Gaming News and Notes

Kingdomino, Magic Maze, and Wettlauf nach El Dorado Nominated for the 2017 Spiel des Jahres

Board Game News - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 05:00

by W. Eric Martin

The nominees for the 2017 Spiel des Jahres — Germany's "game of the year" award, which typically boosts sales of the winner by several hundred thousand copies — have been announced, and they are:

Kingdomino, by Bruno Cathala and Pegasus Spiele, with Blue Orange Games being the publisher of origin
Magic Maze, by Kasper Lapp and Pegasus Spiele (originally Sit Down!)
Wettlauf nach El Dorado, by Reiner Knizia and Ravensburger

Seven additional titles were recommended by the jury of journalists and game reviewers that oversees the Spiel des Jahres, an annual award meant to honor a game that would be a great choice for play by German families (and by extension families everywhere). These titles are DEJA-VU, Dodelino, Fabled Fruit, KLASK, Shiftago, Tempel des Schreckens, and Word Slam.

The jury announced nominees for two additional awards as well. Titles up for the Kinderspiel des Jahres, Germany's game of the year for children, are:

Captain Silver, by Wolfgang Dirscherl, Manfred Reindl, and Queen Games
Ice Cool, by Brian Gomez and AMIGO Spiele (originally Brain Games)
Der Mysteriöse Wald (a.k.a. The Mysterious Forest), by Carlo A. Rossi and IELLO

The games nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres — an award aimed at enthusiasts who already have some familiarity with modern games — are:

EXIT: Das Spiel, a series of three escape room games from Inka Brand, Markus Brand, and KOSMOS
Räuber der Nordsee (a.k.a. Raiders of the North Sea), by Shem Phillips and Schwerkraft-Verlag (originally Phillips' own Garphill Games)
Terraforming Mars, by Jacob Fryxelius and Schwerkraft-Verlag (originally Stronghold Games)

Four additional Kennerspiel-level titles were recommended by the jury: The Big Book of Madness, Captain Sonar, Great Western Trail, and The Grizzled.

The winner of the 2017 Kinderspiel des Jahres will be announced Monday, June 19 in Hamburg, while the 2017 Spiel and Kennerspiel des Jahres winners will be revealed on Monday, July 17 in Berlin.

Congratulations to all the nominees!
Categories: Gaming News and Notes

Crowdfunding Round-up: Combat and Miniatures Galore!

Board Game News - Sun, 05/21/2017 - 13:41

by W. Eric Martin

• Will you be cruel or merciful? That's the question Indie Boards & Cards is using to pitch Path of Light and Shadow, a design by Travis R. Chance, Jonathan Gilmour, and Nick Little in which you're rewarded for pushing toward one end or the other of that scale. Neutrality is not a plus because then you're seen as a wishy-washy hand wringer and won't maximize your points. Followers want decisiveness! (KS link)

• While Path has aspects of area control on a map, it's only a "dude on a map" game since you have only one dude. Clash of Rage from Frédéric Guérard and La Boite de Jeu adopts the more familiar formula of placing many dudes on their map, with players both trying to overcome a failing elvish empire and other competitors for the remains of that empire. (KS link)

BGG shot an overview of Clash of Rage while at the game fair in Cannes in early 2017. Components shown are not final, of course.

Youtube Video

• Want even more face-smashing action? Luke Seinen's Carthage from SAS Creative is a 2-5 player arena combat game with a deck-building element. Should you be eliminated from play in a game with more than two players, you can come back to life as a sabertooth tiger or another beast to attempt to get revenge for your former human self. (KS link)

Magitics from Norbert Kiss and A-games is also an arena combat, but one set in a fantasy realm in which players can use spells and magic items in addition to more traditional figure-based combat. (KS link)

• I feel like A.E.G.I.S.: Combining Robot Strategy Game from Zephyr Workshop has been around forever since I've included it on two Gen Con previews, yet the game won't be released until January 2018. Funny how that works. Here's a short description of the game from the Kickstarter project: "We love strategy games, and noticed there was a severe lack of combining robots and simple strategy games. We decided to change that..." (KS link)

• Even more combat comes your way courtesy of Phil Vestal, Eddie Zakoor, Anneke Zakoor and newcomer Shadow Squirrel Games with the 1-7 player game Wanted Earth, in which players must defend the Earth against several invading alien races — unless players want to play as those races, that is, in which case the game becomes 100% less cooperative and you can play as a frog whose tongue is longer than its body. (KS link)

Evolutionarily unlikely

Tradewars: Homeworld – Exterra Edition from Kristopher R. Kycia and Outer Limit Games presents the mirror image of the game above, with humans leaving Earth to colonize other worlds under the leadership of four megacorporations. Naturally you and the other megacorporations can't play nicely, so you'll need to build a fancy deck and manage your resources well in order to show them up. Solitaire rules are included in case you want to head spaceward on your own. (KS link)

Diceborn Heroes from Keith Donaldson and his Diceborn Games seems like an old-school RPG-style co-op dice chucker, and I can't think of much to say about the game beyond that. (KS link)

Deadly Premonition: The Board Game from newcomer Rising Star Games is a deduction-driven card game based on the video game Deadly Premonition. (KS link)

• Given the huge number of games with miniatures in this round-up, I thought I'd also mention the crowdfunding campaign for the Skirmish Box from Dog Might Games, this being a fancy wood box with a metal plate under the felt bottom so that your miniatures with magnets will not get tossed around in the box when you travel with them — and should your miniatures not have magnets on them, well, Dog Might will sell you magnets as well. Problem and solution in one step! (KS link)

• We'll close with Barker's Row from Steven Aramini and Overworld Games, which has the amusing scoretrack of "rube" meeples being placed in your grandstand. Yes, your goal is to put butts in seats. In the game, you draft and play cards to use their powers and attract those rubes, but with each attraction you play, you have to work harder to attract more rubes in the future — just like real life. (KS link)

Editor's note: Please don't post links to other Kickstarter projects in the comments section. Write to me via the email address in the header, and I'll consider them for inclusion in a future crowdfunding round-up. Thanks! —WEM
Categories: Gaming News and Notes

Fake News Is Not A Game, Or Is It?

Purple Pawn - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 08:41

If anything, the political climate is worse than when I first covered post-truth games in February, and apparently the game market has noticed.

Breaking Games’ Fake News ($25) is now available direct from the company. In it, players try to outdo each other writing outrageous headlines for a selection of image, phrase, and audience cards.

Available June 1st is Fake News/Real News ($14) from License-2-Play. This one takes politics on more directly. Included are cards with caricatures of people in the current administration and cards with 300 outrageous quotes, some of which are real and some of which are fake. Each round, players try to guess whether a selected quote is real and who said it.

Playroom Entertainment has in the works a similarly named Fake News or Real News? by Reinhard Staupe. Modeled on the designer’s True Stories, the game presents players with a series of weird but true news stories, each represented by a question and multiple-choice answers. The goal of the players, of course, it to correctly guess which of the strange answers correctly completes the story.

#AlternativeFacts ($10) from UltraPRO (not to be confused with Frog God Games’ Alternative Facts, which I mentioned last time) has players contributing noun, verb, and adjective cards to a jointly developed headline. When the second card with a Hot Button icon is added, the player who’s card had the highest Clickbait Strength wins the round.

One more, on Kickstarter, is also titled Fake News. Publisher Zag describes it as word Poker. That is, each round the current judge (dealer) puts out two word cards. Then the other players combine those cards with word cards from their own hands to produce, they hope, the best headline.


Categories: Gaming News and Notes

Links: Mensa Winners, Co-op Games for Newbies, and Black-and-White Squares Forever

Board Game News - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 09:37

by W. Eric Martin

It's been a while since my previous link round-up, so some of these links might be less timely than is ideal. Still, onward!

• Voting for the Deutscher Spielepreis 2017 is underway, with gamers being asked to vote for their five favorite games from the second half of 2016 and the first half-ish of 2017. Votes can be placed through July 31, 2017, and the winners will be revealed at SPIEL 2017 in October.

• Speaking of awards, American Mensa announced the latest winners of their annual Mind Games competition in late April 2017:

That's a handful of traditional Eurogames right there, with Renegade Game Studios picking up its three straight win for Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure, following Lanterns: The Harvest Festival in 2015 and World's Fair 1893 in 2016. (Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension won a Mensa Select award in 2014 when it was published by Cryptozoic Entertainment, with Renegade taking over as that game's publisher in late 2014.)

Around the World in 80 Days is a new version of Hare & Tortoise (the first Spiel des Jahres winner), while Amalgam is a U.S. version of Glastonbury, which is itself a new version of Kupferkessel Co. (which was a Spiel des Jahres-recommended title in 2002). Imagine and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle rounded out the Mensa Select awards for 2017.

• Before I started writing about games full-time, I was a freelance magazine writer, following in my wife's footsteps. She's still carrying on in this career, with 2017 marking the end of her second decade in this field, and she recently wrote about "7 board games for kids who hate to lose", with this essentially being an introduction to co-op games for Canadian publication Today's Parent.

• I posted a Hasbro-centric links round-up in late April 2017, noting the company's 41% net earnings increase in Q1 2017 compared to Q1 2016. What I didn't note is that this quarter marks the first time in seventeen years that Hasbro has beaten Mattel in revenue, a detail highlighted in an Associated Press article that credits Toilet Trouble for this wondrous event. From the article:

"I never thought I would actually get to talk about this on an earnings call but, you know, Toilet Trouble is off to a very good start," CEO Brian Goldner told analysts Monday after putting up very strong first-quarter numbers.
Now Hasbro is flush with cash!

Popular Mechanics is a relic of the past, at least in my mind, because I associate it with my father, who had huge stacks of both that magazine and Popular Science in his basement workshop. I loved reading "Wordless Workshop" even though most of the ideas seemed gimmicky and impractical, on par with solutions to all the Encyclopedia Brown stories I read in my youth. I'm not even sure what Popular Mechanics now covers or how it still exists, but I do know that it recently featured "The 50 Best New Board Games", a pictorially jam-packed, Amazon-affiliate-laden overview of fifty new board games that you may or may not agree are "best". 'Twas ever thus...

• This video in PBS' "Infinite Series" explores concepts related to infinite chess — that is, chess played on an infinitely large chessboard — including how many moves it might take to determine when a game might end.

Youtube Video
Categories: Gaming News and Notes

New Game Round-up: The Empire Rises, Roosters Go Rushing, and Ruins Inhabits New Scavengers

Board Game News - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 10:29

by W. Eric Martin

• I've been writing about Tokyo Game Market for the past week or so (and tweeting dozens of pics from that show), but plenty of other game announcements have taken place during this time, such as Fantasy Flight Games' announcement of Star Wars: Rebellion – Rise of the Empire, with this prequel(?) expansion including "eight new leaders, thirty-six plastic miniatures, five target markers, two attachment rings, three new dice, and more than one-hundred new cards" to incorporate elements from the movie Rogue One into the earlier game.

• On Facebook, Lookout Games has posted two images of a prototype from Michael Kiesling titled Riverboat: entlang des Mississippi (Riverboat: Along the Mississippi), with the earlier, March 2017 image referring to the game as one of their "summer novelties", but nothing has been announced definitively, so I'll leave this as a teaser for now.

• The video game Deadly Premonition is being made into a board game, specifically Deadly Premonition: The Board Game. The website for the game has almost no information on the design, but that's because it served to countdown the launch of a Kickstarter funding project that has already netted $120K. As for the gameplay, here's a short description:

Deadly Premonition: The Board Game is a detective-themed 2-4 player card-based board game inspired by cult sensation video game Deadly Premonition and set in the mysterious town of Greenvale, following the Murder of Anna Graham.

In Deadly Premonition: The Board Game, you and your fellow detectives must take on the task of protecting the innocent, incriminating the guilty, and working out who might not be who they say they are. With a hidden killer amongst the detectives, the race is on to identify a suspect as an accomplice in order track down the true killer.

• Designers Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat originally self-published Gaijin Dash! for Tokyo Game Market in 2016, and now Mayday Games has licensed the design for a U.S. release in Q4 2017 as Rooster Rush.

I recorded an overview video in May 2016 if you want the full details on the game, but in brief players are trying to cross a busy road and not be hit by traffic. On a turn, you spin colored tokens that represent vehicles, and you want to slap the matching-colored card that you feel won't hit you — but the safety of that lane in the highway won't be determined until the token stops spinning and lands on SAFE or UNSAFE. Collect three unsafe results, and you're out of the game; score eleven points or be the last one standing, and you win.

• On June 7, 2017, Portal Games debuts 51st State: Scavengers — an expansion for 51st State: Master Set based on the older 51st State expansion Ruins — in Poland and Germany, with the English-language expansion coming to Europe on June 14 and North America on June 28. The expansion includes new and old cards, with players now being able search the discard pile for valuable locations in order to reuse them for your own purposes.
Categories: Gaming News and Notes

Test Article

Purple Pawn - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 22:17

We’re experiencing an issue that appears to prevent the latest article from showing on the front page. Please ignore this post. We apologize for the confusion.

Categories: Gaming News and Notes

Game Bandit

Purple Pawn - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 14:17

Blog and podcast giveaways:

  • By Brawlin’ Brothers Boardgaming Podcast, 25 games from nine different publishers.
  • By Everything Board Games, Yamatai from Days of Wonder and Zombie Tsunami from Lucky Duck Games.
  • By Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog, Color Cube Sudoku from ThinkFun.
  • By The Discriminating Gamer, They Come Unseen from Osprey Games.
  • By The Long View, Yokohama from Tasty Minstrel Games.
  • By The Giveaway Geek, Islebound from Red Raven Games.
  • By Mom to Grandma, Sunk! from Winning Moves.
  • By the Octothorpe Board Games Podcast, Clank! from Renegade Game Studios.

Starplayer Games of the UK is giving away a Starplayer Footy Board Game.

Fading Suns, with the Revised Second Edition rules from RedBrick Limited, is available at Bundle of Holding starting at $14.95 for four books, and $25 for the full Bonus Collection with another six books.

Categories: Gaming News and Notes

Untold: The Rory’s Story Cubes Adventure Roleplaying Game

Purple Pawn - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 09:12

Rory’s Story Cubes, those symbol-covered dice meant to inspire creative storytelling are set to become the basis for a new cooperative roleplaying game. The company behind the Story Cubes, Belfast-based The Creativity Hub, launched this morning on Kickstarter Untold: Adventure Awaits, a game meant to offer a “deeper level of storytelling while also being accessible to as wide an audience as possible.”

The game has players creating individual characters and building a story in five scene stages—danger, intrigue, confrontation, revelation, and showdown—which together comprise an “episode”. At each stage, a scene tile will provide the overall structure. For example, the chosen danger tile might indicate that someone is being attacked, with fill-in space for where and with what. Then players roll the Story Cubes to fill in the details.

Also part of the game are reaction cards and toolkit cards. Reaction cards are used for resolving character actions. The toolkit cards allow players to take special actions in developing the story. For example, a flashback card allows a player to incorporate elements from a previous episode and an “and” card gives a player the ability to superimpose their idea on to another player’s concept.

The base game, available for a £20 ($26) pledge, includes one set of nine Rory’s Story Cubes, an episode board, six alternative scene tiles for each stage, reaction cards, toolkit cards, player aids, an adventure journal, and hero sheets. For a £28 ($36) pledge, backers get, in addition to the base game, one set of licensed cubes (Doctor Who, Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo, Moomin, or Adventure Time). Or for £160 ($206), backers get everything. That is, every Rory’s Story Cube ever released, including the 3-cube Mix Sets that were not previously sold in the United States.

Assuming The Creativity Hub hits its funding goal of £10,000 (around $13,000) for the Untold project—a pretty safe bet—the company plans to deliver games to backers in October of this year, followed by a formal launch at Essen Spiel. Of course, the project also has stretch goals. The first, at £12,000 ($16,000), would add a set of Batman Story Cubes to the base game.

Categories: Gaming News and Notes

GW Presents New Type of 40K Space Marines; Others Also Planned

Purple Pawn - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 21:16

With a new edition of Warhammer 40,000 due later this year, Games Workshop appears ready to introduce a range of new factions (or faction variants). The first announced among several new types of Space Marines is the Primaris Space Marine, raised by Primarch Roboute Guilliman on Mars.

Compared to regular troops, the Primaris Space Marines are bigger, can hold up to small-arms fire longer, and carry bolt rifles with additional range and armor-piercing power.

Primaris figures can be incorporated in to companies with other factions or can be used to make their own compact army.

Categories: Gaming News and Notes

Tokyo Game Market, May 2017: Preview Night — Mini Rails, Crows Overkill, Korocchi!, and Sweet Honey, Bee Mine!

Board Game News - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 08:05

by W. Eric Martin

On the day before Tokyo Game Market, which took place May 14, 2017, I attended a preview event hosted by designer Shimpei Sato (Onitama, Eggs of Ostrich) where a number of Japanese and Taiwanese designers and publishers showed off their TGM titles in advance. Here are four of the games I saw and played at that event:

Mark Gerrits' Mini Rails from Moaideas Game Design is a magically simple rail game for 3-5 players. At the start of each round, you draw colored discs equal to twice the number of players plus one from the bag, then in player order (as shown by the pawns on the player order track) players take one of two actions: buy a share or place a track. Whichever action you don't take the first time, you must take the second time. When you buy a share, its value is zero no matter activity has already taken place in that color. When you place a track, the value of all existing shares goes up or down $1-3 depending on the space covered, with all discs of a color being placed contiguously.

As you take discs, you determine player order for the next round. Whichever disc hasn't been taken drops down to the bottom row; that action represents the company paying its taxes, and now that color will score points for all shareholders at the end of the game, with the value for each player being determined by the location of that share disc on their player board.

The game has a few other details, but that's mostly it. With only twelve disc choices in the game, along with the placement of those discs on the board, every choice matters. I played horribly in my one game, not looking ahead to what might be placed where and setting myself up for failure. Moaideas will have a presence at SPIEL 2017 should you not be able to travel back in time to TGM.

Crows Overkill from EmperorS4 is a new version of Roy Nambu's Sanzen Sekai: I'd kill all the crows in the world to be with you a little longer, which he originally self-published in 2015. The title is less flamboyant in the new edition, but the setting remains the same: You're visiting your sweetheart and want to stay as long as possible, but your lover is very sensitive and you know that as soon as the crows start crying out that you'll have to leave, so you resolve to kill as many of them as possible in order to stay longer. I would imagine that the feathers and blood all over your hands would be a bigger turnoff than the squawking, but hey, who am I to judge?

You start the game with three bird cards in front of you and two shamisen (action) cards in hand. On a turn, you gain three more bird cards — which might show 1-3 crows, roosters, owls, warblers, or bats (and no, bats are birds, but they're here as well) — and two more action cards, then you must take actions so that you have fewer crows in front of you than the current limit. Oh, and no owls. They hoot all the time, so you must scoot any owls along to another player. The bird deck contains a few gong cards as well, and each time a gong is rung, the hour advances, which lowers the acceptable bird count. Suddenly you can't have a pair of roosters in front of you, or even one warbler, so you must shoo them along to some other lover, being content to ruin their relationship to ensure your personal happiness.

Sweet Honey, Bee Mine! is from Katsuya Kitano and New Board Game Party, creators of Who Soiled the Toilet? in 2016. This game combines bluffing, hand management, and your ability to be a jerk in one tidy package. In a round, each player starts with a hand of five cards, with the cards being similar to a Pairs deck (one 1, two 2s, up to ten 10s), but with some of the cards from 1-5 being labeled "low" and some from 6-10 being labeled "high"; if a card isn't labeled, then it can be anything from 1-10.

Each player reveals one card simultaneously, and whoever reveals the highest card starts. On a turn, the player choose one card from hand, places it face down with 1-3 honey chips on it, then draw a new card. The next player can either place the same number of chips on it to pass the card to the next player or take the card and chips; if the card matches a number the player already has, they are out of the round and must ante a number of chips equal to the card number to the pot. If no one takes the card, then whoever first played the card must take it, scoring lots of chips but killing themselves if they played a number they already had.

The round continues until a player has cards that sum to at least 35, they have three cards valued 1-5 in front of them, or they're the only one still in the round. That player wins the pot, then everyone scores points equal to the number of honey chips they have. After a certain number of rounds, whoever has the most points wins.

• Host Sato taught his new game Korocchi!, the description of which I wrote previously:

In Korocchi!, you try to find the correct card that is determined by two (or three) unique dice, and whoever touches the correct card first score points. Each of the two dice in the basic game has two pieces of information:

• Color die: Shows you the outside color and inside color.
• Shape die: Shows you the outside shape and the inside shape.

Three different creatures (cat, bat and obake) are depicted on the cards, with these creatures appearing in three colors. Each card depicts one large creature in one color holding a tiny creature in another color. By pairing the two dice, you know precisely which one card to touch from all those face up on the table.

For an additional challenge, you can roll the third die as well. The faces on this die might just show that you play as normal scoring one or two points, or it might show the shapes or colors being reversed — which means you need to look for the opposite card (sort of) instead.

The gameplay matches precisely what I thought it would be: ye olde game of rolling, staring, and pouncing. Sato's tie-breaker rule for when two players touch the right card at the same time is hilarious: Whoever yells "Korocchi!" louder wins. "Korocchi" combines the Japanese words for rolling (as in dice) and grabbing, so the yelling makes sense.

You can also use the cards to play a memory game by turning them face down. On a turn, a player reveals two cards and if both the outer colors and the inner colors match on the cards, then the player claims the cards and takes another turn. Whoever collects the most cards wins.

Categories: Gaming News and Notes


Purple Pawn - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 08:01

Taking home the trophy and a $10,000 prize at the North American School Scrabble Championship was the team of eighth-grader Jem Burch and seventh-grader Zach Ansell, both of Los Angeles. Their final round score was 374-349 on such words as eugenia, infares, entresol, and steeping.

At the Xi’an Cherry Blossom tournament in China, Kaijun Lin solved a 5×5 Rubik’s Cube in a world record 4 minutes, 11.93 seconds. Then 2 weeks later, he broke his own record, solving the 5×5 in 4 minutes, 10.00 seconds.

Fourth-dan Sota Fujii, the youngest ever professional Shogi player, has extended his winning streak to 16 matches.

The final round of the Women’s World Chess Championship saw Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine, GM, 2558) and Tan Zhongyi (China, WGM, 2502) tied 2-2 after four games of classic time controls, and still even after the first rapid tie-break game. Zhongyi, though, won the second and the World Champion title.

Wesley So, now the world’s number 2 ranked Chess player, came in first at the U.S. National Championship but only after facing down Alex Onischuk 1½-½ in a rapid playoff round. In the women’s section, sixth seed Sabina-Francesca Foisor was the winner with an 8-3 score, one point ahead of the 2016 champion.

The German Bundesliga professional Chess league has finished its season with the Baden-Baden team reclaiming the title it had lost last year after 10 previous consecutive wins. In the 4NCL English professional league, team Guilford won for the fifth year in a row.

Keegan “Kelian-05” Tailleur was the winner of the 9th Memoir ’44 French Open, a 2 day tournament with special scenarios based on tanks.

A new world record has been set for most dominoes toppled in a single line: 15,524.

Categories: Gaming News and Notes

Unfair Game

Purple Pawn - Sun, 05/14/2017 - 01:45

To highlight inequalities in French society, this video from the organization Observatoire des Inégalités presents to a group of children a different version of Monopoly.

Or watch the original French-language version.

Categories: Gaming News and Notes

The Art of Kreeda—Board Games of India

Purple Pawn - Sun, 05/14/2017 - 00:33

For Asian Heritage Month, the Peel Art Gallery Museum & Archives near Toronto is hosting a special exhibit on the traditional board games of India.

Board games have a universal appeal that transcends language and culture. “The Art of Kreeda” means “the art of playing”. This exhibit entertains, educates and pays tribute to the iconic board games that India introduced to the world.

Categories: Gaming News and Notes

The Race to Number 10

Purple Pawn - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 22:27

For the upcoming UK general election, the Green Party has begun airing this advertisement styled on a classic board game television commercial.

Categories: Gaming News and Notes
Syndicate content