Here is the second and final part of interviews and sneak peeks of what I was able to see at the GAMA Trade Show. Hopefully I’ve saved the best for last.
Frank West, designer of City of Kings, and one heck of a guy, discussed City of Games’ upcoming title Rising Blades, a competitive worker placement / tile placement game with RPG elements. In Rising Blades, players add tiles to a growing map each round, in which they can move, fight monsters and develop their unique asymmetric characters. Expect Rising Blades to hit Kickstarter at the end of the year.
Czech Games Edition (CGE) showed the unique cooperative deduction word game Letter Jam from designer Ondra Skoupý. In Letter Jam, players receive a set of facedown letters delivered from an app, and the goal is to deduce these letters. Each player places one of these cards facing the other players in a style akin to Hanabi, so that you can see everyone’s secret letter except your own. Players then make words with the letters, giving clues as to what other players’ hidden letters may be.
Forbidden Games confirmed an expansion for the popular auction stock market game Raccoon Tycoon by designer Glenn Drover is in the works. The expansion should include a 6th player, more buildings and a new railroad type.
Stephen Buonocore, the evil genius behind Stronghold Games was kind enough to reveal some further details about the 5th and final big expansion to their evergreen hit Terraforming Mars, Terraforming Mars; Turmoil. Turmoil, the only expansion to be released in 2019, will be labeled as an “expert” expansion, meant for more experienced players. In short, this expansion involves politics. Mars has established a Martian Senate, composed of several parties, each with its own agenda. The Red party is interested in keeping Mars pristine and untouched, the Green party wants full terraforming, the Kelvinists want more heat, etc. Players can place delegates, trying to gain control of parties, or even the entire senate. A face-up line of Event Cards show what influences each party will have over the next several turns. Expect Terraforming Mars:Turmoil to hit Kickstarter in April/May.
Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games was a recent guest on the Board Game Gumbo podcast when he was asked by a viewer if Terraforming Mars was going to receive the Legacy treatment. Stephen confirmed that Jacob and Issac Fryxelius are 100% working on the Legacy version of Terraforming Mars. Now, Stephen cautions that the project is still very early in the works and it might not be seen until 2020 or 2021. What a legacy game of Terraforming Mars looks like is anyone’s guess, but the generations will undoubtedly have a more personal feel. We will just have to wait and see.
Stronghold Games has begun taking pre-orders on more than a handful of games due out in the next couple of months.
Two of the new games available for pre-order now, AuZtralia and Terraforming Mars: Colonies, were reported in Dice Tower News recently. Bryan Drake also sat down with AuZtralia’s designer, Martin Wallace, to learn more about the game. Stronghold Games has proudly added AuZtralia to its Great Designer Series. Terraforming Mars: Colonies is the fourth expansion to the hugely popular, Terraforming Mars. Only 500 copies of Terraforming Mars: Colonies will be available for pre-order, so act fast.
Also available for pre-order are two Friedmann Friese games, Fortune and Fool!
Fool! is a card-shedding and trick-taking game where player attempt to get rid of their cards without playing the lowest card. The player who plays the lowest card has to sit out the next trick, losing the opportunity to get rid of a card. Players score negative points for cards left in their hand, and positive points if they got rid of all the cards in their hand, unless they play the lowest card in the last hand which earns them nothing. Fool! plays 4-8 players, ages 8+, in about 15 minutes.
Fortune is the forth game in the Fast Forward Series and uses the Fable Game system. These games do not require an understanding of the rules beforehand. Instead, the cards are pre-sorted and the rules of the game are explained on the cards as they are played. In Fortune, the player with the highest score wins the game, but gaining the highest numbers may not be enough. The trick is to get the right bonuses for the big payoff. Fortune plays 3-5 players, ages 10+, in about 15 minutes.
Calimala was originally published last year Blackfire Entertainment in both German and English editions, but it may have been difficult to find here in North America. Stronghold is republishing the English only edition this year. In Calimala, players are members of the guild of cloth finishers and merchants in Republic of Florence during the Late Middle Ages. Players assign their employees to produce and trade cloth and gain prestige by delivering their good, contributing to the construction of buildings, and sponsoring artwork. The player with the most prestige at the end of the game wins. Calimala plays 3-5 players in 45-75 minutes.
Lastly, Stronghold Games is republished Kanban: Automotive Revolution as a Limited Edition Kanban: Driver’s Edition. Stronghold has also included Kanban, designed by renowned designer Vital Lacerda of Vinhos, The Gallerist, and Lisboa fame, in their Great Designer Series. In Kanban, players are managers in an automotive factory seeking to impress the factory manager by establishing the most efficient assembly line. With each promotions come more capabilities to be more efficient. The players with the higher productivity points, demonstrating the most effective use of workhours, at the end of the game is the winner. Kanban plays 2-4 players, ages 12+, in 90-120 minutes. Stronghold does not plan to reprint this game again in the future!
Several years ago, Martin Wallace brought us A Study in Emerald, a game based on the story by Neil Gaiman about the secret war by the Restorationists to free mankind from forces of the Olds Ones. It was a game that blended the worlds of Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft set in 1882 Europe. Now that the Old One have been banished from the northern hemisphere, where did they go?
Fifty years later, the Old Ones are awakening in the Outback of Australia! In AuZtralia, players are adventurers and explorers uncovering the riches and resources and colonizing in an 1930’s alternate reality Australian Outback. Players build ports, construct railways, mine and farm for food. Every action costs time, and at some point in time during the game, the Old Ones are awaken and become a player in the game attacking the players’ settlements. Players will need to recruit military forces to protect the settlements, and they might need to work together to defeat the most dangerous Old Ones. Players earn victory points from their farms, defeating Old Ones, and from their personalities. Old Ones also score victory points by blighting farms and how many are left at the end of the game. When all the time points are spent (or a player port is destroyed), the game ends and the player (or Old One) with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.
AuZtralia is a military/economic/adventure game for 1-4 players, ages 13+, and take about 30 minutes per person to play.
Also coming in October is the latest expansion to Terraforming Mars. Terraforming Mars: Colonies expands the game playing world by adding new places to build colonies. While those places may not be suitable for terraforming, they can produce much needed resources and income. Build colonies on distant moons (even in the clouds of Jupiter) and send your trade fleets to them to build your resources to support your terraforming operations on Mars.
Terraforming Mars: Colonies requires the base game to be played but can be played with any of the expansions. Contents include 49 project cards, 5 corporation cards, 11 colony tiles, a reference tiles, trade fleets tiles, 8 markers, and 8 trade fleets.
Mars is hot… literally. Most of the time, except for when it is really cold. But it is also hot as a theme in boardgaming right now, and Terraforming Mars is the leading the pack. Since its release in 2016, it launched straight to the top of the BoardGameGeek rankings and has stayed there, currently sitting in the #4 position amongst all other games. With that popularity comes expansions, and a move out and away from the surface of Mars. Terraforming Mars: The Colonies will be the fourth explansion for the game and will expand out into the rest of the solar system to put space stations in the void and on the moons of other planets. It follows the other Terraforming Mars games and will play with 1-5 players in 2 hours. It is currently scheduled to release 2018-10-15 with no word on if or when pre-orders will be available.
The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design (AAGAD) award the Origins Awards at the Origins Game Fair each June. Nominees are picked in March and the academy votes on the games in the different categories based on excellence in game design. Well, the winners for the 2018 Origins Awards have been announced! Let’s see who they are!
Congratulations to Cephalofair Games as Best Board Game, Fan Favorite and Game of the Year goes to Gloomhaven! As Best Card Game and Fan Favorite we have both Renegade Game Studios’ Ex Libris and Hero Realms by White Wizard Games. For Best Miniatures Game and Fan Favorite we have WarHammer 40,000 (8th edition) by Games Workshop. Best Collectible Game and Fan Favorite goes to Star Wars Destiny: Awakenings Booster by Fantasy Flight Games. As for Best Family Game and Fan Favorite we have Azul by Plan B Games. The Best Role-Playing Game Supplement and Fan Favorite is Dungeons & Dragons Xanathar’s Guide to Everything by Dungeons and Dragons. As for Best Role-Playing Game we have Adventures in Middle Earth – Cubicle 7, and finally, we have the Fan Favorite Role-Playing Game winner: Starfinder– by Paizo.
Congratulations to these amazing game designers and the hard work they have put into making the games that have become staples in our homes and board game cafes around the world!
It’s April and that means taxes are due, baseball is starting, and more importantly The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast has launched its annual Kickstarter campaign. If you are not already familiar with the fine folks at The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast, they are a member of the Dice Tower network and produce 5 full length podcasts per month covering board games, role playing games and miniatures gaming, as well as producing audio dramas, video blog, live streams and more throughout the year. This year, The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast would like to add periodic programming specials to its lineup, providing its audience a massive amount of content each year.
Like all Kickstarters, there are a mutliple pledge levels to pick up a variety of fun things ranging from pins, challenge coins, bottle openers, promo cards, the Grand Adventures Book, to membership in the Cabal. The Grand Adventures Book, written by cabalist Jamie Keagy, is a short guide to better role playing, and is available in print or ebook. The promo card pack includes promo cards for Empires of the Void II, Space Freaks, Terraforming Mars, Evolution, and Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar! The promo card pack includes promos featuring The Secret Cabal in Brook City, Detective: City of Angels, and Bottom of the 9th.
The campaign runs until May 4th so head over to the Kickstarter page and check out all the content the campaign will support and learn more promos and goodies backers can pick up for supporting the podcast.
The multiple-award winning game by FryxGames, Terraforming Mars, will soon make its digital debut on Steam, Android, and iOS platforms according to Asmodee Digital. The story takes place in the 2400s where humans are beginning to die out because earth is overpopulated, and natural resources are running out. Humans have no other choice but to colonize planet Mars to ensure their survival.
“Play as a corporation sponsored by the World Government with the mission of terraforming Mars. Increasing the temperature and oxygen levels, creating oceans and forests and building infrastructure will all play a part in your mission. Compete with rival corporations to contribute the most towards making Mars habitable and triumph. Because, while the Red Planet may be the ideal candidate, it doesn’t have everything that is needed to support life. The terraforming race has begun!”
Early Access for Terraforming Mars, digital edition, will soon be available on Steam for the PC and will run on Windows 7, 8, and 10. No mention of Mac support on the Steam website yet. To join the early access, make sure to add the game to your wishlist.
The game will support several modes including:
- Full single-player like the original game
- Single-player against the AI
- Pass-and-play local multiplayer
- Online multiplayer
More content is expected to be released after launch. The digital version is developed by LuckyHammers and published by Asmodee Digital. Expect the game to be release in Q2 of 2018.
Terraforming Mars has grown to be a very popular game in the hobby, currently sitting at number 5 on Board Game Geek’s rankings. The game has come a long way with the content that it has, seeing players take control of corporations who are trying to turn Mars into the coziest place they can (as well as satisfying their special interests). However these corporations were really just starting resources cards that also detailed some bonuses or special actions unique to them as well as a bit of flavor text to add in a dash of theme, but they were hardly anything more compelling. That is soon to change as, coming this Summer, the newest expansion for Terraforming Mars will bring more theme and power to each corporation. As announced by Fryxgames and shared by Stronghold Games shortly after:
“Prelude is a small expansion that lets you kickstart your terraforming! It focuses on the early stages of Mars colonization and tells the background story of the corporations. When choosing corporation and starting hand, each player also draws 4 Prelude cards, and chooses 2 of them to boost their corporation. The expansion opens up powerful starting combos and increases player asymmetry.”
For those that love Terraforming Mars, this one appears to be a no-brainer. Expansions which just add more player power at setup tend to be exceptionally painless to integrate and often don’t require a lot of additional explanation, and in my experience they are typically the most sought after as well. While it will only be a handful of months until this expansion releases, there will also be a pre-release at Origins in June. For more information about this expansion release and future Terraforming Mars content, please check out Fryxgames and Stronghold Games websites.
2018 marks the 14th season for The Dice Tower and it’s network of gaming reviews, news, and convention coverage. The Dice Tower, and Dice Tower News by extension, has grown each year to bring more content at increasing quality, but only due to the generosity of you – all of our viewers and readers! It is because of you that we are able to do what we love and give as much as we can back to the community. So it is once again time that we humbly ask for your support with the 2018 fundraising campaign.
Of course, as with years past, the campaign provides a ton of incentives in the form of gaming gear, promos, and exclusives! There are decals, bumper stickers, and coasters of the new caricatures, and more dice than ever including a metal pair with the logo. Promos for some of the hottest games of 2017 including Downforce, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Aeon’s End, Terraforming Mars, Dragon Castle, Alien Artifacts, Dinosaur Island, and so much more! There are also excellent stretch goals that bring more content from the crew, like more top 100 videos, live playthroughs, and also the potential for a twitch channel for live-streaming.
There is always the option to donate however much you want regardless of perks, as any and all support is greatly appreciated. If you’ve ever benefited from a review, preview, top 10 list, news article, or convention coverage, please consider supporting this Kickstarter campaign. On behalf of all of us in the Dice Tower Network, we value your many years of viewership and patronage, and we hope to continue serving you great content in the years to come. Thank you!
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