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Dragon’s Peak #10 – Biblios Dice and More

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Dragon's Peak - Logo

It’s been a couple weeks since my last issue of Dragon’s Peak and there were a lot of exciting announcements in that time. This will likely be the last issue for the year so that I can catch up on reviews and year-end musings. Enjoy one last peak at upcoming games for the year and I’ll see you here again in 2015!

 

Here’s what I’ll be covering this week:

The HighlightBiblios Dice

 

The Highlight

My standout from this week’s batch of upcoming games was:

Biblios Dice

Biblios Dice - CoverBiblios Dice - Preview

Dr. Finn’s Games
Steve Finn
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Kickstarter - Link Icon Kickstarter

Many of you may have heard of Biblios, a game that started as Scripts & Scribes before getting picked up by IELLO and receiving a graphical upgrade. It’s a fantastic filler that combines card drafting, push-your-luck, auctioning, and set collection with a dynamic scoring element that lets players control the value of each set.  Back in 2012 it was followed up with Scripts & Scribes: The Dice Game which I was skeptical of because I’m weary of any “dice version”. I ended up trying it because of my love for Biblios and I was pleasantly surprised.

I’ve been waiting for the dice game to get picked up by IELLO so that it could receive the same graphical treatment as Biblios. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Dr. Finn is doing it himself with a Kickstarter that started this week. In fact, I was so excited that when it showed up on Kickstarter I was the very first backer!

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Along with the graphical upgrade Biblios Dice is also getting some rule tweaks that differentiate it from Scripts & Scribes: The Dice Game. Here’s a handy summary of the differences for those already familiar with the predecessor. I’m very excited for both the beautiful new artwork and the streamlined ruleset. I’d encourage anyone that loves Biblios (or clever fillers) to give this one a look.

 

Game Discoveries

I’m keeping my descriptions mostly brief this week.

Artifacts, Inc.

Artifacts Inc - CoverArtifacts Inc - Preview

Red Raven Games
Ryan Laukat
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Kickstarter - Link Icon Kickstarter
Rules - Icon Rules

I got my first taste of of Ryan Laukat’s designs earlier this year with The Ancient World, a quick playing worker placement/tableau building game.  His newest offering seems to fall closer to The Ancient World than his sprawling City of Iron and Empires of the Void or ultra fast Eight Minute Empire. Artifacts, Inc. is a dice-as-workers game of expedition and curating that comes. You’ll immediately recognize Ryan’s signature art style on the beautifully illustrated cards that make up your archaeological adventures.

Design Town

Design Town - CoverDesign Town - Preview

Homosapiens Lab
Chen Zhifan
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek

This cute looking deck builder adds a push your luck element to the genre by using a draw-until-you-bust phase to determine your hand for the turn. At the moment it’s a bit tough to get in the states but there are rumors that it’s being picked up by Tasty Minstrel Games for proper US distribution in 2015.

ExoPlanets

ExoPlanets - CoverExoPlanets - Preview

Board&Dice
Przemysław Świerczyński
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek

Board&Dice made a splash at this year’s Essen with the uniquely themed Dice Brewing. Their follow-up, ExoPlanets, lets players explore the cosmos by developing and maintain their own planetary system. Manage the climate conditions on your planets to create life and utilize the various cosmic elements (water, atmosphere, asteriod, and light) to prosper.

Scythe

Scythe - Cover 2Scythe - Preview

Stonemaier Games
Jamey Stegmaier, Alan Stone
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

In case you missed this stunning artwork and the announcement for Stonemaier’s upcoming game let me draw your attention to Scythe. That ominous scene comes from the alternate history of the 1920’s and invites us to imagine what this brutal and fantastic world is like. For those wondering about the gameplay we have the brief description of “Agricola meets Kemet” to get us dreaming about how immersive and amazing this game might be. Based on the strength of their previous work (Viticulture, Euphoria) I’m excited to see what Jeremy and his team can pull off.

Three Kingdoms Redux

Three Kingdoms Redux - CoverThree Kingdoms Redux - Preview

Starting Player
Christina Ng Zhen Wei, Yeo Keng Leong
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

For those looking for something a little more historically accurate look no further than the equally beautiful and intriguing Three Kingdoms Redux.

Here’s the official Press Release straight from the folks at Starting Player:

Designers Christina Ng Zhen Wei and Yeo Keng Leong are launching their first board game, Three Kingdoms Redux, under Starting Player. The game is set to launch on 20th November 2014 (GMT +8) via Starting Player’s online store. Gamers can expect to experience the role of a lord during the Three Kingdoms period via various game mechanics including bidding, worker placement and variable player power.

Three Kingdoms Redux is a 3-player euro game that has gone through a development process of approximately four years and more than 200 sessions of playtests. Details of the designers’ four year journey can be read here. Starting Player’s online store will feature the game at a discounted price of SGD 70 (approximately USD 55; £34; €43) and includes a copy of a limited edition illustration booklet (while stocks last). Free or lower shipping (depending on region) is also available for bulk purchases, a special deal for the launch.

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About the Game:

Three Kingdoms Redux is a board game that seeks to recreate the tripartite between the states of Wei, Wu and Shu. You assume the role of one of the three lords – Cao Cao leading Cao Wei, Sun Jian leading Eastern Wu or Liu Bei leading Shu Han. Players start the game from asymmetrical positions, reflecting the manpower advantages Wei enjoyed in the early part of the period. The weaker states of Wu and Shu protect themselves by forming an alliance. The make-up of the alliance may change as the game progresses, depending on the game situation after each round. As a feudal lord, you manage the different aspects of running a state, such as domestic development, building up the military, gaining ranks and support of the people, constructing state enhancements, trading etc., whilst guarding your borders against both rebellious border tribes and external enemies. Managing each aspect well earns victory points for your state.

But beware, for the balance of power shifts constantly during the game. Understand and take advantage of the power shifts, and you will fulfill your grand ambition of reunifying China!

Number of players: 3
Duration: 135 – 165 min
Recommended ages: 14+

Links:

Starting Player online store: Three Kingdoms Redux Product Page
Starting Player website: Starting Player
Boardgamegeek page: Three Kingdoms Redux page on BGG
Three Kingdoms Redux’s Artwork: Examples of artwork and Image Gallery
Rationale behind Three Kingdoms Redux’s design: Explanation of Theme
YouTube Channel: Starting Player YouTube Channel
Google Plus: Starting Player Google+

About the Publisher:

 Starting Player is a Singaporean board game designing and publishing business founded by Christina Ng Zhen Wei in 2012. The designers, Yeo Keng Leong and Christina Ng Zhen Wei, enjoy board gaming and hope to expose more people to the hobby via their game designs. Starting Player’s mission statement: “Reconnecting people, Reactivating minds”.

 

First Looks

Elysium

Elysium - Cover

Image from Metagames
Image from Metagames

Space Cowboys
Matthew Dunstan, Brett J. Gilbert
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek

If you were wondering how Space Cowboys would follow up the accessible and streamlined Splendor you can get a glimpse at their upcoming game in this preview over at Metagames. Elysium looks to be a bit more involved but still following a pretty streamlined card driven, tableau building system. It maintains the beautiful illustrations of Splendor while hopefully offering a deeper experience.

Viceroy

Viceroy - CoverViceroy - Preview

Hobby World
Yuri Zhuravlev
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules
Kickstarter - Link Icon Kickstarter

One of the games that I’ve been most excited about from Spiel 2014 has been picked up by Mayday and is running a very successful Kickstarter so far. Check it out for several reviews of this pyramid building game.

 

Rulebook Corner

I’ve been meaning to give a more thorough reading of the rules for these two beautiful games. They both come from relatively new independent publishers/designers that I’m very excited about. Hopefully I can come back and fill in more details this weekend but for now I’ve provided links so you check out the rules for yourself.

Forge War

Forge War - CoverForge War - Preview

Cephalofair Games
Isaac Childres
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

In Forge War you’ll support the exciting life of adventurers by supporting them with the weapons of their trade and aiding their quests. These quests are investments in themselves and will become more difficult over the course of the game.

Shadow Throne

Shadow Throne - CoverShadow Throne - Preview

Nothing Sacred Games
Teale Fristoe
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Shadow Throne is a game of shifting alliances where players support warring factions but are free to switch sides during the battle. Players draft cards and then play them simultaneously to side with and influence the factions. It sounds incredibly innovative and is accompanied with vivid artwork.

 

I love optimization and engine games with tableau builders and card driven ones being my favorite. This usually means medium-heavy euros and medium-light card games.

Discussion2 Comments

    • Andrew

      I’m seriously tempted and may just end up spending “Christmas Money” to justify it. I’ve been on a Kickstarter binge lately and tried to call it quits for 2014 several times already. Recently:
      Biblios Dice
      oddball Aeronauts 2
      Lanterns
      Keyflower: The Merchants/The Farmers
      Outer Earth

      We’ll see what 2015 will be like. Stupid Dragon’s Peak research has ended up costing me money on all these great games.

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