Werewolf

one night

In Bezier Games’ Kickstarter update #12 for One Night Ultimate Vampire, they announced an upcoming “One Night Ultimate…” game, but did not share the actual title.  Until they release the official announcement, they have offered a few teaser tidbits:

• “One Night” will be in the title

• Games have the ability to break a long-standing One Night rule

• It will be compatible with other One Night games

• One of the new roles is a farm animal

Keep watching Bezier Games, Inc. on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and here on Kickstarter for more details as they slowly leak their way out!

We will be sure to post more information on this new release on Dice Tower News as more information becomes available.

Gear Patrol has published an article offering up a brief list of board games for the holiday season “that have gotten great reviews, but aren’t as financially successful as the old classics [like Monopoly, The Game of Life and Risk].”  One of the games mentioned in this list was One Night Ultimate Werewolf, with a few comments by its designer, Ted Alspach.

When asked about the old family classics like Monopoly, Alspach offered to explain why those older games are still so prevalent and games published in the last ten years come nowhere close.  “They put a lot of money into those brands to put them on the shelves. Hasbro continues to market them, and they spend more money than any other board game company…If we got to reset right now, those games wouldn’t exist without the history and the marketing.”

It is because of the strong presence of these classic games and the fact that most people already know how to play them that makes them the usual go-to games for the holidays.  However, the article suggests a new lineup of options in various categories, with alternate suggestions for each:

  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak

    game of thrones card game

  • A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition

  • Fire in the Lake

    TERRA-Box-front1000_darljd

  • Terra

    splendor

  • Splendor

    dixit

  • Dixit

  • Coconuts

Each of the above-mentioned games brings with it a similar, alternate suggestion, such as Star Wars: Armada in place of Fire in the Lake.

To read the article in full, visit the Gear Patrol website here.

random hitler

Over on Kickstarter is the tongue-in-cheek social deduction game Secret Hitler which has nearly tripled it’s funding goal with 28 days remaining. The game takes it’s cues from modern favourites such as Resistance, Avalon and Werewolf and plays 5-10 players.  Set in 1930s Germany, players are split into teams of either Fascists or Liberals.  The Liberals must find the Secret Hitler and the Fascists must pass fascist policies and install Hitler as their leader.  The game has a similar start to Resistance and Avalon with everyone closing their eyes and the Fascists knowing each other and the identity of Secret Hitler but Secret Hitler doesn’t know the fascists or liberals and the liberals don’t know who anyone is.  Each round players elect a President and Chancellor.  The President chooses 3 policies from a random deck, discards one and then the Chancellor must decide which one to pass.  In order for the Fascists to win they must pass 6 fascist policies or pass 3 and then elect Secret Hitler as Chancellor. Each fascist policy passed includes a power that the President can then use such as assassinating a player or choosing the next President.  It looks to be an interesting spin on the likes of the Resistance and has a lot of positive buzz.  There don’t seem to be any stretch goals at present and two tiers, one of which includes a foil pack of Cards against humanity fascist cards (as one of the designers also designed Cards against Humanity).  There are more details including gameplay videos, pdfs of rules and many testimonials from celebrities and games designers over on the Kickstarter site.

mafia

Fantasy Flight Games has announced the imminent (Q3 2015) release of its take on the classic hidden role game, Mafia. Dubbed “Mafia: Vendetta,” the premise of the game posits a mob of civilians eager for vigilante justice but with surprisingly little information about who their enemies are:

Your town has a Mafia in their midst. You’ve put up with it for years, benefitting from mysteriously cheap imported goods and lots of big spenders in nice suits at local restaurants. Now, however, a string of murders has turned the community against the Mafia. With so many of their friends, neighbors, and family members dying in the night, the civilians are eager to find out the Mafia members and put a stop to the violence. Even if that means condemning an innocent person.

mafia cards

The art  and design on display at the preview page live up to Fantasy Flight’s consistently high standards for component quality. This Dmitry Davidoff classic has spawned any number of re-implementations and re-themes, but there will surely be many who welcome the noir flavor and beautiful craftsmanship of this edition.

Fans of social deduction games like The Resistance or Werewolf or even fans of the movie Braveheart lend me your ears. Yes I said the movie Braveheart, because that takes place in the same time and location as the game Swords and Bagpipes by Moroz Publishing that is now on Kickstarter. Swords and Bagpipes is designed and illustrated by Yan Egorov and plays with 2-6 players in 20-45 minutes.

In Swords and Bagpipes players take on the roles of Scottish clan leaders during the First War of Scottish Independence, and each round the English army invades and the players must make a decision: stand their ground and fight the English for the good of Scotland or cash in on the large amounts of gold that England offers for defectors. If Scotland wins the war then the player with the most gold wins the game so defecting should be the obvious choice…but beware for each time a player defects they must draw a card from the deck of daggers. Each of these cards has one to three daggers drawn on them and if Scotland should lose the war then the player with the least amount of daggers wins. What’s more if Scotland should win then if only one player has a total of five or more daggers than any of the other players he is declared the traitor of the nation and is not eligible for the win. Plan your betrayals carefully if you decide to play this way, but also be aware if all the other players other than you betray Scotland then there will most likely be no traitor to the nation.

Swords and Bagpipes is set during the time of the First Scottish War of Independence of 1296. English king Edward I, nicknamed Hammer of the Scots, was great at manipulating Scottish lords. He lured them with gold, titles and wealth. He menaced them with devastation and even death. To join England or to fight for Scotland? That wasn’t a piece-of-cake decision for the clan leaders of that time!

The game was already published in Russia and garnered a lot of praise this Kickstarter project is to bring it to the rest of the world. There are plenty of reviews on the page including one by the Dice Tower’s own Dan ‘The Game Boy Geek’ King and the rules are available if you want to learn more about the game. So if you are a fan of Braveheart, or any social deduction game and like the idea of multiple rounds where you get to choose if you are the betrayer or not rather than let fate decide you should really head over to Kickstarter and check out Swords and Bagpipes

The board game industry goes through cycles just like any other entertainment industry. With the recent influx of new gamers thanks to the hobby gaining mainstream appeal, new tastemakers are leading the industry in interesting directions. While not all of those directions are particularly healthy, the recent resurgence of party games is most certainly a tick in the win column.

Why are we seeing a party game boom? I think there are a few different reasons. The first, and probably biggest contributor to this shift, is an increasing crop of casual gamers. That mainstream acceptance I mentioned earlier brings with it new faces who’s entry point might have been simple social and party style games. It also seems to me that we’re coming out of a period of rapid heavy game adoption. Where there are peaks, there must come valleys, and even the most hardened gamer needs a bit of a laugh every once in a while.

None of that would matter if the games on the market were junk. I give a lot of credit to companies like Blue Orange Games and R&R Games for publishing some really great quality party games. The market created demanded, and these casual game stalwarts answered it. Did the people bring the games or the games bring the people? Whatever it is that has given rise to this party game-friendly confluence, it’s a really encouraging change of pace.  Let’s take a look at some of the recent highlights.

Image from BGG

Image from BGG

But Wait, There’s More! from Toy Vault, Inc.

But Wait, There’s More! builds on the grand tradition of Snake Oil by asking players to sell increasingly ridiculous products to the other players. It starts innocuous enough with just a thing and a feature, but when additional features are added into the mix pushing players to really stretch their sales pitches, the game gets really fun. It’s easy to talk about a vacuum cleaner that can be used in 18 different ways, but now it cures acne as well?! There are already several minis expansions that add more cards, support for additional players, and even new games modes.

Cards Against Humanity

Love it or hate it, Cards Against Humanity is a perennial favorite among adult party gamers. The game revels in unabashedly off-color humor reaching into the deepest depths of offensiveness, so if your crowd is into that kind of comedy and isn’t easily offended, this Apples to Apples clone might be for you. In Cards Against Humanity, one player is a judge that draws a black card and reads it to the other players, normally with one or two blanks. The players have a hand of white cards with a myriad of soul-scarring phrases that they select from. The judge then shuffles and reads the responses, declaring one the winner and scoring that player a point. The judge’s role then shifts to the next player and on it goes often with alcoholic beverages in tow.

Concept from Asmodee

Concept is a clever deduction game in which one player draws a card with a series of words or phrases ranging in difficulty from easy to hard. That player then selects a word and uses the central board and a variety of tokens to illustrate their word or phrase nonverbally. The board contains a myriad of images and icons representing both concrete and nebulous concepts. By assigned the marker for the primary and secondary concepts, and using cubes to mark additional clues, players can deduce the word or phrase and score points. It’s a great set up for what boils down to board game charades. Will your teammates guess the word before time runs out or your sense of shame gets the better of you?

Monikers

The game at the heart of Monikers is actually pretty old. It’s been published as Celebrities and Time’s Up! most recently, but goes by a variety of names and forms. None of those versions are as attractive and broad as Monikers. Regardless of the edition, two teams of players draw from a pool of cards that all feature people or personas.

Image from BGG

Image from BGG

These can range from historical figures to fictional characters to celebrities and more. In the first round, players attempt to describe as many of their cards as possible, in the allotted time, without using the cards’ name. Sounds easy enough. In the second round, that same deck of cards is used again but this time they must be described using just one word. Round three ramps things up even more by requiring that no words are used at all, only gestures. I won’t spoil what happens in rounds four and five, but suffice to say, it’s about as funny as party games get.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf from Bezier Games

The classic social deduction game, usually referred to as Werewolf or Mafia, has been streamlined into a shorter experience representing just one night of werewolves hiding among the innocent townfolk. Aided by a tremendous vocal track by the Dice Tower’s own Eric Summerer, players are assigned roles in secret and attempt to use their guile to uncover the werewolves or to throw suspicion on the humans, whatever the case may be. Add to that a whole pile of different roles with unique motivations, ensuring endless replay value.

Spit It Out! from R&R Games

Probably the newest game on the list, Spit It Out! is a deceptively simple game. The box comes with a whole bunch of cards and two regular dice, and all you have to do to win is answer some very basic questions correctly. Huh? Well there’s a twist. Those two dice are rolled to determine which two of the six questions must be answered incorrectly. Those answer not only need to be wrong, but they have to be in the same ballpark as the correct answer. What color is the sky? You can’t say that sky is “firetruck”, you have to answer with another color. It sounds easy, but with a timer ticking down and the conscious effort it takes to trick our own brains away from the correct answers, it’s great fun.

Spyfall from Cryptozoik Entertainment

Spyfall is a social deduction in which players are given secret roles and a secret location. One of those roles is the spy and unlike their fellow payers, the spy doesn’t know the location. Obviously not a very crafty spy. In any case, players take turns asking each other questions.

Image from BGG

Image from BGG

The non-spies are trying to determine which one is the spy, and the spy is trying to figure out the location. The fun comes from the ridiculous questions. Knowing there’s a spy, the players will be pretty dodgy not wanting to reveal too much information. All the while, the spy is all-but grasping at straws trying to piece together the subtle clues found in the other questions. Though it rarely happens, if the spy can outwit the other players, it’s a pretty amazing win.

This is just a small slice of the party game pie, and you really can’t go wrong with any of these selections as long as your group is a good fit. Throwing a party game night is a great way to introduce non-gamers to our hobby. It’s also a nice way to break up your regular game events with something a little unexpected. Next time you plan a game night, consider shelving the heavy euros just this once for a night of goofball fun.

bad landsGangfight Games is currently running a Kickstarter for Bad Lands: Curse of the Skinwalker.  Bad Lands is a co-op western horror survival game in which heroes are fighting to save the town of Blackwater Gulch from a pack of hideous were-things such as Jackalopes, Chupacabras, Werebears, Werewolves, and other nightmarish beasts.

Players will select the hero they wish to play, or players may design their own characters to play.  As players move through the town defeating monsters, they can pick up loot that is either lying around or is dropped by slain beasties.  Loot such as an old revolver, silver bullets, or a fancy gun belt can not only aid in helping heroes bring down these creatures, but also gives the heroes experience points (XP) in which to improve their characters.

Bad Lands offers a survival mode and an adventure mode, in which a player can serve as Gamemaster and take the heroes on a campaign.

Bad Lands is for 1-4 players and includes the following in the core set:

  • 8 hero cards and pawns
  • 6 heavy-duty, linen-coated board tiles
  • 28 encounter cards & villain pawns
  • 64 loot cards
  • 6 6-sided dice
  • 36 plastic pawn stands
  • Dozens of tokens
  • Full-color rulebook

Bad Lands: Curse of the Skinwalker has a primary funding goal of $25,000, and currently $3,792 has been raised.  The finding date is March 3, 2015.  For more information about this project visit the Kickstarter page HERE.