Dice Tower Newsletter

tasty minstrel games

Here we are again, time to highlight a couple of Kickstarters we found this week.

First on the list is a game from The Creativity Hub called Untold: Adventures Await.  This is an RPG, story telling hybrid game that puts to use the many different sets of Rory Story Cubes that have been released to date.  It’s described as throwing yourself into your favorite TV series, but instead of just watching you are now creating the story that unfolds.  This is especially true because several dice sets have been released that are based on popular television IPs like Batman, Scooby Doo, and Doctor Who.  Whichever set of Rory Story Cubes you use will give you the framework to your story, and the game will guide you through the rest from the danger appearing to the final showdown.  Play will take about 60 minutes and you can reuse your created characters in later games, akin to continuing your TV series.  So if this sounds interesting to you, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

Next is a game getting an art overhaul and deluxified courtesy of TMG called The Flow of History.  This is a bidding/auction style card game where you are trying to build the best civilization out of them all.  In the game you will be buying and playing cards from 5 different ages, with each card having it’s own special ability.  Some cards give you icons, others give you resources based on those icons, and so on.  The game ends when the card “The Future” shows up in the market or is acquired directly, at that point you count up culture icons, each being worth a point, and any end game scoring bonuses to determine the winner.  What makes this version deluxe compared to the retail is the larger box, molded plastic tray, folding market board, and metal resource tokens.  So if a card based civilization game interests you, or you want a deluxe version of the game, check out the Kickstarter page.

Finally we have Archmage Origins, the latest card game from SolarFlare Games.  In the game you are battling your follow mages in an effort to collect the strongest army and be crowned the archmage of the realm.  To do that you will use a similar board setup and play style to that of a popular two player game, Targi.  In the game you will set out a 4×4 grid of face down monster cards, each having different strengths and abilities.  On your turn you can peak at a card to see what monster is there, next you have the option to swap it with another card, and then you play one of your mage cards around the edge of the board.  After everyone’s mage cards have been played, all the cards flip over and each monster card is resolved, totaling the value of mage cards in the column and row it occupies.  Whoever has the higher value gets to add the card to their army, and once all the cards have been given out, the highest valued army wins.  With some good looking art, simple and quick gameplay, this light filler game is worth a look.  Check out their Kickstarter page today, which also includes a tease to the next game in the same universe.

Lots of games to go through so lets get right to it, first on the list is a new creation from Seth Jaffe and Tasty Minstrel Games called Crusaders.  The object of the game is to spread the influence of your Order far and wide before the king begins to fear your power, and disbands them all, ending the game.  You will accomplish different actions through your own personal rondel of different actions and action cubes you move using a mancala mechanic.  Throughout the game you will be upgrading the spaces on your board, building buildings, and doing all you can to spread your influence.  Be the greatest order of them all before their collapse, and you will be the winner.  Look for this game in September of this year.

Next from TMG is an import in the form of Okey Dokey from famed designer Hisashi Hayashi.  This is a cooperative game of animals trying to put on a show, a music show.  Each player will have a hand of cards and they need to play these cards down in a 5×10 grid.  The difficulty comes from the placement restrictions and the fact your can’t tell anyone what you have, but you can drop hints.  Look for this small game on store shelves in September.

Next is the reprint of the train stock market game, American Rails.  In American Rails you are a wealthy capitalist managing a portfolio of stocks and bonds in six different in game rail companies.  You will be negotiating, trading, and expanding these companies in order to gain the most money.  Whoever is richest at the end will be the winner.  This reprint should be hitting stores in May of this year.

Also coming in May from Capstone Games is the latest edition of Xanadu, a highly interactive card game.  Like a lot of games the object is to gain the most money, but to do that you need to sell buildings.  But to build those buildings you need to send workers to other buildings to gain resources, which you can do on your own cards or your opponents.  You can even sabotage your opponents, making this a rather cutthroat game.

From Z-Man Games we have a new game announced called Valletta that will be coming out in July.  In the game you are building a town in the baroque era, utilizing a deck building mechanic to get you resources and perform actions.  In this game you don’t buy new cards, you build new buildings and you will get new cards that strengthen your deck, pushing you closer to victory.  But like all good deck building type games, at some point you have to turn from resource generating to turning the resources into the points needed to win.  Check out the preview on Z-man’s site to find out more about this new game.

Next is a game coming out very soon, and that is Oktoberfest from Rio Grande Games.  This is a card game all about serving beer to thirsty patrons during Oktoberfest.  There are twelve tents in the game and you will be playing down patrons in those tents trying to buy up the right beer out of the 6 available.  When a tent closes the most recent beer bought there will score, giving the most points to the majority holder of that beer.  All twelve tents will never be closed so you have to time things right to reap the most points and emerge the winner.

Coming soon from Pandasaurus Games we have the latest social deduction game called Red Scare.  This is all about the FBI exposing the communists out to bring down our way of life.  You will have to investigate and accuse those you know and expose their darkest secrets, and maybe you have some secrets of your own!  Look for this game to come out in September of this year.

Finally, also from Pandasaurus Games, is the trick-taking style card game called King’s Life.  In this game the king has a hard life, and so to keep himself from going nuts he alternates his days of royal duties with days of completely goofing off.  It’s your job as part of his court to make sure he is able to both fulfill his duties, and party hard.  Not much else has been said about this game, so we will have to wait for more info as the September release date approaches.

Game Brewer and TMG have started a Kickstarter Campaign to create a european edition of their worker placement game Chimera Station, which completed a successful Kickstarter in October. In Chimera Station, 2-4 players must build a space station in 5 rounds using their alien workers. During a round, players place workers for actions as normal, but can then splice pieces onto their workers, making them more efficient. At the end of the round, workers must be fed. Workers with brains spliced in add points when placed, tentacles gain workers extra resources, claws let you push other workers out of spaces, and  leaves allow workers to feed themselves. Game Brewer is using a BGG poll to decide which languages will be included in the new edition.

The Kickstarter for Chimera Station – Euro Edition continues through April 27, and is expected to deliver in September 2017.

Tasty Minstrel Games has been pumping out games for a number of years now. They’ve been behind such hits as Eminent Domain (via an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign), the US distribution of Orleans, and the popular Scoville (to name only a few). They’ve reported having raised over $2.5 million on Kickstarter to fund 26 individual hobby board gaming projects.

Well, you can now own a piece of the pie. Tasty Minstrel is offering investment opportunities via website Microventures. With a variety of different incentives offered to encourage people to invents TMG has also provided a shap-shot of the compay. Below are some of the perks being offered:

$150: TMG Certificate of Stock Ownership (Cardboard with embedded metal coin, not used for legal purposes)

$400: Two copies of Flip City and Harbour to share with friends (One of the benefits of owning a game company is easily giving gifts to your gamer friends, and TMG wants you to experience this)

$700: Hoodie featuring company mascot, Dargon

$1,000: One in-stock large box game of your choice

$1,500: An additional in-stock large box game of your choice

$2,500: One Deluxified copy of Crusaders after Kickstarter campaign

$5,000: Name included in a thank you with all investors at this level in the first game launched after the fundraise

$10,000: Producer credit on one future game of your choosing

$25,000: Executive Producer credit on three future games of your choosing, a copy of every game currently in the warehouse, and each game released for the next three years

To find out more you can head over to the investment page by clicking here.

Upper Deck is getting ready to release another new game, this time it’s a drafting game called Dungeon Draft.  Not much has been released about it yet but I imagine it will be similar to Lost Legends as you will be drafting cards to outfit your hero with better gear to fight monsters.  The game will come with 200 cards and boasts only a play time of 30 minutes for 2 to 5 players.  Look for more information to come out as the game’s release in September comes closer.

Next is the second big expansion to a hot game, and that’s Orleans: Trade and Intrigue.  This expansion will include “new place tiles, a new “beneficial deeds” game board, a new and challenging set of events, and trade contracts. The “Intrigue” introduces ways to hinder your opponents’ progress or even allow you to take over your opponents’ achievements.”  Look for this expansion to hit stores in September of this year from Tasty Minstrel Games

Last is not a game but dice for use in your games, well, maybe for use in your games.  These are the Polyhero Dice – Warrior Set, dice that are shaped like the different pieces of equipment a warrior would have like gauntlet d10s, a helmet d12, or a sword d6.  They may not be the best rolling dice, but they are highly unique looking dice, and they come in a case that can hold 90 sleeved cards.  Look for these on store shelves soon from Game Salute.

New releases continue to be announced, and this time around we have a game that everyone is looking forward to.  That game is the latest in the legacy style games, Charterstone, from Stonemaier Games and set for release in September of this year.  Charterstone aims to take the legacy system and use it as a way to fashion a truly unique game that once you are done can be played over and over.  Another interesting aspect to this game is that there is no rulebook, you just start playing the game and it will teach you the rules as you go along.  I am very much looking forward to this game, although with tempered enthusiasm after Seafall failed to live up to expectations.

Next is the reprint and update to 5th edition of Alien Frontiers, the dice worker placement game that put Kickstarter on the board game map.  Not much was said about what has changed, but I imagine little errors and updates were made to create this new edition.  Also being released will be the Factions expansion as well as all 7 of the mini expansions for the game.  Look for all of these on store shelves at the end of the year in December.

Another new release to retail is the notoriously difficult video game become board game, Dark Souls.  Currently it’s only the base game getting a release date right now but if you missed the Kickstarter, you will be able to start your Dark Souls collection in April.  I have no doubt that as time goes on, all the expansions sets and such that were unlocked in the Kickstarter will hit retail so we will have to be patient for those.

Next is a much needed reprint, and that is the second edition of Amun-Re, a classic game from well known board game designer, Reiner Knizia.  Tasty Minstrel Games will be publishing this edition and will feature updated art and tweaks/revisions to rules and board from the first edition.  Look for this game to hit store shelves in March, so brush up on those pyramid building skills in the mean time.

Then we have another Kickstarter game hitting retail and that is the wonderfully blue (color not mood) game called Lisboa.  In Lisboa you are the nobles of the city trying to rebuild after getting hit by multiple disasters at once, effectively leveling the city.  You will be building buildings, restarting commerce, and influencing others to re-open the new Lisboa.  Look for this game from Eagle – Gryphon Games on store shelves later this year in June.

After that we have a new expansion for the Tasty Minstrel game Flip City, called Flip City: Wildness.  This expansion takes you out of the city into the great outdoors, where you can further develop your city and offer your residents a way to get away from it all.  This expansion come with 78 new cards, enough that you can play with this expansion by itself, or combine it with the standard game for even more variety.  Look for this on store shelves in March of this year.

And finally, we have a new entry from IDW in the 8-bit inspired Random Encounter series of games called Random Encounter: Seas of the Sea Chicken.  The game is billed as “part poker, part tactical combat” and features all new cards and even some new mechanics compared to the previous game.  However, even with these new changes, the game is still fully compatible with the first game so you will be able to play with one or both of them at the same time.  Look for this game on store shelves in May.

 

[UPDATE: Lisboa was listed as releasing this month when actual date is in June]

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.

coloseum

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.

PRESS RELEASE

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.