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News Bits: 4/28/2014

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WizKids discusses Marvel Dice Masters shortage, offers workaround [Shortage, WorkaroundSo the big news this week is that Marvel Dice Masters is out. Seriously, everyone is talking about it and trying to get their mitts on it, and really, it looks like…Quarriors. Collectible Quarriors. I don’t get the hoopla. But hey! I don’t have to because people are already selling stuff on the secondary market at a premium. Anyway, WizKids talked with The Escapist Magazine about the shortage and has offered interested players a way to try the game while waiting for the wider availability of starter kits. Or you could try Quarriors and then play something else.

The Opinionated Gamers interview Paolo Mori (Libertalia, Rise of Augustus) [Link] It’s interesting for me to read how different designers approach game design, and this interview with Paolo Mori is no exception. I am surprised that he considers Rise of Augustus his best game so far–I was unimpressed, but I love, love, love Libertalia. (Of course, I’m in the minority…again.) 

Ben McJunkin (Opinionated Gamers) looks at Alchemists [Link] And some other prototypes from the Gathering of Friends, but really, Alchemists is the show-stealer here. Apparently it’s a deduction game set in the world of magical academia, and it uses ancillary devices in a novel way. I love this game’s theme and can’t wait to try it.

Matt Leacock presents lessons on board games and user design to LinkedIn [LinkI didn’t watch the full presentation, but I think this will be valuable to some in the game designer community.

Uwe Rosenberg (Agricola) details the development of Agricola [LinkThis is a pretty thorough run-through of Rosenberg’s process for developing Agricola, one of the top board games of all time according to Board Game Geek.

Board Game Geek news previews Time Stories [LinkWhile time travel is not something I enjoy as a plot device, I find the concept utterly fascinating in board games. Last week I shared a link about Tragedy Looper; this time it’s Time Stories, coming soon from Space Cowboys (who made Splendor). This is another game I can’t wait to try.

7 reasons board games are better than a deck of cards [LinkIn response to Jason’s provocative article 10 Reasons a Deck of Cards Is Better than a Board Game, Chris at Today in Board Games posted 7 reasons board games are better than a deck of cards. A nice rebuttal (and I tend to align more with Chris on this one…especially since I’m more a Pinochle man than a Euchre man <*GASP*>).

Jenga improves with the addition of a chess clock [LinkNo, seriously. Watch the video. Of course, most games with analysis paralysis could improve using this method. Chess clock Carcassonne, for example.

 

The five worst single-player games of all time [LinkWhat happens when your friends don’t show up for game night? You play what you had scheduled to play by yourself, of course! I love this piece from Board Game Geek.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Think Again review, Quantum review, Seasons: Path of Destiny review, 10 reasons a deck of cards is better than a board gameLots of good stuff last week with more to follow this week. Keep slaying!

Kickstarters of Note

  • Dreamland Chronicles Digital TCG: This Kickstarter campaign is looking to turn the Dreamland Chronicles comic book series into a digital TCG app. The samples in the video look impressive. Various pledge levels available.
  • Dragon Slayer: This new dice game from Indie Boards & Cards looks interesting. It’s a traditional press-your-luck game except that the other players can goad you with pressures in-game into pressing farther than you would like. $10 (or $7 if you backed Coup: Reformation).
  • Escape: The Curse of the Temple Big Box: Queen Games is back on Kickstarter again with another campaign for the big box of the wildly successful game Escape (which we reviewed here). Escape is good, but the big box is pricey for a ten-minute game. $85.
  • Custom dice: This Kickstarter is pretty unusual. It’s to buy equipment for a business that will specialize in creating affordable custom engraved dice. It looks legit and pretty awesome. Various pledge levels
  • Heavy Steam: This is a minis game set in a steampunk world, but it looks surprisingly Euroy. It’s intriguing, to say the least. $75.
  • Eggs and Empires: A new trick-taking game from the designers of Fleet (our review). This looks like Libertalia distilled. The wonky theme is throwing me, but the game looks decent and the theme might be okay for you. $16.
  • Flick Wars: Flick Wars is the newest Kickstarter from Print & Play Productions. It looks like Ascending Empires (which won our Game of the Year award for 2011) with a much shorter playtime. We’ll have a preview up soon. $35.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Medici: This week has been busy at work, so I played only one game this week, our traditional Friday lunch game. Medici was suggested, and since we had six players on board, I was willing to play. (I refuse to play with fewer than five.) With six players, Medici just sings. Seriously. And for as boring as the box looks, Medici is perhaps the most raucous Reiner Knizia game. In this game, my strategy didn’t come into its own until the second round, when I climbed to the pinnacle of the green commodity pyramid. This, obviously, helped: 60 points in two rounds, plus whatever I could score in the ship evaluation. Unfortunately, my green gambit was not diverse enough for the varied economy of Medici. While I came in a noble second place, the first-place winner earned his victory through balance the whole game through. Seriously, folks: if you haven’t played Medici, you need to give it a try. It’s brilliant. (FarmerLenny)
  • Flick Wars: This Saturday was the monthly game night at Futurewolfie’s. We began our night with a four-player game of Flick Wars (currently on Kickstarter). Flick Wars is a dexterity game in the vein of Crokinole. Imagine Crokinole with an in-game resource economy and disc abilities. Since there were four of us, we decided to play an epic game on Wolfie’s big table, and we set plenty of terrain accordingly. Despite playing dexterity games frequently, I was terrible at Flick Wars. I felt sorry for my teammate, who was like River in a room full of Reavers. I, on the other hand, was sailing the solitary skies, missing easy shots, and being pummeled by our enemies. Despite how bad I was at the game, the game came to a nail-biting finish. My team lost, but just barely. Flick Wars was a riot. Again, I wasn’t good at it, but I enjoyed the interesting decisions related to the economy and abilities. I also liked that I was able to play a Crokinole-like game without hauling my Crokinole board around. I’ll have a full preview of this game up next week. (FarmerLenny)
  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf: We moved from flicking to fibbing at game night. Unlike previous groups I’ve taught ONUW to, this group jumped right into the lying and accusing. I think in most of my games to this point, I’ve played ONUW as if it were The Resistance, lying once and trying to maintain that facade through the entire game. In these games, untruths fell from my lips in rapid succession, all in an effort to get the other players at the table to betray who they were. And let me tell you, the game is even better when played on its own terms like this. We played three games on Friday night, and I probably would have been content to play for the entire night. It was a lot of fun to claim the Troublemaker and lie about whose roles I switched just to see their reactions. Of course, once players caught on to this, they were much slower to reveal information about themselves. The best round was the final one we played. At the table were two werewolves, the minion, the insomniac (me!), and a mason. Futurewolfie (that devious name…) was, aptly, a werewolf, but he claimed the Troublemaker with such believability that I never doubted him during the game. One of the other werewolves fumbled his way through the round, fully convincing me he was the minion. The actual minion claimed to be the insomniac, which I, of course, knew was a lie. In the end, all of us pointed at the Minion, and the big reveal had us talking and recounting the round for the next ten to fifteen minutes. This game is great, and I look forward to playing it even more. (FarmerLenny)
  • Damage Report: After ONUW, we wanted a longer game, so Wolfie taught us Damage Report. Damage Report was kickstarted by Break from Reality Games. It’s essentially a cooperative pick-up-and-deliver game that uses sand timers to limit player actions. Players are on board a ship that keeps taking damage, and they have to fulfill the objective of their scenario before their ship falls apart. I’m usually not a fan of pick-up-and-deliver games, and I didn’t like the sand-timer limitation of Time & Space, but Damage Report was surprisingly a lot of fun. Of course, it helped that there were six of us around the table, shouting orders at one another and trying to work together to get the repair material where it needed to go. It also helped that Wolfie was Baxter, world’s crappiest robot. His “power” is that his moves always take 30 seconds, which was helpful for… two minutes out of the forty-five minute game. With forty seconds left on the clock, we were able to repair the hyperdrive and leave the asteroid field before it destroyed our precious cargo. As I said, I enjoyed Damage Report (despite its not being my kind of game) and would be willing to play again. (FarmerLenny)
  • Coconuts: I’m old, and at 10:00, I realized that I had better start heading home. But “start heading home” means there is, of course, time for something short, so the four of us who were left busted out Coconuts. Coconuts is a ridiculous dexterity game of monkey catapults, cups, and coconuts. With four-players, the game changes quite a bit. In two players, you can almost always get the cups you need without stealing them from your opponents. This is all but impossible in a four-player game, so we were constantly sabotaging our opponents’ plans. Also, I realized that I’m not as good at this game as I first thought. While I have dominated many of my two-player games, I was crushed in the three four-player games we played. In fact, one player won all three–and this after he was complaining that he never won anything at game night. Yeah right, buddy. A full review is coming soon. (FarmerLenny)

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

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