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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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)
In the newest Tasty Minstrel Games newsletter, Gen Con attendees are given exciting information on Bomb Squad. Bomb Squad will be launching on Kickstarter soon but demos will be available next week at Gen Con. TMG can be found in booth 359.
Bomb Squad is a cooperative game where players must disarm bombs and save hostages as they race against the clock. It features real-time play, hidden card information, and limited communication.
Demo # 137 – In room 137, TMG will have 14 tables of demos running. The list of games will include: City Hall, Eminent Domain, Belfort, Ground Floor, II Vecchio, and Rialto.
There will also be a Harbour Coloring Contest.
TMG will have prototypes of the following games: Aquasphere, Scoville, Battlecruisers, Eminent Domain: Microcosm & Exotica, Harbour, and 3-4 Headed Monster. These can be found in room 137.
Tasty Minstrel Games posted the concept art for Aquasphere, a new game from designer Stefan Feld that should be hitting Kickstarter soon.
Eric Martin, with BoardGameGeek, posted pictures from Origins here.
If you haven’t heard about this worker placement game yet:
The game board in AquaSphere has two main areas: A research station comprised of six sectors in which your scientist conducts experiments and a headquarters where your engineer supervises preparation of the bots. During each of the four game rounds, you take several turns, and on each turn you either:
Use your engineer in the headquarters to program a bot; each round you can choose from three of the seven actions.
Have your scientist bring a bot to a sector to perform an action.
Through actions such as improving your lab, sending out submarines, collecting crystals, and examining octopuses, you expand the abilities of your team or gather knowledge points, which are necessary to win. Additional challenges result from the limited size of your lab, which is your personal stock; you can increase the size of your lab, which makes life easier, but this costs valuable time.
AquaSphere is a challenging game of strategy and tactics with different paths to victory that requires planning in advance as well as skillful use of short-term opportunities.
Harbour is an easy to learn light-hearted fantasy board game from Tasty Minstrel Games and designer Scott Almes for 2-4 players that packs a punch in 20-30 minutes for only $20. Are you ready for the rising tides of Harbour?
HOOK – Easy to learn, easy to teach, still satisfying LINE – The decisions of a heavier game in under half an hour SINKER – Special player powers, innovative market, tons of replay ability
In Harbour, players are ambitious entrepreneurs in a light-hearted Fantasy port city. They collect and exchange goods, make shipments, manipulate the market, and purchase buildings as the waterfront community quickly develops.
The closing date on Kickstarter is July 16, 2014, the current pledged amount is $82,601 and the funding goal for the project is $15,000. Get your copy for just $20. Estimated delivery: Mar 2015.
Harbour is a small game chuck full of fantasy. It’s a euro-game featuring worker placement and set collection tactics that is being Kickstarted by Tasty Minstrel Games (with such hits as Eminent Domain). The game is being called easy-to-learn, full of decisions, plenty of player powers, and quick to play. Harbour is set in a fantasy world where you have goblins and dwarves all vying to make a living in this Harbour town. It’s got some pretty neat artwork, is light-hearted and claims to play in about 20 minutes. You can visit their Kickstarter page to download and read the rules.
Initially funding on Kickstarter back in February, raising $106,002 from 2,434 backers, Tasty Minstrel Games will release the grid movement, set collection, farming game Scoville in November. Scoville is designed by Ed Marriot (Dam It!).
The town of Scoville likes it hot! Very hot! That means they love their peppers – but they’re too busy eating them to grow the peppers themselves. That’s where you come in.
You’ve been hired by the town of Scoville to meet their need for heat. Your role as an employee of Scoville is to crossbreed peppers to create the hottest new breeds. You’ll have to manage the auctioning, planting, and harvesting of peppers, then you’ll be able to help the town by fulfilling their orders and creating new pepper breeds. Help make the town of Scoville a booming success! Let’s get planting!
A round of Scoville consists of a blind auction, which determines player order, a planting phase, a harvesting phase, and a fulfillment phase. Each round, the players plant peppers in the fields. Throughout the game, the available opportunities for crossbreeding increase as more peppers are planted. When harvesting, players move their pawn through the fields, and whenever they move between two planted fields, they harvest peppers. If, for example, they harvest between fields of red and yellow peppers, they crossbreed those and harvest an orange pepper. Harvested peppers are then used to fulfill the town’s peppery desires!