Gaming News and Notes
Games Workshop has announced plans for a new edition of Warhammer 40,000 due sometime this year. With just 3 years since the last revision, GW promises that every figure and all current armies will be supported in the new edition. The setting will remain the same, though some advance in the story line is expected. And a version of the core rulebook will be free.
The company’s main goal for a new Warhammer 40,000 appears to be to streamline game-play significantly, bringing a typical game down to 1½-2 hours and much easier for new players to learn. At the same time, veterans will have options for adding depth and complexity. Among the new elements being added to the game are command points rewarding players with special abilities for thematically-built armies.
Dyskami Publishing has secured a license from Toei Animation for a line of board games based on the Sailor Moon Crystal series. The first game planned is Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge, scheduled for late summer this year. This one is being designed by James Ernest based on his Button Men game. The next release, planned for 2018, is a “tile-passing-and-bluffing game”, Sailor Moon Crystal Truth or Bluff.
On June 28th, Walmart is conducting an Open Call event at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, where potential suppliers will have an opportunity to pitch their products to company buyers. The theme of this event is made-in-the-U.S.A., meaning Walmart will be focused on identifying new products in all categories produced domestically.
Applications to participate in Walmart’s 2017 Open Call are due May 18th but space is limited.
In Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, players build their own crew from a wide range of factions, allies, and iconic characters from the Fallout series, then play in apocalyptic games of 3-30 high-quality 32mm scale resin miniatures through a huge variety of iconic scenery and settlement buildings, from the Red Rocket to Sanctuary Hills, Nuka-Cola vending machines and wrecked vehicles. Settlements include buildings, defenses, and resources that impact the crew's army list and abilities in the wasteland.
Fallout: Wasteland Warfare includes an entire narrative campaign arc as well as unique random missions with narrative-style objectives, and crew caps recovered in missions can be used to improve the crew's perks, weapons, gear, and upgrades for the next encounter. In either player vs. player or tournament mode, players try to survive the tabletop wasteland.
The game also comes with a customizable solo-play AI deck to control enemies that play to their strengths and replicate a faction's tactics while attempting a narrative mission or perfecting settlement-building strategy. Players can also team up with a friend to defend a larger settlement or explore narrative missions in cooperative games against AI forces or the post-apocalyptic dangers of the wasteland.
• Aron West from Elzra Corp. has passed along a few updates about game availability and future plans. To start, reprints of both Catacombs (third edition) and the Cavern of Soloth expansion should be available "very soon". Second, West will be at Origins 2017 in June, and while he's not exhibiting, we are arranging to demo Catacombs & Castles (on a production copy of the game) and the Catacombs: Wyverns of Wylemuir expansion on camera. Notes West, "I was going to run a Kickstarter campaign for the Wyverns title, but decided to release it directly to retail." Both Wyverns and Catacombs & Castles will be released in German by Schwerkraft-Verlag.
Third, Elzra Corp. no longer uses Impressions for distribution, but instead uses both Alliance and ACD in the U.S., Lion Rampant and Universal in Canada, and Brave New World in Germany, with talks underway for distribution in other European countries as well.
Finally, says West, "We have a number of titles in development, including a card game set in the Catacombs world, an entry-level Catacombs title, and a new dexterity-based game line in conjunction with Jasco Games." Should you want to check out their offerings new and old, Elzra Corp. will have a presence at Gen Con in the Jasco Games booth and at SPIEL 2017 with Schwerkraft-Verlag.
• Designer Tom Lehmann says that the next Roll for the Galaxy expansion will be titled Rivalry — and that's all that he says. No other info for now.
• German publisher franjos will release a new edition of Sid Sackson's Can't Stop in June 2017, with this edition being (I think) its fifth version themed around mountain climbing. And why not given how well the gameplay fits in this setting?
Eh. After watching three episodes of The Toy Box, the toy-focused, Shark Tank like television show on ABC, I’m not impressed. Though, perhaps I’m jaded from 9 years attending Toy Fair… Actually, some of the toys in the first three episodes of The Toy Box weren’t bad. But not bad just doesn’t cut it. I mean, Mattel, who promises to produce the winning toy, doesn’t need a televised national competition to come up with dolls that have ballet costumes and a couple of extra degrees of articulation.
Not that a decently made new doll, or nested foam sports balls, couldn’t find some room in the marketplace. These ideas, though, do nothing for a large established toy company like Mattel, which has many designers on staff, as well as existing relationships with experienced outside inventors. Frankly, I don’t think the average viewer either is going to be much impressed.
The concept, I believe, has a lot of potential but the first three episodes so far haven’t realized it. The mentors representing the first on-screen evaluation stage are far too calm and gentle. Here’s a guy who sold his house and moved back in with his mother to finance production of a kind of plush he didn’t realize was already in the market from a different company. Another contestant’s brilliant idea is to make a stiff curved swing-set seat specifically for kids to stand on. Does that really require $130 specialized equipment? Definitely not. But throughout, the panel of expert mentors is calm and polite and barely challenges the inventors other than to express “concerns”. Liven it up guys!
By the way, let me say from personal experience, with an emergency room visit and stitches to the head, that standing on a swing-set seat is not a safe activity for children!
The second evaluation stage in each episode—before a panel of four children judges—you’d think would be a lot more fun to watch. Unfortunately, it just isn’t. Eleven year-old actors paid to look young and recite adult lines are lacking in chemistry and spontaneity.
Now maybe you think differently. Maybe you have more confidence in what will come out of this series. If so, you should know that the final chosen toy—whatever that will turn out to be—is already in production and will be sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us beginning May 20th. Toys “R” Us is also running a sweepstakes, where the grand prize includes travel for four to Los Angeles, a tour of Mattel headquarters, $1,500 in gift cards, and a meeting with the show’s winning inventor.
Also, if you think you have the perfect toy or game for Mattel, MysticArt Pictures is already casting inventors for a second season. And a U.K. version of the show has been licensed to Electus International. Maybe that one will be better. I hope so.
New Game Round-up: Returning to Sailor Moon, Resetting Fantasy Defense, and Raising an Army of Alices
Fast forward to 2017: Cheapass Games has just launched a Kickstarter for a new button-free version of Button Men, now titled Button Men: Beat People Up, which is due out in October 2017. Guardians of Order's Mark MacKinnon is now president of Dyskami Publishing Company, which has just announced a "North American licensing arrangement with Toei Animation Inc. to design and distribute a line of tabletop board games based on the popular Japanese animation series Sailor Moon Crystal", an anime series based on the original Sailor Moon manga.
The first such title coming from Dyskami, due out Q3 2017, is Sailor Moon Crystal: Dice Challenge, a 2-8 player dice game based on — wait for it! — James Ernest's Button Men. Dyskami also plans to release the tile-passing-and-bluffing game Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff in late 2017, with more SMC games to follow in 2018.
I think it's fair to point out that Guardians of Order went out of business in 2006, with many freelance creators accusing MacKinnon of using their work in GoO publications without paying them, then continuing to sell works following the closure of the business, again without paying them. MacKinnon presented his version of what happened to GoO in 2013 when starting Dyskami and attempting to fund Upon a Fable on Kickstarter, with many of those freelancers responding in that same BGG thread.
• One of the many titles distributed by Japon Brand at SPIEL 2016 was Yoshiyuki Arai's Defense Three Kingdoms, a solitaire game in which a player had to defeat an invading army while losing defense forces to attrition in each combat and taking damage when avoiding combat. That game included a competitive two-player mode in which one player would take charge of the attacking forces to make the game's AI a little less A.
Now Sweet Lemon Publishing and Mandoo Games are partnering on a new version of the game titled Fantasy Defense, with the game featuring new artwork by Yann Tisseron, a new cooperative two-player mode, a new setting (with humans and elves now partnering to defend against orcs), and a new "campaign" mode that unlocks new cards after meeting certain criteria in the game.
• To stay with Japanese games this post, let's look at Alicematic Heroes, a new game from Kuro that will be co-published by Japanime Games and his own Manifest Destiny. The game debuts at Tokyo Game Market in May 2017, with Japanime demoing the game at Origins 2017 in June ahead of its U.S. release. Here's an overview of the gameplay:
The Queen of Hearts has summoned Alice to rebuild Wonderland, which has been devastated by an invasion of Nothing, which is devouring the dreams of all in the land — but the Queen has mistakenly summoned whole armies of Alices! Dozens of Alices abound, and now they're taking sides and forming teams to see who can put the land back together best.
In Alicematic Heroes, you take charge of one of these teams, and you'll have a handful of Alices to use in your efforts. Alices come in five colors, with each player having a set of player boards in these five colors. On a turn, you first summon an Alice to your kingdom, playing that card from your hand onto the player board of the same color, but only if you can pay the cost in dream power; each Alice has a cost, and you must have at least this many dream cards (yellow) or be able to make up the difference by paying dream tokens. If you can, you immediately use the power — or Megalomania — of that Alice; if you can't, choose another card or lay an Alice face down as a commoner. Playing a commoner doesn't cost anything, lets you draw another card, and builds up the power of one of your five colors, but you don't get a Megalomania bonus and your turn ends immediately.
If you played an Alice, you can then invade a territory in the playing area, which is composed of modular hex tiles. To conquer the territory, you need enough military power (red cards) or supplemental military (red) tokens, and if the territory is not on a hex where you occupy a city, you must have enough food (green cards) or food tokens to reach that space. If you conquer it, you receive a bonus based on the territory's color: military, food or dream tokens; Alice cards; or points. If you conquer a city, you score points and now have a foothold on that hex.
If you lack enough military and food, you can still place the territory under attack and finish it off on a later turn, but another player can potentially conquer it in the meantime.
Mystic forests cannot be conquered until they're surrounded by player-controlled territories, and only the player(s) with the most controlled surrounding territories can then capture the forest, which has a toughness and point value equal to the number of surrounding territories.
The game ends after fourteen rounds, then players score points for having the most or secondmost territories controlled in each hex and for having the most Alices in any of the five colors. Players can also score points for Alice Megalomania effects, and whoever has the most points wins!
Badges for the newest PAX convention go on-sale next Wednesday, May 3rd. Other PAX events have sold out, so if you’re interested don’t hesitate.
PAX Unplugged takes place November 17-19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The event is a joint effort of Penny Arcade and ReedPOP, and will focus entirely on tabletop games.
A board game based on Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has been announced by Ultra PRO Entertainment and should arrive at retail to coincide with the release of the film. Valerian: The Alpha Missions is a cooperative adventure game in which the players explore randomly placed hidden tiles representing a contested zone of the Alpha metropolis. By defeating encountered aliens and sacrificing various resources they can complete a set of missions and get to an extraction site before time runs out.
Catalyst Game Labs announced today Dragonfire, a deck-building adventure game based on Dungeons & Dragons and set in the Forgotten Realms. The initial release, “coming soon”, will have players choosing from classic D&D races and classes and beginning their adventure along the Sword Coast. The company also plans future expansions with players leveling up their characters while visiting Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter, and Waterdeep.
Catalyst is building Dragonfire from the same system the company used for its Shadowrun: Crossfire game (though the two will definitely not be compatible).
Adapting that engine to Dungeons & Dragons is an exciting opportunity to build new ways for players to experience both quick adventures and long-term campaigns in this legendary high-fantasy setting. And at every step, Catalyst has worked hard to remain true to D&D lore. When players open a copy at the table, regardless of what they enjoy playing—RPGs, deckbuilder games, or both—they’ll find a complete box of fun.
Dragonfire will be priced at $60 retail and come with five decks of encounter cards, plus a market deck, magic item deck, character cards, adventure cards, an adventure book, sticker sheets, tokens, plastic clips, and a rule book.
Among the expansions planned are Wondrous Cache (more magic items), Heroes of the Sword Coast (more character cards with new classes and races), and Encounters: Dragonspear Castle (a new adventure with more encounter, magic item, and market cards). Several of the expansions are going to print at the same time as the base game.
Cheapass Games has just announced the Button Men will be rising from the ashes in a new Kickstarter campaign that upgrades the classic James Ernest game from pin-back buttons to deluxe cards. Set in Fight City, a fictional 1950’s gangster town located somewhere on the Gulf Coast, the new Button Men game features four warring factions, each with their own style of play. Even though Button Men is now a card game the name still works since a “button man” is a low-level gangster.
While the game is getting a facelift, the rules are pretty much the same. This means that the new card-driven game will still be compatible with your old button collection.
The new campaign should be up sometime today and will have reward levels from $15 all the way up to $485.
"Our first quarter results are in line with our previously communicated expectations and we are well positioned to execute against 2017's rich content slate and diverse new initiatives," said Brian Goldner, Hasbro's chairman and chief executive officer. "Revenue grew in the quarter and we drove strong consumer takeaway at retail, both compared to a robust first quarter last year and with a shift of Easter into this year's second quarter. Over the coming quarters, we are supporting significant new initiatives including major theatrical films for both Franchise and Partner Brands."
Hasbro Gaming posted 43% revenue growth to $142.9 million driven by Hasbro's diverse gaming portfolio. The strong revenue increase was led by several new games, including SPEAK OUT, TOILET TROUBLE and FANTASTIC GYMNASTICS, digital gaming, and several other gaming brands, including DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, BOP-IT and PIE-FACE. Hasbro's total gaming category grew 10% to $253.3 million.
Hasbro divides its products into four brands — Franchise Brands, Partner Brands, Hasbro Gaming, and Emerging Brands — and some of its game sales hide in the Franchise Brands category, as noted elsewhere in the press release: "Hasbro's total gaming category, including all gaming revenue, most notably MAGIC: THE GATHERING and MONOPOLY, which are included in Franchise Brands in the table above, totaled $253.3 million for the first quarter 2017, up 10%, versus $231.1 million in the first quarter 2016. Hasbro believes its gaming portfolio is a competitive differentiator and views it in its entirety."
• To take advantage of its "competitive differentiator", in mid-2017 Hasbro will debut the Hasbro Gaming Crate. Four times a year, Hasbro will ship subscribers who pay the $50 fee either a party or family-themed game crate that contains three games. An excerpt from a Fortune article:
"We've seen the subscription trend and how strong it has become outside of our industry and we thought 'Gamers are into their games and they want to try new games all the time,' said Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of marketing for Hasbro Gaming, in an interview with Fortune. "It is a perfect marriage for the gaming category." ...
Berkowitz explained that the party themed boxes will incorporate more "edgy" games that are ideal for adults, while the family crate is for all different ages and more inclusive. Hasbro built a new separate team within the broader Hasbro Gaming segment that will focus exclusively on the Hasbro Gaming Crate service. The idea is that all the games that will be shipped will be new — so consumers that order the crate won't be getting boxes of Candy Land and Jenga shipped to their homes.
The service is also a way for Hasbro to innovate at a faster pace than is typical for the industry.
In an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer, Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian Goldner referred to the Hasbro Gaming Crate as "profitable experimentation" since those who buy the Crates are encouraged to give feedback on the titles, which might then make it into general distribution depending on the results.
What might you find in these new games? Nothing has been announced, but the Fortune article includes this paragraph about how Hasbro turned around its games division after initially trying — and failing — to incorporate "tablet functionality" into its existing game brands:
One critical source of inspiration has been viral videos. Hasbro saw the web-driven buzz around the Pie Face game and bought the rights to manufacture and distribute the game after it became a viral hit. Other games that have been inspired by viral videos have included Egged On (based on a gag utilized by late-night host Jimmy Fallon), Flip Challenge (inspired by the bottle flipping trend on YouTube), and Speak Out (also inspired by viral web videos).
• CR Magazine has ranked Hasbro first in its annual list of the "100 Best Corporate Citizens", with the companies being ranked in these seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, corporate governance, financial performance, and philanthropy and community support. The "CR" in the magazine's title stands for "corporate responsibility". (ranking PDF)
• By chance, I recently ran across a 2016 article in The Times, a UK-based newspaper, that detailed how "women housed by the Good Shepherd Sisters in Waterford packaged board games for the global toy franchise Hasbro in return for 'pocket money' as recently as 2012". Excerpts from the article:
"In the 1980s, Hasbro entered into an agreement with the Good Shepherd Sisters in Waterford to provide materials for packaging by our residents," said the Good Shepherd Sisters in a statement. "The residents who participated in this activity were regularly given what was then known as their 'Hasbro money envelope'."
The Good Shepherd Sisters said that the order "in no way profited from this commercial relationship with Hasbro, which ended in 2012".
A former factory employee from Hasbro Ireland said her mother had been housed by the Good Shepherd Sisters and had also packaged Hasbro toys, but for "pocket money rather than wages".
The former employee, who asked not to be named, also claimed that the women who worked on the site of the Good Shepherd convent in Waterford worked longer hours than employees in Hasbro’s Waterford factory
When asked about its business relationship over three decades with the Good Shepherd Sisters in Waterford, [Hasbro] said that it had no direct commercial involvement with the order. Instead, the company said, it had a business relationship with Rehab, a charity that aims to help those with a disability in the workforce.
Julie Duffy, a spokeswoman for Hasbro Inc, said: "Rehab in Waterford, many years ago, approached Hasbro to provide small work tasks for the clients they serve. Hasbro viewed this as a community service."
Duffy said that, between 1999 and 2008, Hasbro paid Rehab approximately €25,000 a year.
For 15% off games from HasbroToyShop.com, use promo code “GAMES2017”.
HasbroToyShop.com also runs an eBay store front where many games are discounted more than at its namesake web site.
Here’s a coupon for 15% off at Toys “R” Us that’s good through tomorrow.
Dog Might Games Huge Inventory Sale means 20% off all in-stock items.
- Medieval Academy from Iello for 49% off.
- Catan from Catan Studios for 47% off.
- 7 Wonders from Asmodee for 48% off.
- Mage Knight from WizKids for 45% off.
- For Crown & Kindgom from Rio Grande Games for 55% off.
- Roll For the Galaxy from Rio Grande for 41% off.
- Medina from Stronghold for 43% off.
- Star Wars The Black Series Risk from Hasbro for 44% off.
- Lancaster from Queen Games for 70% off.
- Chicago Express from Queen Games for 74% off.
- Alhambra from Queen Games for 45% off.
- Porta Nigra from Stronghold for 50% off.
- Kalua from Passport for 61% off.
Blog and podcast giveaways:
- By The Giveaway Geek, one complete set of Star Realms, the base deck and both the Colony Wars and Gambit expansions.
- By Devetos Gaming, Vinhos Deluxe from Eagle-Gryphon Games.
- By Plan of ATK, a Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine Heavy Assault Set.
- By EverythingBoardGames, Clank! and the Sunken Treasures expansion from Renegade Game Studios.
- By MoneyMagpie (UK), a bundle of three games from Drumond Park: Dig In, All Star Family Fortunes, and Wordsearch.
- By Top Shelf Gamer, a $100 gift card.
- By Chilling With Lucas (UK), winner’s choice of Yeti in My Spaghetti, Googly Eyes, Word Has It, or 5 Second Rule Jr from University Games.
- By A Moment With Franca (UK), the same winner’s choice of games from University Games: Yeti in My Spaghetti, Googly Eyes, Word Has It, or 5 Second Rule Jr.
- By Meeples Like Us, a $50 Amazon gift card.
Dungeon Masters Guild Megabundle #2 highlights products from the top-30 bestselling community authors for 87% off.
Currently available at Bundle of Holding are two deals for 4th edition Champions, Essentials and Universe. To get the Bonus Collections of both will cost around $70 but between the two, you’d get more than 60 books. Also being offered by Bundle of Holding is Rocket Age, the RPG of retro-style science-fiction from Cubicle 7, and East Texas University, modern high school horror setting for Savage Worlds.
CoolStuffInc’s 15th Anniversary Celebration features many games at significant discount, such as Pandemic Legacy for 52% off, SeaFall for 56% off, and a MtG Modern Masters 2017 booster box for 21% off.
Through the end of the month, furniture orders from Geek Chic qualify for free accessories.
ACD Distribution is giving away a Pokemon: Sun & Moon Elite Trainer Box.
At the Mensa Mind Games this past weekend in the Virginia suburbs outside Washington, DC, member judges played through and selected the following games as 2017 Mensa Select winners:
Amalgam from Simply Fun—A game in which the players, as wizards, try to collect sets of potion ingredients but have to rely on their memories of the ingredients they’ve already collected.
Around the World in 80 Days from Iello Games—A Spiel des Jahres winner from years ago (Hare & Tortoise), reproduced based on the Jules Verne novel. Players race around the board, moving forward and back as they wish. However, they must carefully plan to arrive back in London with the least amount of cash left in hand.
Clank! from Renegade Game Studio—A dungeon delve fantasy adventure game built on deck-building mechanisms.
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle from USAopoly—Another deck-building game, this one follows the novels with a series of cooperative games that get more complex and more difficult to beat as they progress.
Imagine from Gamewright—A party game where the giver-of-clues chooses an item from a card and then tries to illustrate the item by combining images and symbols with an overlay of transparent cards.
Modiphius Entertainment has announced plans for a tabletop miniatures war game based on the Fallout series of video games. Fallout Wasteland Warfare will have players commanding crews of 32 mm figures in player-vs-player, coop, and solo missions. No details on a delivery date.
by Hilko DrudeAs Latin American games are still fairly unknown outside their countries of origin, I have decided to do a Latin American new game round-up once in a while. If you have any news to share, please contact me (here or at gamenews at lidude dot net). Let's see how much interest there is for it.
The Geek Out Festival in Buenos Aires on the May 6, 2017 is the launch date for Corona de Hierro ("Iron Crown").
In this game by Franco Toffoli, the players assume the roles of nobles in the days of Charles III, last emperor of the Carolingian Empire. They try to extend their power bases in the battle for succession. Power in this card-based board game is gained by laying siege to castles, sending emissaries to the Pope or foreign powers, or controlling important prisoners. When somebody reaches for the crown, the most powerful player wins the game. The game was illustrated by Luis María Dumont and Emiliano Mariani and will be published by El Dragón Azul.
Another last minute announcement was made for the festival; it will also be the launch date for Geek Out! Masters by Matias Saravia, who was one of those geeks who triggered my interest in Latin American games. Geek Out! Masters is a press-your-luck game using the dice from the Geek Out! logo. The goal is to roll the number 42 (which is a die face) as often as possible. Other results can make this difficult by removing dice, flipping others over, or making you lose your entire score from the turn if you cannot remove them.
In the meantime, the three finalists for the Premio Alfonso X have been announced. Aside from the well-received Conejos en el Huerto and Mutant Crops, La Macarena made it into the finals. The judges had a lot to say about every participating game, and I agree to their assessment that La Macarena's main drawback is its length (which my family has house-ruled a little), while they suspect that Conejos en el Huerto might look deceptively like a children's game (not something that would ever have bothered me). I am certainly curious who will come out on top.
Brazil has its own game award as well. It's called Prêmio Ludopedia and there are two categories, one for the game of the year in general and another one for domestic games. In each category, there is a jury vote and a public vote. For the most recent awards this didn't matter as the jury and the public were in agreement. In the general Category, Terra Mystica won — I guess most of you are familiar with it — and the domestic prize went to Space Cantina by Fel Barros und Warny Marçano. Both designers have cooperated before, for instance with Sapotagem which I had the pleasure to play last year (a similar concept to Pi mal Pflaumen).
In Space Cantina, which was illustrated by Lucas Ribeiro and published by Ace Studios, the players try to successfully manage a restaurant in a giant space station. Planning your menu can't be all that easy when your next customer might very well be a robot...
A much noted new release is D.50: Las Redes del Reich ("The Network of the Reich"), a partly cooperative game about Nazi spies who infiltrate Chile during WWII. One of the players is playing such a spy, while the others represent the police unit D.50 and try to put a stop to the spy's evil plan. The game is based on historical events and was sponsored by the Fondo Nacional para el Desarrollo Cultural y las Artes (FONDART), which could be translated as "National Foundation for Cultural Development and Arts". In Chile, the release date (April 15th) seems to be eagerly awaited. Publisher Cuatro Quesos ("Four Cheese") consists of three people (Diego Aravena, Isadora Cárdenas and Wladimir Gárate) as well as "fun and creativity".
Careta ("Mask") is a game by Nico Valdivia Hennig, released by Niebla Games on March 30, 2017. Niebla Games is currently working on a computer game named Causa, and Careta is set in the same fantasy universe. Says Valdivia:
Careta was born with the desire to simulate the experience that traditional games are known for. This is why we’ve drawn inspiration from traditional games such as Truco, Cheat, and Liar's Dice to create a game that, despite its novelty, gives a sensation of an ancient tradition.
To accomplish this, it was decided to set the game in the vast universe of our most ambitious project: Causa, Voices of the Dusk. Within the world of Causa, Careta is one of the greatest legacies of the Rumah culture, an ethnicity loaded with mysticism that is known for its cleverness, seafaring mores, and their aptitude for business. Due to this, Careta holds this mystic character of the Rumah, serving not only as a game, but also a tool for divination and narration of their most ancient traditions.
Careta was illustrated by Thomas Heim, Víctor Peña, Julio del Río and Sebastian Rodriguez.
Another recent release is Los Tesoros del Rey Pirata ("The Treasures of the Pirate King") by Pablo Céspedes and Víctor Hugo Cisternas. Players are moving across an archipelago and collect treasure maps, which should ideally be as valuable as possible. Since the other players try the same, it is advisable to challenge them to duels or open fire outright (in order to be able to steal hand cards or treasures). To execute an action, you need a number, with the numbers being printed on the cards. If you need a specific number, you can discard a hand card with that number. If you are somewhat more adventurous, you may as well just draw a card from the stack and use whatever number comes up. Illustrations are by Dan Rodriguez, and the publisher is Ludoismo.
There She Is!! is the name of a mini-series of five short Korean films about the love of a rabbit and a cat who try to overcome the resentment and racism of society at large. (You can watch it here.) Strange stuff, but it's got its fans; in Costa Rica, for example, where iN'sanity Games has dedicated its second game to the series. Players cooperatively try to help the unusual couple. A Kickstarter campaign is being prepared for it. As until a few days ago, I had never heard of the films, I cannot judge the size of the target group, but the looks of this are so unusual that I'll keep an eye on it. It will be published in Spanish, Korean and English. The designer is Yo Leiten.
On later days at this event, I did see others playing Decrypto over and over again, with some saying it was their favorite game of the show. Here's what I missed out on and what we all can now anticipate:
Players compete in two teams in Decrypto, with each trying to correctly interpret the coded messages presented to them by their teammates while cracking the codes they intercept from the opposing team.
In more detail, each team has their own screen, and in this screen they tuck four cards in pockets numbered 1-4, letting everyone on the same team see the words on these cards while hiding them from the opposing team. In the first round, each team does the following: One team member takes a code card that shows three of the digits 1-4 in some order, e.g. 4-2-1. They then give a coded message that their teammates must use to guess this code. For example, if the team's four words are "pig", "candy", "tent", and "son", then I might say "child-mouth-tail" and hope that my teammates can correctly map those words to 4-2-1. If they guess correctly, great; if not, we receive a black mark of failure.
Starting in the second round, a member of each team must again give a clue about their words to match a numbered code. If I get 2-4-3, I might now say, "sucker-finger-grass". The other team then attempts to guess our numbered code — not the hidden words themselves, only the numbers! If they're correct, they receive a white mark of success; if not, then my team must guess the number correctly or take a black mark of failure. (Guessing correctly does nothing except avoid failure while giving the opposing team information about what our hidden words might be.)
The rounds continue until a team collects either its second white mark (winning the game) or its second black mark (losing the game). Games typically last between 4-7 rounds.
• U.S. game publisher and manufacturer of other things Mattel will be at Gen Con 2017 in August. Yes, Mattel! "As you know, the hobby market has really begun to grow recently", game designer Nick Hayes, who develops titles for Mattel, told me. "It's an exciting time for the gaming community, and we'd like to be a part of that." Mattel will debut Hayes' Wizards Wanted at Gen Con, while also featuring Marc André's Sail Away (which debuted in German at SPIEL 2016), and Brian Yu's Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters, with a new mini-expansion for GFTH being available at the show. Yu also designed this mini-expansion, which consists of four new gameplay variants that can be added to the base game.
• On May 25, 2017, Fully Baked Ideas — the adults-only imprint of Looney Labs — will release Stoner Loonacy, a marijuana-themed version of Andy Looney's real-time card game Loonacy. In the game, everyone has a hand of cards with two images on them. One or more face-up discard piles are started based on the number of players, then everyone free fires cards from their hand onto a discard pile as long as one of the images on their played card matches one of the images on the card on top of the discard pile. The first player out of cards wins.
Obviously the particular images in Loonacy don't affect the gameplay, so you could make a version of the game with anything you like on the cards. On its website, Looney Labs has a page for what it calls "Game Store Loonacy", with game stores being able to order custom copies of Loonacy that feature the game store logo as one of the 22 images in the game, with the other images being somewhat generic game bits. These games could be used as giveaways during an event or a freebie if someone spends $X in the store. I'm confident that if you approached Looney Labs with 22 custom images, you could probably get them to manufacture an entirely custom version for you. Create your own wedding favors!
• Late news here, but in February 2017 Pegasus Spiele announced that it would release select titles from Finnish publisher Lautapelit.fi in German in addition to now handling all distribution of Lautapelit.fi titles in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Rustan Håkansson's Nations: The Dice Game will be the first such release — as Nations: Das Würfelspiel naturally — in June 2017, with German-language versions of Eclipse and Nations due out before the end of 2017.
• In vaguely game-related news, in August 2017 Oni Press will debut the first issue of Dead of Winter, a comic book based on the Plaid Hat Games title, with the comic featuring the exploits of Sparky the Stunt Dog. From the press release:
In the pantheon of heroes, none are more lovable and loyal than everyone's beloved good ol' dog, Sparky. Surviving in the wintery apocalypse of the undead, this former TV star turned zombie killing machine just wants to make friends and be a good boy. As his fellow survivors scavenge for supplies in the frigid wasteland, will Sparky be able to protect his companions from threats both undead and not yet undead?