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News Bits: 12/24/2012

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Oh, baby it’s Christmas…all over…again. But before you get trampled in last-minute shopping lines, take a look at this week’s news:

Hyperbole Games begins penpal prototype program [Link] If you have a prototype that needs playtesters and is in its alpha or beta state (read: not broken), this seems like a great way to get feedback.AEG posts previews of upcoming Smash Up cards [Link] The first preview is for the new faction Steampunks. This escape hatch looks like it could come in handy…

Stonemaier games shares five Kickstarter mistakes to avoid [Link] Despite their very successful campaign for Viticulture, Stonemaier Games shares five mistakes they made that impeded their funding. I know that I especially look for reviews during the funding process, so that one makes sense to me.

Donald X. Vaccarino (Dominion) responds to community questions [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3] This is an interview conducted over at the Dominion Strategy forum, so take that for what it is. A lot of the questions will matter to Dominion fans (fanatics?) specifically, probably less for general consumption. Still, there’s some interesting stuff here.

Days of Wonder offers replacement mass cards for Mystery of the Abbey [Link] Days of Wonder’s newest printing of Mystery of the Abbey has some misprinted cards. Here are details to get them replaced.

Tom Gurganus of Go Forth and Game interviews John Moller about Unpub [Part 1, Part 2] A good interview discussing–what else?–unpublished games and perhaps their biggest champion, John Moller.

Ares Games announces The Battle of the Five Armies [Link] War of the Ring fans rejoice! A new Middle-Earth themed game is coming your way, this one from The Hobbit. No word on whether the game or part one of the movie is longer.

Holidays and FLGSs [Link] As usual, good commentary on the FLGS from Black Diamond’s Gary Ray.

Kickstarters of Note

  • Candle QuestThis retheme of the game It’s Alive! has players seeking to fill their menorahs with candles. I’ve not played either game, but it involves auctions, and I’ve heard good things about It’s Alive! $25 gets you the game.
  • Pirates vs. Dinosaurs: I don’t know how I missed this one before (maybe it’s because genre mash-ups don’t excite me much), but this game looks kind of cool. The art, at any rate, looks well done. $55 gets you the game.
Completely Unrelated Awesomeness of the Week
I don’t usually discuss things I’ve played recently (except on Twitter), but I played four games last week, all new to me, all worthy of special mention (and three of which were Kickstarter successes):
  • Escape: The Curse of the Temple: My secret Santa from BGG sent me this. I played several games with my wife and thought it was a little easy. Then I played it with the full five players. Oh, boy, was it hard! In all cases, easy or difficult, this game is a BLAST. Expect a full review sometime in the future: if @Futurewolfie and I can pull ourselves away from it, that is.
  •  Chronicle: I don’t know how I missed this trick-taking game from Z-Man Games, but I recently acquired this in a math trade. I’ve only played once, but it was incredible. The theme is unimportant (though the artwork is cool). Basically, the game is three suits of ten cards and six non-suited wild cards. A history card each round gives the condition necessary for winning the hand, and then players try to meet that condition. The trick? Every card has a special ability on it.  This was kind of chaotic, but it was so much fun. I can’t wait to play it again.
  •  Chicken Caesar: This one is from Kickstarter. Players control chicken families who have organized their coop in a Roman system of government. Players try to use negotiation and backstabbery to maneuver their chickens into positions of power. This one was awesome (not just because I won). I highly recommend seeking this out.
  • The Manhattan Project: The Manhattan Project is a worker placement game with a few twists, not least of which is direct player conflict. Yes, you read that right: direct conflict in a Euro game. This would normally be a deal breaker (or at least a sour point) for me, but it really works in this game. As does the theme. Our game went slow (we had five players, all their first time), but I’m really looking forward to my next play.

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

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