Dice Tower Newsletter

Vincent Dutrait

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.

Hostage Negotiator is getting Abductor Pack #8, designed by the lead play tester of Hostage Negotiator: Crime Wave, Mike Martins. Abductor Pack #8 is expected to release at GenCon.

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.

Grail Games has started a Kickstarter campaign for King’s Road, a re-implementation of the difficult to find game Imperium, a light area control card driven game from designer Reiner Knizia with art from Vincent Dutrait.

In King’s Road, 2-5 players each have an identical hand of 11 cards. Players each play three cards face down dictating their next 3 moves in order. If the cards show a region, the players place one control marker of their color in the denoted area. Special cards include the Knight, which allows players to place an additional control marker, the Dragon, which increases the number of areas which score, and the Wizard, which allows the player to pick up and re-select some of their cards. After card play, the area where the King pawn resides is scored, and the King then moves to the next area numerically. Areas score according to their banner, with the highest points going to the player with the most control markers. The Kickstarter campaign for King’s Road will continue through March 23, and is expected to deliver in August of 2017.

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced the latest iteration of Love Letter, Lovecraft Letter, featuring excellent art by Vincent Dutrait and Kouji Ogata. There are no princesses in this Cthulhu Mythos inspired game – instead you are trying to eliminate your rivals and understand the cosmic horrors that exist just outside our “reality”. Watch as madness consumes your enemies, or take the initiative and remove them yourself.

Read more about Lovecraft Letter here.

It is a sad fact of business that not all of them will succeed, and unfortunately the dark specter of failure is looming on Crash Games.  For various reasons Crash Games is in a financial tight spot right now and so they are turning to the board game community to help them out.  With this final Kickstarter they are hoping to raise the needed money to be able to pay their game designers and their manufacturer what they are owed.  So if you are interested in either of the below games, or just want to help, I highly recommend you go to the campaign page and pledge your support.  But enough of the doom and gloom, lets get to the games.

The first of the two games being offered is Backyard Builders Treehouse, a drafting game all about building the best treehouse possible.  On your turn you have a hand of five cards, you will pick a card to add to you treehouse and then pass the cards.  The next player will draw a card to bring the hand back up to five and do the same, continuing around until the end of the round.  As for placing cards in your treehouse, whenever you want to place a new card you have to match the top value of the previous card to be able to add it.  And that’s it, you go around until you reach a set height based on the number of players and then add up the point totals on the cards.  One thing that makes it not a pick the highest card affair is that you get bonus points for having a run of the same color, thus giving you some options when picking cards.  Also of note is that the art is done by Vincent Dutrait so you know it will look stunning.

The second game being offered is the set collecting, fishing game called Fish Frenzy.  In the game you will be bidding on different boats in order to collect the fish cards below them to get majorities in the different fish types.  However, if you want to get the fish from a boat that is already occupied, you will have to give up some fish tokens in order to bump the other player out.  You will bid back and forth between the person already there until someone comes out on top, at which point the loser moves away, leaving their bid fish tokens behind.  At the end of the round all bid fish tokens go away, so not too many bid wars are going to break out.  Once everyone has placed you can either collect all the fish for end game scoring, or you can eat the fish getting you back some of those precious fish tokens.  After adding two cards to each boat the next round begins again.  At the end you will get 3 points for each fish type you have the most of, and 1 point for the ones you have the second most of, most points at the end is the winner.



Rising 5 is a cooperative, exploration/puzzle board game from Holy Grail Games and designed by Gary Kim and Evan Song. Following the example of others, such as Mansions of Madness and XCOM: The Board Game,Rising 5 will be supported by a digital app.

“Players can explore the planet to collect energy or clues and to fight against evil monsters. When players try to unlock the code, the App or the game master will give signs that lead to right code. If players successfully find the code, they win; if the Darkness Level reaches the Red Moon because of the evil monsters or if the Character card deck is exhausted, the players lose the game.”


The game is beautifully illustrated by Vincent Dutrait. There’s an extensive video, located here (in French but subtitled in English), that discusses not only his career progress but his inspirations behind Rising 5. You can watch a video play-through of the game here.

To learn more about the campaign, as well as help support it, you can visit the Kickstarter page here.


If you missed the boat last time it was around, now might be your chance to hop on the updated edition of Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. Designed by Portal Games’ veritable owner Ignacy Trzewiczek, Robinson Crusoe has players working as a team of shipwrecked survivors trying to make ends meet on an island full of dangerous animals and unpredictable weather.

A description from the BoardGameGeek website:

 [Players will] be faced with the challenges of building a shelter, finding food, fighting wild beasts, and protecting themselves from weather changes. Building walls around their homes, animal domestication, constructing weapons and tools from what they find and much more awaits them on the island. The players decide in which direction the game will unfold and – after several in-game weeks of hard work – how their settlement will look. Will they manage to discover the secret of the island in the meantime? Will they find a pirate treasure, or an abandoned village? Will they discover an underground city or a cursed temple at the bottom of a volcano? Answers to these questions lie in hundreds of event cards and hundreds of object and structure cards that can be used during the game…

This new edition of the game will come with:

  • Custom wooden pieces for all resources
  • Thick cardboard player boards
  • An additional 7th scenario
  • A completely re-written rulebook
  • Coming in a Ticket to Ride-sized box

September 2016 is the date to look forward to for this award-winning game. For additional information, please visit here.


Just a few months ago in February, Grail Games Kickstarted the reprint of the Reiner Knizia game Medici, now they have a new version of the game to publish as well, Medici the Card Game.  Unlike it’s full sized brother, the card game will feature no auctions, but has a push your luck type mechanic to help retain the tenseness of the larger game.  On a turn the active player will draw 1 to 3 cards and always has to keep the last card drawn, then they decide if they want to keep the other cards they drew, or leave them for the next player.  Any cards they keep are immediately loaded on their ship and once their ship is full it is scored.  You score based on the value of the cargo on your ship, as well as the commodities you have stored in your warehouse.  Some cards add value to the ship without taking up space, but often can’t be held in warehouses, making the choices in the game no less critical than in the auction style board game.  Grail Games will have copies of this new game to demo at GenCon and it will see general release in the first quarter of 2017.

Grail Games announces Reiner Knizia’s Medici: The Card Game

This all-new design, sister to the classic Medici board game, will be the first entrant to the Medici & Strozzi family of games in nine years, and will feature stunning new artwork by Vincent Dutrait.

Sydney, Australia – Monday, June 20 th , 2016. Today, Grail Games announced that it will be publishing the English language edition of a brand new game, Medici: The Card Game. It will be available to demo at the upcoming Gen Con in Indianapolis, and is due to be released in Q1 2017.

Designed by famed games designer Dr Reiner Knizia (Medici, Tigris & Euphrates, Samurai, Ra, etc.), Medici: The Card Game will feature artwork by Vincent Dutrait (Medici, Rise of Augustus, Lewis & Clark, Broom Medici: The Card Game will be the first new edition to Knizia’s Medici & Strozzi line of games since 2008. While sharing the same setting as the Medici board game, it is an all-new design that, in contrast to the other games in its family, does not feature auctions.

“To create an entirely new game that has the same ‘feel’ as Medici, while offering something different to players, was an invigorating design challenge,” said game designer Reiner Knizia. “Without auctions, the new game is easier for first-time players, but make no mistake, it’s not all smooth water to victory. I can’t wait to see people playing it all over the world, established fans of Medici and new players, alike.”

Medici: The Card Game will be adorned with stunning illustrations by award-winning artist Vincent Dutrait. “To be asked to revisit Medici was a welcome invitation,” he said. “I believe I have illustrated the game in such a way as to be beautiful as well as highly functional. Medici: The Card Game will be able to sit proudly next to its big brother, Medici, on any gamer’s shelf.”

Medici: The Card Game is set in 15th century Florence. Players will try to acquire the most valuable goods for their merchant ships by drawing 1-3 cards from a common deck each turn. After drawing, the active player will take cards from the display. Cards that are not taken remain available to future players. Once a player’s boat is full (seven cards with two players, five cards with 3-6 players), they are out of the round and the day is scored.

Players score points for the value of their ships’ holds, but also for the number of commodities of each type that they have stored in their warehouse. The highest earning merchant over three days wins the game. Some cards do not take up space on ships, while others contribute to the value of a hold, but cannot be stored in warehouses.

Medici: The Card Game is for 2-6 players and takes approximately 30 minutes to play. The game will include: 110 cards, 50 scoring tokens, and a rule book. An accurate release date and MSRP will be confirmed soon.

Grail Games is a board and card game publisher located in Sydney, Australia. Our games include Medici, Elevenses, Matcha, Circus Flohcati and Jeju Island. Our focus is on board and card games that are family friendly, fast to teach, and that offer depth and replayability. To find out more, please visit www.grailgames.com.au


The Dice Tower Awards are only a couple months away in July at Dice Tower Con, so to ramp up to that day we are releasing the nominees for each award category.  And the nominees are: