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News Bits: 3/31/2014

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This week’s NEWS:

Stronghold Games announces digital play, expansion, and web comic in Core Worlds universe [LinkThis seems like a fairly big announcement, with expansion for the game beyond the board game sphere. I’ve not yet had a chance to play this one, but I’ve heard good things about it. Certainly worth checking out once it’s available on digital devices (Android, please?).

Gil Hova (Prolix, Battle Merchants) discusses competitive imbalance [LinkEver wonder why there’s tension in your group when you get together to play board games? Competitive imbalance could be the culprit. Hova diagnoses the disease and offers a cure. This is a great article. It’s given me new perspective on some problems I’ve noticed in my game groups and offered suggestions to combat them.

Ludicreations announces Essen, a board game about the annual game fair [LinkIn a very meta move, Ludicreations will be publishing Essen in which players act as publishers preparing for the annual game fair. This one is intriguing to me. I’m excited to hear more about it.

Kevin Nunn (Rolling Freight) looks at using icons vs. text in game design [Part 1, Part 2Another great series. I tend toward preferring icons, but usually because I will play a game numerous times, making the initial investment in language learning worth it. I think icons are harder to teach and harder for casual players to understand than text (which effectively places 7 Wonders in the Kennerspiel category, where it belongs), but I tend to prefer them. Compare San Juan to Race for the Galaxy. Race for the Galaxy, while so obscure at first, is much easier to parse once you know the icon system because you can see at a glance what your tableau can do. San Juan is easier to understand on first blush, but the text is more obtrusive in future plays.

Dale Yu discusses developing board games on the TableTop Day blog [LinkYu developed Dominion and Suburbia, and he details his experience as a developer. He compares his job to a book editor’s, which seems apt.

Grant Rodiek (Farmageddon) examines analysis paralysis [LinkI’m pretty patient with most kinds of players, but analysis paralysis is one thing that drives me crazy. (See: 3-hour game of Carcassonne without expansions.) This is a good article with some tips on how to speed your snail players along. 

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Voluspa: Order of the Gods review, Dice & Daggers review, The Ancient World preview, Why Why Why?! direct player interaction makes games betterWe had a full week with lots of good stuff last week. This week we’ll have three reviews, an interview, and an article looking at Reiner Knizia’s auction trilogy. Keep slaying!

 

Kickstarters of Note

  • Hoyuk: This is a tile-laying game that has won some awards and looks beautiful. $50.
  • Lineage: The Martial Arts Strategy Game: This one looks very nice. You’re a martial arts master trying to pass on your knowledge to your student to preserve your lineage. $39.
  • Cheesonomics: A Euro game about cheese! I love the look and design of this one. $29.
  • Manifest: This game looks simply gorgeousThe art is by professional Franz Vohwinkel, and the setting and theme look great. Jason wrote a preview of it. ~$58 (the campaign is in NZD).
  • The Ancient World: Andrew has been involved in the playtesting of this game, and it looks stunning (as is usually the case from Ryan Laukat). (Here’s Andrew’s preview.) $50.
  • Baseball Highlights 2045: A new game by Mike Fitzgerald. Honestly, I’m not a baseball fan, and this one didn’t interest me at all until I read this appreciation from Tom Lehman (Race for the Galaxy). Now my interest is piqued, if nothing else. $32.
  • Epic Resort: I love the theme and art of this new game from Floodgate Games (Legacy: Gears of Time). This is a worker placement game about heroes on vacation. Very reasonably priced at $40.
  • Big games for little pockets: The newest campaign from Dice Hate Me Games is for six 54-card games, packaged as two three packs or one six pack. They’re from a good crop of up-and-coming designers, and they are priced to sell. $25/3-pack, $50/all six.
  • Tuscany: I received word about this one from the Stonemaier Games e-mail list. When I clicked over to the Kickstarter page, I watched it crossing the finish line–sixteen minutes after launch! This game has been crushing all its goals, and it looks fantastic. The base game is very good (our review), so I suspect this one is worth getting as well. $45.
  • Pay Dirt: The new game from the designer of Alien Frontiers, Pay Dirt has players mining for gold in the Klondike. Looks interesting. $50.
  • Sentinel Tactics: The Flame of Freedom: This is the tactical superhero board game experience you’ve been waiting for. It’s set in the world of Sentinels of the Multiverse, and it’s smashing its goals. Also, the video is awesome. Various pledge levels ($100 gets you the game and all the minis, which looks like a great deal, but there are also more affordable options).
  • Blind-accessible board games: This Kickstarter is for some hacks (including card sleeves with braille on them) to make board games more accessible to those who are blind. Various pledge levels.
  • 1st & Goal digital: R&R Games is Kickstarting the digital edition of their popular tabletop football game, and it’s coming to iOS AND Android. (I love when Android gets some love.) Here’s our review of the analog game. Various pledge levels available.
  • The Big Time: This is an auction game set in the world of Vaudeville. The art looks beautiful, and the game has previously been available as a PnP, so it looks legit. $45.
  • Chopstick Dexterity Mega Challenge 3000: How can you not fall in love with a game with a title like that? This is the newest dexterity game from Mayday Games, and if it’s as good as their others (see: Crokinole, Click Clack Lumberjack, and Coconuts), it will be a hit. $32.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Innovation: Echoes of the Past: I’ve been playing a lot of Innovation lately with my coworkers, but we’ve not yet had a chance to try the expansion, mostly because new players seem to always be coming in and out. This past Monday, there were four veterans, so we decided to give it a shot. And…I didn’t like it. Hoo boy, there’s a lot in that expansion. The rules aren’t all that difficult to read and understand, but the game has to be learned all over again. The interactions are complex, and I felt lost the whole time. In addition, we weren’t anywhere near finished in the lunch hour. My initial suspicion seems to have been true: some games just don’t need to be expanded. I think I’m content to play the base game by itself from now on. Anyone have a dissenting opinion on this? I’m eager to be proved wrong. (FarmerLenny)
  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf: We played this for our Friday lunch game last week, and my coworkers were eager to give it another go, although we had two new players this time. In all three games I was a villager, yet in all three games my fellow villagers put me to death, despite my being right about who was a werewolf! Still, the villagers came out on top each game. I’m really liking this game. As long as there’s a cap on discussion time, it doesn’t go too long, and games are quick and satisfying. This is a great microgame adaptation of the bigger game, and the free Android/iOS app makes it even better. (No memorizing an ever-changing script!). I’m a big fan of this one. I’ll give it a full review soonish (once I try it with more and fewer players). (FarmerLenny)
  • Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island: I saved Jenny. But then I died a horrible, horrible death at the hands of starvation. I am not made to survive desert island life. (FarmerLenny)

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

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