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News Bits: 11/18/2013

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This week’s NEWS is a little light, unless you follow the rabbit holes in the first link (which is what I did…):

Board Game Geek posts Essen coverage [Link] Here’s a list of the videos in one spot. I’m not gonna lie: I’ve come away with more than a few games added to my wishlist after watching some of these. I’m very grateful for this service since I was unable to attend.

Z-Man announces Pandemic: The Cure dice game coming in 2014 [Link] Apparently there will be a tournament using prototypes of the dice game at BGG Con in advance of the game’s mid 2014 release. This doesn’t look that exciting to me, but then again, neither does Pandemic (and that game is great).

Jamey Stegmaier steps into full-time role with Stonemaier Games [Link] Jamey announced this on his personal blog, and I couldn’t be happier for him and his company. Viticulture is a very good game, and I have high hopes for Euphoria. I wish him the best of luck in this endeavor.

Bellwether Games releases Antidote print-and-play [Link] The game looks interesting, and it’s hard to beat the price. A print run is scheduled in January for those who don’t want to assemble their own games.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Top ten signs you’re addicted to board gaming, Article on patching games, Battle Beyond Space review, Fealty review, Interview with Lance Hill, The Name on the Box Top: Bruno Faidutti] We had an overstuffed week last week. This week should be a regularly stuffed week with three reviews and a guide. Keep slaying!

Kickstarters of Note

  • Dungeon Roll: Winter Promo Pack: This is a really cool idea if you like Dungeon Roll. These promos are winter themed, with characters like Jack Frost and Santa. It’s pay what you want, but the donations start at $2 in the US.
  • Templar Intrigue: This is another Tasty Minstrel “Quickstarter,” and it’s another pay what you want. This time on offer is a hidden-identity microgame. Donations start at $2 in the US.
  • Brew Crafters: It’s always an event when Dice Hate Me Games launches a new Kickstarter, and Brew Crafters is no exception. This is a worker placement game about running a brewery. $60.
  • Kings of Israel: This is a cooperative game set in the northern kingdom of ancient Israel. It looks Pandemic-like, and the theme is interesting. $45.
  • DarkStar: This is a space civilization game that looks pretty cool, albeit a bit pricey. $75.
  • Two Rooms and a Boom: This social game smashed its funding goal and has tripled it in the short time it has been on Kickstarter. It looks like a game in the vein of The Resistance and Werewolf. $20.
  • Dreaming Spires: The theme of this one will sound boring to some, but I think it sounds awesome. This game is all about building your college of Oxford and attracting famous scholars. $49.
  • The Manhattan Project: Digital Edition: The Manhattan Project is one of the best worker placement games I’ve played (see my review), and now it’s on its way to iPad and Android tablets. $10.
  • Dark Horse: Rebels and Rogues: This Kickstarter is for the expansion to Dark Horse (reviewed here). Looks to add some interesting bits with reputation. $25.
  • Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age: Tom Lehman’s sequel to Matt Leacock’s Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age is here. It’s very pricey, but might be worth it if you liked the original. (I liked the original, but if this is on a similar difficulty level, I find the price tag prohibitive.) $50.
  • Stak Bots expansion: On Kickstarter is an expansion to Stak Bots. I’ve not played the game, but it looks cool, and if you have the original game, this will add more to it. 12 GBP.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Rise of Augustus: I bought this game with birthday money because I was intrigued by the “Roman Bingo” premise. After playing three games (two with my lunch group, one at game night), I’m still not sure what to think about this one. It has the good parts of Bingo included (the thrill of anticipation, of wishing for your number to be called), but it also has the bad part–and more of it, since that’s where the decisions come in. (The game stops when someone calls “Ave Caesar.” The game resumes once that player has chosen rewards and a new objective.) I’m not wowed by the design, but I’m eager to play it some more to see if it improves. (FarmerLenny)
  • Spyrium: My wife and son were out of town on Friday, so I had some people over to my house for games on the condition that we would play Spyrium. This was my first game with the maximum number of players, and I thought it was a blast. Most of my games so far have been with just two players. The game really opens up with more. In fact, the strategy that I employed is not as possible in a two-player game since there are fewer tokens placed on characters. In this game, I fully exploited the residence track. I climbed to the 7-income level quickly, then cashed in on it again and again for points. By the third or fourth round, I still didn’t own any buildings, but I had two techniques. At the end of the game, I owned one mine and zero factories–all of my buildings were either neighborhoods or prestige buildings, yet I was able to pull out the win through my residence track maneuver. I love this game. The maneuvering, the jockeying, the worker-placementy auctions. And it was the best yet with five. More, please. (FarmerLenny)
  • Dungeon Fighter: After our game of Spyrium, two of our group had to leave, so the three who remained pulled out Dungeon Fighter. Dungeon Fighter is a dexterity dungeon crawl that is meant to be silly, silly, silly. In our first game, we lost because we had to flick the dice off of our praying hands, which it turns out we’re all terrible at. After our humiliating defeat, we gave this one another go. We were kicking some major dungeon butt when we arrived at the boss. We bought all the white dice we could muster, healed ourselves as much as we could, and faced… Dungeon the Dragon, who has more hit points than any other boss. We got him down in health quite a bit, but in the process, my character fell. The other two guys got him down to two hit points with just one die left. It was Futurewolfie’s turn, and the air was thick with anticipation. Wolfie…choked. We ended up being fried to a crisp. Accusations flew, but we had a great time. I continue to enjoy Dungeon Fighter quite a bit. It includes just the right amount of silly to make the game a blast to play. (FarmerLenny)
  • Gravwell: We ended our night with two games of Gravwell. The first game was nothing new and ended quickly. Wolfie won (as usual in the games I’ve played). So in the second game, I entered with one priority: keep Wolfie from winning. I was doing a decent job at this, purposely playing cards that weren’t ideal for me but which I guessed would hurt him. I guessed correctly, and by the sixth round (the final one, which it is rare for experienced players to reach), all of us were just trying to keep the other guys from winning. We ended the game with no player escaping. All five ships (including the two junks) were in an immediate row–and Wolfie’s just happened to be closest to the exit. So I failed even in my moderate goal. Gravwell continues to impress, even though I’ve yet to win. (FarmerLenny)

I'll try anything once, but my favorite games are generally middleweight Euros.

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