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News Bits: 4/29/2013

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Another week, another NEWS:

Mensa announces its 2013 Mind Game Award winners [LinkMensa announced its Mind Game Awards this week, and the results are surprisingly gamer friendly. It’s no surprise to see a Gamewright game on the list, But Bezier Games? This bodes well for future awards.

Board Game Marketing on leaving the echo chamber [Link] This is a good word on the need to playtest your design, particularly among those who are not “invested” in the game.

How much is your board game collection worth? [Link] Father Geek posted this link to the tool. I (wisely) did not show my wife the results.

Man arrested for board game-related violence [Link] Sometimes people never grow out of being sore losers. Notably absent: the game that caused the dispute. Many on Twitter were positing that Monopoly was the culprit. My thought was Chutes and Ladders…

Virtual popularity and the route to Kickstarter [Link] James Mathe talks about building your brand prior to (and during) Kickstarter. There’s a ton of stuff and a lot of good advice here, though I disagree with some of his points on Twitter. (For example, I disagree that it’s okay to ask for follows or retweets, and an overabundance of hashtags looks like marketing.) On the whole, though, this is on the money. I know Twitter best, and while it can be used for marketing purposes, any regular Twitter user will be able to sort out good usage from bad usage. It’s easy to see those who are only on Twitter to hype their Kickstarter project: they appear from nowhere a few days before and disappear altogether once the project is finished. I’m sure Facebook (to a lesser extent) and Reddit are similar. The tough thing about social media is that they are social: people expect you to invest, to stick around. And no one likes to feel duped.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Dark Horse review, Ascension: Rise of Vigil review, Guide to Gaming: Teaching part 2] We posted two new reviews and the next in our popular Guide to Gaming last week. Coming up this week are a preview of Monster Moos (currently on Kickstarter), reviews of The Great Heartland Hauling Co. and Western Town, and the next in our Guide to Gaming series. Keep slaying!

Last week on iheartprintandplay [Player Character: Tiefling WarlordThe 6th and final player character set that I’m putting together is compete and ready for action! Up next on deck is a set of environmental pieces.

Kickstarters of Note
Lots of interesting projects this week:

  • Lincoln’s War: I don’t typically like war games, but this one looks like an interesting twist, with a storytelling element. $70 gets the game. (And check out our interview with the designer.)
  • Legendary Monsters: This game is based on various urban legends and has detailed miniatures included. This one does not look like my cup of tea (I’m not much one for horror stuff), but it might be yours. It’s already funded, and $25/piece gets you the miniatures to play the game.
  • Belfort: The Expansion Expansion: Belfort is a fantastic game, and Tasty Minstrel is now Kickstarting the expansion. You can get the game and expansion for $65; the expansion itself is $20.
  • Paradise Fallen: This is a new game from Crash Games.$25 buy-in.
  • Twin Tin Bots: This is the relaunch of a campaign from the designer of Small World. Lots of great miniatures are included, and the game looks fun (RoboRallyish, if you like that). $55 for the game.
  • The Resistance: Coup: I’ve written elsewhere about this excellent game. If you live in the United States, $15 is an excellent price for this game, shipped straight to your door. And it’s already hit several stretch goals. (My review is here.)
  • Creekos: This is a trick-taking game with a Greek mythology bent. The art looks great, and the game looks fun. $30 gets the game.
  • Francis Drake: This game looks really cool, though probably a bit more involved than my typical play groups would allow. The price is a bit steep, but it looks like there are definitely enough components to justify the price. $65 for the game.
  • Galactic Strike Force: This is the new game from Sentinels of the Multiverse creators Greater Than Games. There aren’t many details yet on this cooperative deck-building game, but I’m sure it’s worth following. $50 for the game, $80 for the game with minis.
  • Sum Wars: This looks like Bananagrams for math people. I, personally, love Bananagrams (and math), so this looks kind of cool. $20.
  • Monster Moos: This is a game of intergalactic cowboys and wrangling various different kinds of cows. The game itself looks very simple and straightforward, and the buy-in is low. $25.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Arctic Scavengers: I played this deck builder for the first time this week over lunch. After reading through the rules, I was expecting another Dominion clone, as the rules seemed pretty close, but I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, this game feels nothing like Dominion. Players vie for resources in a postapocalyptic wasteland by digging through junkpiles and fighting over precious necessities. This game is much more thematic and interactive than Dominion, and the focus is a lot different. I can’t wait to play this one again. (@FarmerLenny)
  • Unexpected Treasures: Okay, I admit it: that is just about the lamest name for a game. Even so, the game itself is very fun. The game is a quick filler about dumpster diving to get the best stuff to resell. Players have an identical set of action cards numbered 0-6 and simultaneously choose one. The lower numbers get first choice, but the higher numbers get to keep more stuff from the junkyard. If players choose the same number only one of them gets to go to the junkyard. I played this game with five and six players, and it was awesome. My hopes are high that this will enter the regular filler rotation. (@FarmerLenny)
  • Galaxy Trucker: I decided to give this guy a shot with my parents, who aren’t exactly gamers. I figured it would be a little rough but worth the effort. Unfortunately I made a big teaching faux pas and did not make it clear how much wanton destruction there is in the game. If you’re not familiar with Galaxy Trucker, it’s about building a ship with square tiles that connect, sort of like Carcassonne, with tiles needing to line up with the correct connections. And then you watch your ship fall to pieces as you take off and get hit with asteroids, attacks from space pirates, and deadly diseases. The fun is in watching everyone’s ship fall to pieces. Unfortunately I didn’t make this clear, which resulted in a lot of frustration while we were playing, and the game getting called early. Alas! (@Futurewolfie)
  • Netrunner: My normal gaming group washed out this week, so my Friday night gaming was a  two-player night. Fortunately, this was the perfect opportunity to try out Netrunner for the first time. I love the hacker theme and the Android universe (I just ran out of time and patience to play the 4-5hr Android board game ever), and so I’ve been salivating to try this one out. I played the corporation while my buddy Blake took on the runner, both of us complete rookies. After a rough start with terrible plays, we both got our systems going–I setup a remote server with huge levels of defense with a few other servers giving me regular income, and I managed to protect a few Agendas and quickly advance them before they could be hacked. Meanwhile, Blake built up a pretty good system of storing up credits and then launching major attacks against various servers. Several of his runs came close to stealing my best agendas, and he definitely ruined my source of income, but too little too late and I managed to score my 7 points worth of agendas. I really enjoyed this game and we’re both looking to exploring the game in future plays and getting into deckbuilding. (@Futurewolfie)
  • Tsuro: I introduced Tsuro to my family, including my six-year-old nephew (the kid has a brain for things, man. It’s crazy.) The simpleness and fastness of the game was a big hit with him, and we played four or five times over the course of the afternoon, with different victors each time. It’s always good to get another game on the list of games that my nephew is excited about, and so if you have younger kids Tsuro might be worth checking out. (@Futurewolfie)
  • Dream Factory: I organized a game day at my office with a couple other guys and their families, and we mostly played games from my collection, so I took the role of game teacher. I’ve found that this one goes over very well with a lot of crowds due to the movie theme and intuitive game play. Everyone had a blast reading all the fake movie titles and actors. This was requested several more time throughout the day, always a good sign! (Andrew)
  • Through the Desert: This is another great game to bring out with most groups. The delicious looking camel pieces really help to sugarcoat this tense abstract. I usually encourage people to play quickly in their first game because you can really overthink it while you’re still learning. Luckily, the game went quickly, and there was very little blocking, so everyone seemed to enjoy it. I personally like this one more on the aggressive side, but it’s good to play nice when you’re teaching. (Andrew)
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I'll try anything once, but my favorite games are generally middleweight Euros.

Discussion3 Comments

  1. I’m sad to hear about your Galaxy Trucker experience. I tried it out with my family some years ago and we only made it through the first round before calling it. It’s since settled into the once-or-twice-a-year role. I ended up getting Mondo recently to attempt filling in something that’s more family friendly. It went over really well but obviously doesn’t have the same punch as Galaxy Trucker. I hope to some day get a group that loves it as much as me so I can try out the expansions.

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