The base game is set in 1940’s Los Angeles where players take on the role of LAPD Homicide detectives as they are taken along a narrative-driven experience and attempt to solve 9 different cases. Each detective is competing to be the first to solve the case. However, one player is The Chisel who is attempting to misdirect the players! If you want a cooperative experience, there is a mode for that as well.
Detective: Smoke and Mirrors adds 4 new cases to the game (originally 3 but the stretch goal was reached). These cases are more complex and challenging than the cases from the base game with new mechanics, new types of cards, and new requirements to solve the case! Instead of just identifying the guilty suspect, the murder weapon, and the motive, players will now also have to identify each additional accomplice that was involved as well as where the next crime could take place.
For more information, check out their Kickstarter campaign here.
Last year Van Ryder Games released Season 1 of their Graphic Novel Adventures, a series of graphic novels with a variety of themes and storylines which blend a “choose your own adventure” style reading experience with puzzles, hidden numbers, and challenges. In October 2019, Van Ryder Games will release Season 2 of this series.
Season 2 will include Sherlock Holmes & Moriarty: Associates, Sherlock Holmes: The Challenge of Irene Adler, Pirates: The Great Chase, Pirates: The City of Skulls, and Mystery.
In Sherlock Holmes & Moriarty: Associates, you will be able to not only play as the classic Holmes & Watson duo, but will also have a chance to play as their arch nemesis Moriarty (under peculiar circumstances) to question suspects and solve cases.
In Sherlock Holmes: The Challenge of Irene Adler, you will have the chance to either play solo or head-to-head against another player to either choose the role of Irene Adler, the new detective in town competing with the Baker Street Boys for business, or Sherlock Holmes. Either way, you will be using your wits and cunning deductive techniques to prove that you are London’s greatest detective of all time.
In Pirates: The Great Chase, you will have a chance to choose one of three different pirates with different stats to try and find the prisoner that has escaped your ship and is swimming toward a nearby island, all while keeping your eyes peeled for hidden objects and treasures along the way. Then, in Pirates: City of Skulls, you’ll continue your adventure by exploring a bustling pirate town and unlock the secrets within.
In Mystery, you will be playing the role of an aspiring super hero trying to prove your worth by undergoing trials in order to join the Legion of Champions, the famous super hero group.
For more information on Season 2 of Graphic Novel Adventures, visit Van Ryder Games’ official page here.
Siege Storm: SiegeMode by designers Kamil ‘Sanex’ Cieśla and Marcin Świerkot is a competitive battle card game in a fantasy world, meant to be “a game that feels like a CCG, but that is more accessible and doesn’t have the ‘Pay to Win’ aspects of the CCG model.” A successful 2018 Kickstarter project, this game has distilled a head to head card game to its very essence, with only one card type, simple and intuitive play, and combos galore. Each card can be used 3 ways: it can be sacrificed for mana, the card action can be used, or the card can be deployed onto a track for future use. SiegeMode supports 1v1, team play, or co-op/solo play with a specialized AI deck. Awaken Realms Lite also has support for organized play, and plans for future expansions.
Bees: The Secret Kingdom by Kamil ‘Sanex’ Cieśla is a beautiful, family weight card game “light on rules but featur[ing] interactive gameplay suitable for just about anyone.” In Bees, 2-6 players choose between generating honey and playing a flower card to collect pollen. Playing cards for resources allows all players to collect, however the active player gains the biggest benefit. Bees has 2 different play modes, one for families and small children, and one for more competitive play. Van Ryder Games president A. J. Porfirio quipped “Like a bee to the flower, customers will be attracted by the beauty of the game, but the sweet gameplay is what will keep them coming back.”
Hostage Negotiator is a popular single player game created by Van Ryder Games and designer A. J. Porfirio in 2015. In Hostage Negotiator, players use card play to manipulate dice rolls, trying to diffuse the threat of a hostage situation or collect conversation points from the abductor. These points are then used to buy new cards, all the while trying to free the hostages by reducing threat to 0, or through special cards. The Crime Wave expansion followed in 2017, and many Abductor packs added cards to the game. Now all of the previously released content can be combined into an overarching campaign with Hostage Negotiator: Career on Kickstarter. Career simulates 10 years in the career of your character, adding personal and professional stresses, awards of merit, and promotion through the police ranks. Career even adds legacy-like elements, such as secret packets, advanced skills and hidden cards. For fans of this classic solo game, Hostage Negotiator: Career is a beautiful way to turn the game into a full 10 year campaign. The Kickstarter campaign for Hostage Negotiator: Career, including purchase options for all previous content, continues through May 17, and the game is expected to deliver in March of 2020.
Van Ryder Games have announced a new Graphic Novel Adventures brand label under which their graphic novel game books will be distributed. Makaka Editions in France have produced these books in the French language. Van Ryder Games have been granted the English distribution rights and will be translating, producing, and distributing the English versions in the USA and Canada. In these books the player is the hero where each book has a different theme and different game play. The production of the Van Ryder Games editions of these books will be funded via Kickstarter in March 2018.
The Big Score is a new board game Van Ryder Games will be releasing in 2018. It’s a competitive game for 1-6 players where each player is a crime boss in a fictional city. The game plays in 30-60 minutes depending on player count. Players get a crew together to pull off small heists around the city before going for a big heist at the Centennial City bank in a push-your-luck style of play where you could end up very rich or behind bars. The game also features a challenging solo-play mode designed by A.J. Porfirio (of Hostage Negotiator fame). They expect to fund the game via Kickstarter with a project launch date of February 20th, 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.
While a certain project just launched by CMON will be getting most of the attention, we still want to highlight some other good ones that might be worth backing.
First up is the reprint and re-theming by Indie Boards & Cards of the popular flip and write game, Avenue, now called Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama. How to play the game remains largely unchanged, where you flip a card to see what kind of road you can draw, and then drawings it on your personal map. Some of the changes being made to the game are the inclusion of double sided dry erase boards, meaning you no longer have to worry about running out of maps. Also being included are components for a 7th player of the game and decree cards which offer more variability when you play the game. Overall if you like this kind of game, or just missed out on Avenue the first time around, check out this Kickstarter today.
Next we have an expansion for the cowboy saloon building game called Saloon Tycoon: The Ranch Expansion from Van Ryder Games. Saloon Tycoon is all about building up your own saloon to be the best in the west, but others want to achieve that goal as well. You will take turns adding to your saloon, trying to satisfy you secret goals as well as public ones. Attracting citizens will help you out, but be careful of the outlaws, they just want to make trouble. The Ranch Expansion adds more tiles for you to build, cows and horses to wrangle, more characters, and four different mini expansion that are Kickstarter exclusive. You will also be able to add on the base game and the Boomtown expansion to expand your game even further. So if this sounds interesting to you, check out the Kickstarter.
Following that we have a new party game being done by Grail games called Hang 12. Hang 12 is a personal trivia type game where the active player will pick a beach to surf, and that beach determine what kind of trivia question they have to answer. Some of the question are “I have seen all the Star Wars movies”, or “I have eaten caviar before” and so on. The active player secretly answers either true or false and then everyone else guesses to see what the right answer was. If you are right you get to take the next level of point card, if you are wrong then you lose your current point card and start over. What makes the scoring interesting is that it’s a bit of push your luck because as you get more answers right in a row, you point card increases faster and faster, but get a question wrong and you lose it. Alternatively, if you don’t want to risk the points you play the surf card to ride the wave in and bank the points, moving closer to the 24 point victory. If this surf themed party game sound like something you want to try, check out the Kickstarter now.
After that we have a new cooperative game being designed by Chris Batarlis and Steve Avery called Metal Dawn. The game essentially has you playing out the Terminator movie before the robots have fully taken over, where you play agents fighting back against the machines. The game plays out like an area control game where you have to deploy your characters to different zones in Washington DC before they get overrun. You will have to find gear and gain intel to use against the constant onslaught of robots in order to turn the tide and secure the zones. Then you will have to use some of that intel on DOMINUS, the satellite that took over all the robotic enemies and started the rebellion. Once you bring him down to Earth he turns into a massive robot menace that once you defeat that, will finally end the robot uprising. Hopefully your skills are up to par and you have good teamwork, because DOMINUS will not go easy on you. Check out the Kickstarter today, and if you upgrade to the deluxe edition you also get rules to play the game competitively as well.
Last, and by certainly no means least, we have the expansion to the popular character creation game, Roll Player: Monsters and Minions by Thunderworks Games. Roll Player has you rolling dice to give your character stats, learn skills, gain traits, and equip them with the best armor and weapons you can manage. Roll Player: Monsters and Minions expands on that by adding more of what you want, more classes, more races, and more market items, including a brand new item type, scrolls. But what makes this expansion great is that now you take this character you crafted, and put them up against monsters like bugbears, goblins, vampires, and dragons. Hopefully the character you created is up the snuff or he may be taken out. You can check out the Kickstarter here, which is well past funded and blown through many stretch goals.
Van Ryder Games has listed several projects they are working on for 2017-2018.
Detective: City of Angels is a new big box noir style detective game set in Los Angeles in the 1940s. Players compete to solve crimes in this board game designed by Evan Derrick (Dark Moon) with art by Vincent Dutrait. Detective: CoA will be a Kickstarter project with a launch estimate of Summer/Fall 2017.
Saloon Tycoon will be getting an expansion via Kickstarter in Spring 2017. The Ranch Expansion adds a new player board, tiles, animals, and new characters.
The Big Score will have players completing small heists to build up to the biggest heist of them all. This new heist game by Chase Williams and Jason Mowery uses drafting and push your luck mechanisms, and is expected to start on Kickstarter in 2017.
Today, Van Ryder Games will launch its 4th Kickstarter project, Saloon Tychoon. This game for 2-4 players is light-medium weight, and is designed by the Building the Game podcast’s co-host, Robert Couch.
In this tile-laying game, players are vying to build the best saloon in town by playing tiles on their player boards. Using cubes as supports, players may place new tiles on top of old ones, creating a unique aesthetic as players build new rooms onto their saloons. These rooms include poker rooms, laundry rooms, stables, jails, and more.
Van Ryder will be utilizing a new concept called HUBS that “aims to save backers money on shipping by having many backers from one area pick up their games from a central HUB. It is completely optional, but for those trying to minimize their expenses, it will be a very welcomed option.”