Labyrinth The Card Game is essentially a family-weight trick-taking game, based on medieval era card games (but of course, things aren’t always what they seem to be). Players must work with their partner to win hands and claim mastery over the Labyrinth (or at least find their way to the center). There are also more advanced rules that add elements such as having to follow suit (It’s not fair!). The game features 80 tarot-sized cards with original art by Ralph Horsley based on the original character designs of Jim Henson and Brian Froud. No clear indications as to player count, but should be at 4-players based on the game play description.
Jim Henson’s Labyrinth The Card Game is currently available for pre-order from River Horse and should arrive some time this year. More details can be found here. Dance magic, dance!
Stronghold Games is bringing out a new edition of Diamonds, the popular trick-taking game for 2-6 players designed by Mike Fitzgerald. The second edition includes redesigned player cards, redesigned player aids, as well as the Thief mini-expansion. The new player cards have eschewed the black border look in favor of a more traditional, easier to read visual design, while maintaining the splash of color in the middle of the card.
Gameplay remains the same. Each suit (hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades) has a corresponding suit action that triggers when a trick is won, when a player does not follow the suit that was led, and at the end of a round of ten tricks for the player with the most cards of each suit. Players collect diamonds (acrylic crystals, not the suit), first into their showroom and then moving them into their vault. Diamonds can be stolen from a player’s showroom, but not from their vault. At the end of the game, diamonds in showrooms are worth one point and diamonds in vaults are worth two points. The Thief mini-expansion adds a rotating thief token and changes the suit action for clubs. The new suit action allows the player triggering the action to take a diamond from the showroom of the player with the thief token in front of them.
Diamonds second edition is scheduled for a September release, however Gen Con attendees will get an early opportunity to acquire the new edition of Zee Garcia’s #1 card game (as of this Top Ten from 2016).
Corax Games is venturing into something new with their new expansion for Half-Pint Heroes. Half-Pint Heroes: Happy Hour is more than your typical expansion to a trick taking game. While the expansion now accommodates up to 9 players, what makes this expansion unique is the legacy features the expansion adds to the game. The expansion adds predictions to 8 and 9 player games, and those predictions determine which set of stickers the players will receive for the game. Throughout the game, players have opportunities to change the value of the cards and sometimes the rules of the game by affixing the stickers. The changes remain in effect from round to round until the end of the game. Another unique feature with this legacy game is that the stickers are removable so the game can be reset to its original state.
Half-Pint Heroes: Happy Hour plays 2-9 players, ages 9+, in about an hour. Contents include 8 Prediction Cards, 2 betting chips, 50 neon-colored sticker sheets, 5 reference sheets, and rulebook. Look for the game in Essen at SPIEL ’18 and in stores in December 2018.
Here we are with another week of Kickstarters of a wide array from an election game, to a detective game, to a war game, so lets get started. Up first, we have a card game based on an app called Cahoots, and being published by Mayday Games. The game Cahoots is a normal trick taking game, but with a bit of a twist in that there are no follow rules and you score is based on which suit won the trick, not who won the trick. But the question is, which suits will score for you? That is determined by a card you receive at the start of the game and will have three of the six suits on them, and it’s these suits that will score for you. However, you won’t be the only one scoring with those suits, so over the game you will be partnering with different people in order to score the suits on your card. So each round you will play out a total of two cards, and whatever suit had the highest total value will be the winner and be scored that round. After that you will choose some cards to keep, and some cards to remove from the game, shrinking the available card pool. Once all the cards are out of the game, whoever has the most points is the winner. So if this new take on trick taking sounds interesting to you, or you are a fan of the app, check out the Kickstarter page.
Next is our war game entry, coming straight to you from the prolific war game creator DVG, this time as an air dog-fighting card game called Down in Flames: Locked On. In this game you will be flying one, two, or three of dozens of different aircraft of the recent age like the F-15C Eagle or the Sea Harrier FRS1. You will be taking these into battle trying to shoot down the opposing player’s planes through clever use of your missiles. At the heart of this game are the action cards, each with multiple uses from special abilities, to maneuvering, to attacking, and even countering your enemy’s attack. When you attack you will play your card, if your opponent counters with a card you then have the opportunity to counter that card, continuing like this until the final card is played. If you managed to play the final card your attack succeeds, if your opponent, then the attack is canceled. When an attack is successful you will then draw cards based on what you fired to then carry out another attack sequence with those cards. If you succeed there, you have destroyed the enemy craft, and if they are all destroyed you win the game! So if a fast playing, dog-fighting style card game with a healthy dose of real life accuracy is your kind of thing, then check out this Kickstarter today.
Next we have a new detective game from Van Ryder Games called Detective: City of Angels. This game I think is best described as Clue on steroids, with the main difference is that this game is more complex and is done as a one versus all style game. One person is The Chisel, whose sole job is to lead the detectives astray and keep the case from ever being solved. The detectives will be moving around the board, investigating locations and questioning suspects. But here is where it gets tricky, The Chisel will be choosing the responses that he gives from those being question, and he can even outright lie to you. However, if you challenge him on his bluff you can get the truth, revealing much needed information to solve your case, but challenge on a truth and he gets leverage over you to use against you later. You can also bribe a snitch to be able to listen in on this info so even if you aren’t there, you can get some critical info to help you solve your case. Strong arm some suspects, get to the truth, and solve the case before the trail goes cold and you can win the game. You can find out more on the Kickstarter page.
After that is the unusual game of the article, and that is Electioneer, the Hong Kong election board game from Nightdreamer. This game aims to do with the Hong Kong election system what Die Macher did for the German election system, and that is create a great game out of it. This is an area control and resource management type game where you will be going around the various towns and cities trying to secure the most votes. One way to get votes is through strategy cards, which show a number of territories that have some connection to them, like hitting the 12 different districts that are home to higher education institutions to get the college vote. You will also get votes for holding the most influence in different zones on the board, as well as for holding the second most influence. Basically there are a lot of ways to get votes, and this game shows it’s designer’s researching ability because all of these ways to get votes are methods used in actual Hong Kong elections. Will you be able to manage your money well and get enough votes to be elected? Check out the Kickstarter page for more information.
And last but not least, we have a reprint and revamp of a previously Kickstarted game, and that is Endure the Stars from Grimlord Games. This 1.5 version will not only allow new players to be able to acquire this game and it’s many extras, but also improve the game for those who already own it. Endure the Stars itself is a survival horror type game where you are passengers on a colonization ship a year into it’s long journey. However, unauthorized experiments have been conducted to try and engineer a new life-form to explore new planets, but those experiments were discovered and the lifeforms got out, killing everyone in their path. Now people are living in small groups scavenging to survive, and it’s up to your group to try and root out these creatures before they kill you all. Fight back with all sorts of different weapons and ammo, and try to maintain your sanity as you play through the campaign to defeat this evil. So if a sci-fi dungeon crawl game sounds interesting, or if you own the first edition, check out the Kickstarter page today.
Here we go, the ramp up to GenCon is beginning and we are seeing some bigger Kickstarters start to launch, here are some of the notable ones.
First is the 10th anniversary edition of the game Container, now in jumbo size. Container is an interesting game in that you are playing all aspects of the production, delivery, and acquisition of products on a small island. Each round you will decide which goods to produce, then which goods of your opponents you will ship. When you pick goods you will have to pay for them, and the price will be set by that opponent. After the goods make it out to the island you then bid for ships to be able to collect the goods, and then turn those goods into points at the end of the game. This new edition will feature the same gameplay, with the addition of the Investment Bank, but with upsized, deluxe components. The most notable being the large 7″ long plastic ships with containers that fit onto them like actual container ships. So if you enjoy the game, but want something bigger and nicer, check out the Kickstarter page today.
Next up we have a meta game, something you play while playing other games, simply called Gameception. What this card game does is add another layer to your game night with an additional game you play across the entire night. Everyone starts with two cards and each card has some action you might find happening at a game night; like a pet interferes with the game, someone tells another player what to do, or someone is on their device. If the action on your card happens, reveal it, score that card, and then draw a new one. At the end of the night, the winner is the one who scored the most cards. If this games sounds familiar then you are right, a similar type of game can be found called Pretense, but the larger variety of cards and fun stick figure artwork makes this game worthy of a look. Check out the Kickstarter page for more info.
After that is the final expansion to the Heroes Wanted game called Elements of Danger. As you think from the name of the expansion, this one adds Heroes with element based powers to the game. This expansion also adds just lots of new content to the game in new action cards, epic actions, new heroes, and new villains. Overall it adds just more of what you want in this game giving it more variety and increases the amazing number of hero combinations even higher. So if you want to get this last expansion, or to jump in and get the complete game and all expansion, check out the Kickstarter page.
Next, from A-Games is Sakura, a beautiful looking trick taking card game with some twists. On a turn you will be playing two cards, one to each pile in the middle of the table. You will either play a card of a different value but same color, direction the values must go is determined by the yin-yang symbol, or the same value of a different color. This sounds simple but sometimes not always possible, that is where you will use the coins you have to hire workers to manipulate the cards values or position to allow for you to play your cards. If you can’t play on a stack you take those cards and get coins equal to the number of coin cards, but gain points equal to the number of shuriken. Least number of points will be the winner. Check out the Kickstarter page to pledge for your copy.
Last we have another expansion for the Flash Point Fire Rescue game and that is Tragic Events. This is a simple expansion that adds three new characters, Strategist, Suppression Specialist, and Fire Prevention Specialist, and two deck of cards. These decks, Fire and Event, are the crux of the expansion as they take the place of the hot spot aspect in the advanced game, giving you a more unique experience when playing that way. The Fire deck creates more chaos as the fire spreads in random ways, and the Event deck ramps of the difficulty by changing the state of the board, forcing you to adapt. There are also stretch goals being achieved that add in the hard to come by additional POI tokens, as well as event cards to utilize them in new ways. So if you want to expand your Flash Point collection even more, head on over to the Kickstarter page today.
It’s that time again, time to spotlight some fun Kickstarters that have been going on.
First up is something that fits more as a display piece than as a functional board game accessory, even though it CAN be used, called The Tablebreaker. The Tablebreaker is a 4.5″ diameter d20 die made out of solid aluminum and weighing about 5 lbs. They call this The Tablebreaker because a normal die will be about 1/100 of a pound, and bigger metal dice can run into the 1 lb range. I own one of those bigger dice, and having something that weighs five times as much makes me fear for my table if I roll it. I don’t think my table would break, but it would certainly be permanently marked from the Tablebreaker. So if you are looking for a giant metal die to either use or display, or just want to see videos of tables being destroyed by a die, check out the Kickstarter today.
Next up is a worker placement style game with some bag building mixed in called Groves. In Groves you are trying to restore the now formless and forgotten kingdom of Idyllon. To do that you will be building out your grove with all sorts of different trees and using the different spirits to activate those trees or the Tree of Idyll. What workers you get is based on what is in your bag, and each turn you will draw three of those workers to use for the worker placement. Any spirits used on your grove, be they from you or someone else, will go back in your bag. But, any spirits used on the Tree of Idyll are discarded, serving as a way to get unwanted spirits out of your bag. From there it’s just a matter of building your bag right and getting your engine revved up to score dominion points, which are the points you need to win. So if you are interested in this tree themed fantasy game from Letiman Games, check out their Kickstarter page.
After that is a game from Breaking Games with some beautiful art and interesting mechanics, and that is Rise of Tribes. The art for the game is very well done, and the leaders they depict on the player boards look simply amazing and evoke the tribal feel of the game. The game itself is a dice based area control and civilization game where symbol combinations don’t determine your available actions, but they do have the chance to enhance them. How this works is that on your turn you roll two dice, and then put each die on an action space were other dice are already there. The oldest die comes off that space and you perform the action, but if the symbols on the dice there match the action, then you get to do bonus actions as well. This would allow you to do more than just the basic two actions on your turn if you use your dice smartly. You then use these actions to explore new areas, put pieces on the board, and grow your civilization to be the best there is. So if this sounds interesting then check out the Kickstarter page.
Finally we have another entry into the tricking taking plus something else category with Radiant by Tin Shoe Games. Trick taking games plus something else category right now is being occupied by games like Honshu and Trick of the Rails, and this game takes that hybrid idea and runs with it. In Radiant you will draft your hand of cards from a public display, meaning you will know what your opponents are taking and vice versa. From there you will have the opportunity to score sets that you have created in your hand, but be careful, you have to reveal those sets to everyone to score it. From there you starting battling across the board, and battles are decided by a trick taking round with the area you are fighting in determining the trump suit. In the end you get points for areas controlled and the sets you reveal in each round, most points is the winner. So if you are interested in this kind of hybrid area control/tricking taking game, check out their Kickstarter campaign.
Eagle Gryphon Games and Flightless Goat Workshop have teamed up to bring the 13th game in the E.G.G. Series to Kickstarter – Chimera & More. Chimera & More is an update to the 2014 card game Chimera, a shedding and climbing game similar to Tichu or Haggis. 3 or 5 players work in teams to shed their hand of cards by playing tricks of increasing value. Lead is determined by bidding points, which are either gained or lost depending if the lead ends up winning the trick. The leader of a trick defines the type of trick played, such as a single card, a pair, a triple, a sequence of pairs, etc. Subsequent players may add to the trick by playing the same type, but with cards of higher value. The goal is to lose all of your cards, while collecting the specific cards with point values. Chimera & More adds interesting team combinations, bidding for lead and less dependence on your partner’s skill, to the base model of shedding and climbing.
The Kickstarter campaign for Chimera & More continues through May 8, and is expected to deliver in October 2017.
Wizkids is upping their board game catalog with a new release each month starting in the month of February. In February they will be releasing their big name title, Dungeons & Dragons: Assault of the Giants, in both a standard unpainted version and premium painted version. In this game you will take control of a giant and attempt to seize control of all giantkind by attacking settlements to score points and secure important resources, like food, treasure, ore, and runes. The game will also have some giant sized minis to go with it, with the tallest one’s standing 5″ tall, so expect this game to have some serious table presence. Look for this game on store shelves in February.
Next up is a small, cooperative card game called The Banishing, where you are a group of wizards trying to seal away the undead horde before it’s too late. On your turn you will be taking cards into you hand in an effort to complete different melds to cast, putting you a step closer to finishing the ritual of banishment. If you can seal them away before they manage to take you out, you win, so watch each other’s backs and press forward to victory. Look for this on store shelves in March.
After that is an area control game called Tower of London, where you are using your beefeaters (guards) to get majorities in different areas of the tower to score points and collect ravens. Play is simple with you only playing two cards on your turn, first to determine what location you are sending your guard to, and the second to trigger an ability based on his perspective. At the end of each round you will score different areas of the tower, and if you have the most points at the end of three rounds you will be the winner. That is, unless someone collects seven ravens, in that case the game would end immediately and they would win. Look for this game to be released in April.
Last is a new trick taking card game called Tournament at Camelot, where you are knights competing in a tournament to be the best. Each round you will play a trick and at the damage will be doled out based on the cards that were played, and if someone is eliminated then the game ends. But don’t despair if you are in last, there are godsend cards and companion cards that can help you turn things around. Whoever has the most health when someone is finally eliminated is the winner. This will be on store shelves in May.
Renegade Games has partnered with the Finnish publishing company Lautapelit.fi to bring to the american market Honshu, a city building card game. But this game isn’t like other city building games, and this is because the main mechanic of the game is trick taking and then using the cards from the trick to build your city. The selection order and what cards will be used to build your cities is determined by the trick with the winner picking first, and the available cards being the ones played that round. Cards will have many different types of terrain on them like forest, lake, fallow, or even a factory of some sort. If you manage to connect a factory to the resource it needs you will get a resource cube, which you can then use to boost your card value when playing a later trick. At the end of 12 rounds you will count up points, forest and lakes are straight points, cities score based on the largest one you have, and each supplied factory will score you points as well. Most points is the winner!
This game reminds me a bit of the Trick of the Rails game in that it uses the base of a trick taking game, but then uses the winner of that trick to spring board you to another level of gameplay. I am looking forward to this hitting stores in the near future, you can read the press release below for more information.
Renegade Game Studios and Lautapelit.fi to release Honshu in North America
San Diego, CA (Nov. 17th, 2016) — Renegade Game Studios™, the premier publisher of original games has partnered with Lautapelit.fi, a leading Finnish publishing company, to release a Honshu, a city building card game, in North America.
After a successful launch at Internationale Spieltage in Essen, there has been increasing demand for the title in the American market. Honshu is a map-building card game set in feudal Japan. Players are lords and ladies of noble houses seeking new lands and opportunities for fame and fortune.
One game of Honshu lasts twelve rounds, and each round is divided into two phases. First, map cards are played in a trick, and the player who played the highest valued card gets to pick first from those cards played. Then the players use the map cards picked to expand their personal maps. Each player must expand their personal maps to maximize their scoring possibilities. Manipulating your position in the player order is crucial for mastering Honshu.
“We are always on the lookout for games that are incredibly easy to learn but offer a deep and fulfilling experience. Honshu fits this description perfectly. ” says Renegade President Scott Gaeta. “We are excited to bring this elegant game to our fans in North America thanks to the wonderful team at Lautapelit.fi.”
Look for Honshu at friendly local game stores in North America and online. Honshu takes about 30-40 minutes to play and is for 2-5 players ages 8+. You can visit: www.renegadegames.com for more information about our games and the designers we work with.