video games

Shovel Knight: Dungeon Duels designed by Jonathan Phillips-Bradford has come to Kickstarter from Panda Cult Games in close cooperation with Yacht Club Games who is the creator of the video game this is based on! This 1-4 player competitive game aims to capture the feel of the slide-scrolling nature of the video game as players each take on a different colored Shovel Knight and attempt to defeat enemies while trying to obtain the most treasure by the end of the game!

The game features a side-scrolling dungeon board that shifts every round as players jump over spike pits, purchase equipment to improve your knight, and battle bosses utilizing A.I. decks.

Components of the core box include 4 different colored Shovel Knights miniatures, 4 boss miniatures, 28 monster miniatures, 16 dungeon tiles, 1 tile tray, 16 potion vat/spike space cards, 32 boss A.I. cards, 12 engraved dice, 100 tokens, and cards for every equipment, hero, boss, and monster.

For more information, check out their Kickstarter campaign here.

Bad Crow Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign bringing the video game series to the table! Company of Heroes Board Game is a 2-4 player game (there is a solo and co-op campaign as an add on option) that utilizes strategy to outmaneuver your opponents just like what the video game series offers.

Company of Heroes Board Game is advertised as a real-time-strategy game but has the option of playing as a turn-based game as you attempt to build your economy to grow your army, participate in a mostly diceless combat system, upgrade your troops by investing in them, and choose your commander to compliment your play-style.

Components in the core set include 32 vehicles, 150 infantry figures, 55 custom dice, 44 figure trays, 120 acrylic markers, and 12 production tiles.

For more information, visit the Kickstarter campaign page here

Now on Kickstarter from Sanuk Games is “Mythic Battles: Pantheon” a turn-based strategy game for PC and consoles, based on the popular board game.

Designed to be played online with other players or alone versus AI, players will become an Olympic God and face off against monsters and fighters.

Players can choose from four different battlefields, select their God and recruit their army, with 4 Gods, 5 Heroes, 4 Monsters and 6 Troops to choose from.

There are various levels of the Kickstarter and some stretch goals planned.

You can find out more here.

The Akron Art Museum is looking for video games and table top games from developers, students and game-creators for Open World Arcade, a day-long event held at the museum on Saturday, Dec. 7, as part of their “Open World: Video Games and Contemporary Art” exhibition.

Submissions will be accepted from March 15 through June 15. Games can be entered here and will be judged by a panel based on novelty, professional polish, aesthetics, quality of game experience and “wow factor.” Games don’t need to have art-related subject matter or an art theme. 

Selected games will be featured at the Open World Arcade from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The exhibit will open on Oct. 19 and run through Feb. 2, 2020, and will feature paintings, sculptures, animations, video games, video game modifications and artworks in other media.

Jasco Games has created a Kickstarter Campaign for Street Fighter: The Miniatures Game, based on the immensely popular video game series. This new 2-6 player, card driven fighting game features a slew of beautiful pre-painted miniatures, in a new larger “collector’s scale”, ranging from 65-85mm on a 58mm base. This size will become Jasco’s standard for their new line of games using Street Fighter’s Universal Tactics System. The game itself is card driven, with each fighter having it’s own deck of action cards. Players draw 2 cards on their turn, move on the board up to their movement value, then take 2 actions. Actions are simple and include move, draw, or play a card. Defense choices are simplified as well: players either block or counter-attack, using battle dice to determine their results. As players roll dice and play cards, a power meter accumulates allowing those super and ultra combos that made the original video game so popular. Street Fighter: The Miniature Game will include at least 6 fighters in the core box (more are coming through stretch goals), 4 detailed square-grid maps, impressive 3D terrain, player boards and nearly 500 cards. A Boss Expansion includes components needed to fight M. Bison and Akuma. Add-On buys are available for 16 more fighters from Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter V, Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter III 3rd Strike.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Street Fighter continues through May 4, and delivery is expected in March 2019.

The folks over at MMOBro apparently play a lot of board games as well as video games, because they decided to put together a list of board games that give a similar feel to popular MMO games.  Some notable examples being if you like Farmville, you might like Cottage Garden for the simplified farming and aiming to maximize your points.  Another popular pairing they make is EVE Online to Twilight Imperium 3, because both are space games that take place on a galactic scale with massive battles, researching of alien tech, and so much more.  They even make the obvious pairing of League of Legends to Mechs vs. Minions, mainly due to the same game company doing both games, but also because they do have a similar feel when playing.  So if you are looking to bring in your MMO playing friends or are an MMO player looking to try some new games, head on over to MMOBro to check out their pairings.

halo fleet

Spartan Games’ recent release of Halo: Fleet Battles is a miniatures game designed to appeal to both new miniatures gamers and miniature game veterans alike.  Based on the popular video game series Halo, this game’s initial line of products includes the currently-available core set, The Fall of Reach, and supplementary expansion material including 2 Commander Packs for the Covenant and the UNSC, a dice pack and several Upgrade Boxes, all to be available soon.

Spartan Games has released a series of product images for these upcoming expansion packs, seen below:

halo fleet 01halo fleet 02halot fleet 03

big bang theory

Gamers to this day continue to look back on titles like Master of Orion 2 and Civilization with nostalgia. After listening to a recent 3MA podcast on 4X games, board game designer Olver Kiley (Hegemonic) was inspired to dive back into the subject and try to figure out, exactly, where the whole genre took a wrong turn.

Image from Big Game Theory's Web Site

Image from Big Game Theory’s Web Site

What Kiley found was a number of diverse factors that all help explain what happened to 4X games. These include fragmentation of the genre into sub-genres, vacillating interest in simulation vs. toy-style game elements, and paralyzing devotion to the very nostalgia bringing people back to those famous older titles.

Personally, I find a lot of truth in the idea of sub-genres. Much like the dinosaurs, 4X games were awesome, mentally dominating spectacles for my growing high-school and college brain. Nothing in the gaming ecosystem could compete against them. But the dinosaurs changed. Some of them died out. Some turned into birds. What we enjoyed about 4X games can still be found, just not all together in precisely the same way.

And when people do try to create the experience, you end up with a terrifying chimera, holding the outside appearance of everything you wanted but with inner workings mostly pasted together with ostrich eggs and frog DNA.

But Kiley brings up some things to be hopefully about, notably the explosion of indie publishers and the kickstarter fundraising phenomenon. More and more ideas can be made into real things, and as long as people do not grasp too tightly to the past there is no reason for a bright 4X future.

Just as long as we don’t care too much what the X’s stand for. But who can remember, anyway?

To read Kiley’s work, in all its 13 pages of blogtastic glory, check it out here. Listen to the Three Moves Ahead podcast on 4X genre here. And try to keep an open mind.

Image From

Image From

MIT’s Education Arcade is filled with games and toys that inspire learning. The director, Eric Klopfer, and creative director, Scot Osterweil, advocate the freedom to learn through educational video games and toys.

But they despise “gamification,” where players win points by practicing a school subject.

If somebody comes to me and says, ‘I want to make math fun,’ I don’t want to work with that person,” said Osterweil, “because they don’t think math is already fun.”

In gamified math, equations are often wedged into high-energy video worlds with wacky characters, points and player rankings, and maybe some explosions. It’s a model used by many popular educational games, such as Math Blaster, which has sold millions of copies and been reissued several times since it was introduced in 1983.

In Math Blaster, players fly space ships while math problems appear on the ships’ consoles and numbered asteroids hurtle toward them. If a console reads “15 – 7 = ?” and the ship’s laser guns fire at asteroid 5, nothing happens, except a red cabin light flashes to indicate a mistake. When correctly aimed at asteroid 8, the guns blast it out of the sky. Osterweil and Klopfer call games like this “drill and practice,” or “shooting flashcards.”

“This game isn’t telling you why you got a problem right or wrong or asking you to think about what arithmetic is,” Osterweil said in a video in their new MOOC. “If you’re good at arithmetic, Math Blaster’s fun, because it reinforces that you’re good at math. If you’re not understanding arithmetic, you’re getting nowhere with this.”

Instead, Osterweil and Klopfer want to emphasize the fun of learning and problem solving through playing games. One of their games, The Radix Endeavor, is a multiplayer online game where players embark on quests to cure diseases or reinforce buildings (learning biology and math). Instead of making students solve math problems, the game helps the students figure out how to learn the math, similar to a child playing with building blocks.

Mark Knapp, a biology teacher, has been using Radix for his students. According to Knapp, the game gets students interested in how scientists think and solve problems. It isn’t a substitute for the classroom curriculum, but it teaches other skills that aren’t learned through lectures, like dealing with frustration.

Many people enjoy gamified games like Math Blaster, but the real fun of learning comes through the freedom to explore and experiment. Like The Radix Endeavor, many board games are great tools that emphasize the fun of learning without forcing people to do homework problems within the game. Games won’t replace education, but they can be a great tool for classrooms, and learning should always be fun.

To learn more about The Radix Endeavor and the Education Arcade, read the full article here.

big game theory banner

Explore. Expand. Exploit. Exterminate. A 4X gamer’s favorite things. Designer Oliver Kiley (Hegemonic) conducts a very in-depth examination into the pitfalls of 4X design. Mostly discussing the video game 4X experience, many of his points can be rolled over to analog games.

This basic premise of large-scale empires fighting for resource control to fuel a military domination struggle creates some fundamental challenges for 4X game design…As I see it, the challenges are inter-related, but stem from a set of relatively simple issues.

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

The post covers the unsatisfying end game of many 4X scenarios when you have to wipe up an often far-flung lingering opposition after your empire has reached a obvious and unassailable level of advancement. As well as the challenge behind how to balance a multi-player game and keep things interesting once one player has “snowballed” past the point of any hope of challenge. Plus, how do you manage your empire once your cities are as numerous as the stars?

The result of unchecked snowballing is that, for many in 4X games, matches are decided by “one big battle.” The player with the biggest production and military advantage presses the attack and corners a defender. If they are able to stack the odds in their favor in advance, winning a key fight is often a foregone conclusion. And once the bulk of the defenders army is destroyed the aggressor just “steamrolls” their way to an inevitable victory, with their forces uncontested as they take over the opposing empire.

Going beyond the unsatisfactory solution of buffoonish, inefficient AI “governors” , Kiley finds the best solutions lie in working to create a swift closure to a winning game, as well as create alternate goals to allow multiple avenues of victory beyond raw numerical superiority. He also details some game designs that go so far as to radically reinvent the 4X concept.

The post is an extremely fascinating read and you can check it out on his Big Game Theory blog right here. You can also check out Kiley’s earlier study of the 4X experience “A Failure to End” here.