, is Downwood Tales, the newest expansion to the popular dungeon crawl – Mice & Mystics, from designer Jerry Hawthorne (Plaid Hat Games)

Downwood Tales - Mice & Mystics expansion

Downwood Tales – Mice & Mystics expansion

 

Here were some items on display at the FFG booth:

 

Last Banquet

Last Banquet

New Flight Template for Star Wars Armada

New Flight Template for Star Wars Armada

New X Wing Wave Ships

New X Wing Wave Ships

Just a few familiar faces:

Tom with Designer Richard Launius

Tom with Designer Richard Launius

Rob and a Happy Tom

Rob and a Happy Tom

Tom with Scott w/Arcane Wonders

Tom with Scott w/Arcane Wonders

Tom with Sheriff of Notthingham

Tom with Sheriff of Notthingham

Dice Tower Crew

Dice Tower Crew

Rob Searing & Zee Garcia

Rob Searing & Zee Garcia