Dice Tower Newsletter

tasty minstrel games

Tasty Minstrel Games has launched another crowdfunding campaign for an upcoming release. Designed by Mark Major and developed at TMG for more than two years the community now has an opportunity to fund Chimera Station.

In Chimera Station, 2-4 players attempt to build a space station over five rounds in a unique twist on a worker placement game. Each round has three phases, the first and third rounds are familiar to most people who have delved into this genre of game: Placement and Feeding. It’s the middle phase that makes the other two phases vastly more interesting. In the Splicing Phase, prepped workers are upgraded to have extra parts. Claws, leaves, brains, and my favorite, tentacles. The physical components allow you to add up to two additional sections into each of your six workers with interlocking pieces. Extra parts means your workers gain various abilities such as displacing other workers and gaining extra resources.

Following TMG’s recent trend, Chimera Station is available in a DELUXE format which includes upgraded components such as metal coins. There are also a line of stretch goals to upgrade the DELUXE version even more, and add a mini expansion. The Kickstarter Campaign is live now and will go through October 7, 2016. The game is expected to ship in June of 2017, but with the limited nature of the DELUXE product, the time to act is now.

Check out TMG’s Kickstarter Page for more information including reviews, preview videos by Man Vs Meeple, Rahdo, UndeadViking, and Bowers Game Corner. Since TMG hasn’t shared their splicing technology, we were not able to combine Radho and UndeadViking, so you’ll have to watch their reviews separately.

yokohama deluxe

Tasty Minstrel Games would like to announce their current project, Yokohama Deluxe, a new version of Yokohama that includes metal coins and upgraded wooden components.

Yokohama is a game by Hisashi Hayashi in which players take on the role of merchants in the Meiji period, an important era of commerce and international trade in Japan’s history.  Players work to gain fame through successful business practices, including building a store, broadening their sales channels, learning a variety of techniques, and responding to trade orders from abroad.

yokohomo components

TMG has clearly expressed that they are providing the upgraded components in this deluxe version of Yokohama at cost to backers, and that this will be a limited, one-time opportunity to obtain this deluxe version.  For more information and to support this project, visit its Kickstarter page here.


Just launched on Kickstarter from Tasty Minstrel Games is the reprint of the classic game Colosseum.  In Colosseum you are a Roman impresario trying to produce the grandest spectacles and attract the most spectators to your colosseum.  You will do this by collecting sets of performances and upgrading you colosseum in five different phases; investing, acquiring events, trading events, producing events, and closing ceremonies.

In investing you will spend money you have earned to upgrade you colosseum to improve your ability to put on shows.  Through the acquire and trade portions you will first bid on sets of events to acquire them, and then trade events with other players in order to better your sets.  In the producing phase you can put on shows and earn points and money based on how well your production satisfies the noble’s desires.  Lastly in the closing ceremonies phase the highest scoring player gets a bonus and donates an asset to the lowest scoring player, everyone who put on a show removes a performer and the round begins again.  The player who put on the best single performance by the end of five rounds wins.

coloseum board

The campaign also boasts other upgrades to the game such as metal coins, updated art and rules, some additional event scrolls, and other component upgrades as stretch goals.  With the campaign funding in record time and over three weeks left, the game is going to look pretty good by the end.  You can head over to the campaign page to check it out and pledge for your copy.

ion award

Each year at SaltCon,  in Layton-Utah, the winners of the Ion awards are announced. The Ion awards are given out to unpublished game prototypes that show excellence in game design.  49 entries were whittled down to just four in each category – light games and strategy games.

The award in the strategy category was given to Brian Kelley for his game Scarlet Pimpernel. In the light games category it was given to Adam Wyse for his game Cypher (not to be confused with the game already released by AEG).  Both winners are in talks with publishers so they won’t be unpublished prototypes for much longer.

Congratulations to both of them and you can read the full press release below as well as see who the judges were for the awards this year.


For Immediate Release, 2016

The 2016 Ion Award Competition was held at the SaltCON board game convention on March 3, 4, and 5 in Layton Utah. The award is for unpublished board game prototypes that show excellence in game design. We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s awards:

Best Strategy Game was awarded to Scarlet Pimpernel designed by Brian Kelley.

Best Light Game was awarded to Cypher designed by Adam Wyse.

It was announced that both finalists were in talks with publishers. For the last 6 years, the Ion Award winners have received publishing contracts. There were 49 total entries in the competition. Four finalists competed in the Light Game category and four in the Strategy Game category at SaltCON.

We would like to thank our finalist judges:

In the Strategy category we would like to thank Jason Grantz of Eagle-Gryphon Games, Andy Van Zandt of Tasty Minstrel Games, and Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games.

In the Light Games category we would like to thank Daniel Peterson of Mayday Games, Patrick Nickell of Crash Games, Michael Coe of Gamelyn Games, and Tim Fowers of Tim Fowers Games.

Thank you to all the entrants, and to the community for supporting the Ion Award! We are proud of the efforts of the designers and wish them the best of success in the future. The Ion Award is a game design award for unpublished games and their designers.  It is held annually, with the final judging taking place at SaltCON. SaltCON is the premier board game convention in Utah, featuring the Ion Award Game Design Competition, as well as board game tournaments, demos, exhibitors, and open gaming.  SaltCON 2017 will be March 2-4, 2017.

Past Ion Award winners can be found found by following this link.


Tasty Minstrel Games would like to announce that their new dice-drafting/stealing game, Thief’s Market, is now on Kickstarter.

Gameplay in Thief’s Market occurs over a series of rounds in which players will split the loot from a “hard day’s work” and then spend it on useful items, finery, and henchmen.  These purchased items will grant the ability to manipulate your take further as you go to market.  Using the items you purchase, you can take actions such as flipping dice to the desired side, make extra purchases, re-roll dice, gain points, reduce the cost of purchases at the market, and create effects when you purchase certain cards.

A copy of Thief’s Market contains the following:

  • 13 Custom Dice
  • 41 High Quality Game Cards
  • Start Player Marker
  • Player Reference Cards
  • Coin Tokens
  • Infamy Tokens
  • Rulebook

The project has met multiple stretch goals currently, and aims to add metal coins to the game when a certain pledge level is reached.  For more information and to support this project, visit the Kickstarter page here.

thiefs market 2

Tasty Minstrel Games announces a brand new dice game from Dave Chalker (Get Bit) called Thief’s Market.  On each turn in this fast dice game, 3-5 players will roll the dice and take turns claiming what they want from the dice pool as loot (or stealing from each other).  After all players have loot, they then are able to purchase useful cards with special abilities using any “gems” claimed.  “Yellow coin sacks” provide currency to be used later in the form of “wild gems”, and purple masks provide players with victory points.  Set in the same thematic world as Harbour and features the art of Rob Lundy.

TMG plans to begin its Kickstarter project for Thief’s Market in January of 2016.  TMG states: “Our goal is to be able to deliver the game to you via Send From China (with double-bubble protection like on Harbour) straight from China to arrive 6-8 before GenCon so that we can comfortably release the game at GenCon 2016 (and hopefully sell tons there).”

Watch for this project on Kickstarter over the next month.

king of air steam

The World’s Fair gathers the greatest minds around the globe and gives them an opportunity to show business moguls and upstarts alike their genius. In Kings of Air and Steam: World’s Fair you are one of those business tycoons that wants to get the latest gizmo that will boost your productivity…but at what opportunity costs?

Tasty Minstrel Games has launched a Kickstarter for the first expansion of Kings of Air and Steam called World’s Fair. Kings of Air and Steam is a programmed movement pick up and deliver game designed by Scott Almes who also designed the Tiny Epic line of games. At the beginning of a round players program their airships movement for 4 turns, then they reveal one of the four cards that dictate their turn order and movement options; after moving they can take one of a number of different actions.

kings air steam cards

Kings of Air and Steam: World’s Fair adds new Technology Cards to the game as well as two new teams and 4 new characters. The technology cards are drafted at the start of the game and must be purchased with an action as well as a cost indicated on the card. These cards will add some surprise and more steampunk flavor to the game with the gadgets and gizmos on them. The two new teams will allow the full complement of 7 players to have some variety in the teams in play each game and bring new and exciting unique abilities into play.

Kings of Air and Steam: World’s Fair is wonderfully illustrated by Josh Cappel who also did the artwork on the base game and can be found on Kickstarter here. If you don’t own the base game and are interested in the expansion there is a pledge level for both so head on over to Kickstarter and check out the latest in the TMG line of games.

scoville labs


Ok, so this announcement made me extremely happy. I had the chance to play Scoville last year at Gen Con. Scoville, published by Tasty Minstrel Games and designed by Ed Marriott, is an extremely fun game with fun game play and super cool components. I loved the game so much that I built a custom insert for it.

Image from www.inserthere.me

Image from www.inserthere.me

Well, there’s an expansion available to Kickstart called the “Labs Expansion”.

Labs introduces 3×3 personal lab boards to the game that players use to breed peppers outside of the influence of other players. You plant in your lab after planting on the main board, and when you do, you will collect new peppers based on what is adjacent in your lab. So, if you plant a black pepper next to a white pepper in your lab, then you will get a phantom pepper.

scoville lab board

As of the writing of this article there are 9 days to go and TMG has already surpassed their funding goal and well on their way to reaching a variety of stretch goals. At $20.00, this is definitely a no-brainer for me. To learn more and fund the project, you can click here to view the campaign.


tasty minstrel banner

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.