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News Bits: 5/13/2013

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Another week packed with NEWS:

IELLO hosts King of Tokyo championship [Link] This is your chance to prove if you are, in fact, the King of Tokyo. Regional qualifiers with a final tournament at this year’s GenCon. I’m not enamored of this game, but @Futurewolfie likes it quite a bit.

The limits of Kickstarter (and how to work around them) [Link] This is another good article from Stonemaier games offering tips for how Kickstarter creators and backers can circumvent the limitations of the platform.

Fantasy Flight brings back Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Link] I missed out on this game the first time around. Seems like an interesting game. Anyone played it?

Stonemaier Games to Kickstart Euphoria [Link] Euphoria, a worker placement game whose tagline encourages players to “build a better dystopia,” will debut on Kickstarter this Wednesday. More information on the game and where to find it at the linked press release.

New board game cafe to open in Omaha, NE [Link] My sister lives about an hour away. I am past due for a visit… Challenge: How many titles in the pictured man’s library did you recognize? (Personal answer: not many!)

RPG publisher Eden Studios launches Kickstarter campaign for kid-friendly Adventure Maximus [Link] Jason has been watching this one pretty closely, and here’s what he has to say about it: 

Designer Francis Hogan specifically created this lighter role-playing game for parents to get their kids involved in the genre. Too many RPGs have cumbersome character creation and intimidating rules crunch that make it impossible to hook younger players. In Adventure Maximus, character and story generation are quick and painless with decks of cards that assign race, class, abilities, spells, items, locations, minions, and bosses. I’ve played this myself (see my Let’s Play Green Bay convention report), and Adventure Maximus is an exciting and wonderful “gateway” game into RPGs and will introduce the basics to your kids as they learn to grow into role-playing – even teaching them how to GM a session themselves! The mechanics are simple, accessible, and inspire creativity in your kids that will begin a journey into a wider world. For a contribution of $35, you’ll receive a physical copy of the boxed set.

Stronghold Games previews their Origins and GenCon releases [Link] My interest is especially piqued by Time & Space and the Space Cadets: Dice Duel. Who knew real-time board games would be so interesting? (Okay, video gamers, I guess…)

MTV Geek looks at board game expansions [Link] The value here is in the interviews conducted with games companies, who give a little behind-the-scenes information on their processes for determining when to expand a game.

The Opinionated Gamers interview Martin Wallace [Link] I’ve still not played a Martin Wallace game myself, but this was an interesting interview nonetheless.

The Daily Beast highlights Tammany Hall [Link] “Board games are going mainstream!” articles are prevalent and a dime a dozen. In-depth articles about specific games are rarer. Here’s one about the recently Kickstarted Tammany Hall.

James Mathe (Minion Games) suggests best practices for the board game industry [Link] This is a pretty good list. Do you see anything that’s missing?

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Lost Cities review, Pinata review, Ticket to Ride: Switzerland review, Guide: Multiplayer games that are great with two] Last week was two-player week on iSlaytheDragon, where we reviewed three two-player games and released another in our Guide to Gaming series. This week will see three more reviews and another guide. Keep slaying!

Kickstarters of Note
Lots of interesting projects this week:

  • 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.
  • Alien Frontiers: 4th Edition: This is a game that just can’t stay in print! Of course, with all of the lavish praise that’s been heaped upon it, it’s understandable. Game Salute is funding the fourth printing of this game now, and there are lots of great extras for current and new owners alike. Various pledges available.
  • Sum Wars: This looks like Bananagrams for math people. I, personally, love Bananagrams (and math), so this looks kind of cool. $20.
  • Moby Dick: The Card Game: It’s not often that my coworkers are privy to new board games sooner than I am, but one of them recently read and loved Moby Dick and the stars aligned for him to find this. It’s already very much overfunded. It looks a little too thematic (and thus fiddly) for me, and my eyes glaze over when boats are in books, but you may revel in this one. $30.
  • 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.
  • Canterbury: This one looks pretty heavy, but I love the theme and art. $60.
  • Railways Express: All those 18xx games are daunting before I even reach the XX, but this one might be more my speed. Then again, it might be too simple. Who knows? Worth checking out at $40.
  • Adventure Maximus: This family-friendly RPG comes highly recommended by Jason. $35 gets you the core set.
  • Archon: This new game from Artipia games looks very involved…but also very cool. $55 gets you the game in the USA.
  • Storyteller Cards: This is a normal deck of playing cards but with various options to encourage storytelling. $10.
  • Amerigo: Judging by the publisher, the designer, and how quickly this funded, I’m not sure this needed a Kickstarter to fund. (Seems like anything with Stefan Feld’s name on the front is a license to print money.) All that aside, this is a new game by Stefan Feld. $65 for the game.

What We’ve Been Playing:

  • Arctic Scavengers: I got in another game of this game this week. I was able to hire several thugs and fight hard for the contested resources. I’m not sure if runaway leaders will always be a problem, but I ran away with this game a little. Still, it was lots of fun and I really enjoy it. (FarmerLenny)
  • Medici vs. Strozzi: We had to run two games with my lunch group on Friday, and my coworker wanted to give this two-player “auction” game another go. Our pricing and bids were much more judicious, and it was neck and neck the entire game. At the end we counted our money and…it was a tie. As the rules say, we “rejoiced in our shared victory.” (FarmerLenny)
  • Love Letter: My wife and I played this game with Wolfie and his wife. If I learned anything, it’s that I’m lucky my love letters succeeded with my wife, because apparently I’m terrible at them. Love Letter is fun for what it is, but I’m fearing that it has been overhyped. I like that the game is short, but while there is some deduction in the game, a lot of it is luck. Not bad for five to ten minutes, but also not something to structure an evening around. But my wife liked it, so I guess that’s a win. (FarmerLenny)
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: We took another swing this week at our friendly neighborhood OMNITRON as a 3 player team of Fanatic, Tempest, and the first Rook City hero I’ve used so far, Expatriette. It was a heated battle, but this time we managed to keep Omni’s drones at bay while continuously beating him down 5-6 HP per round, sometimes more. It helped that we all picked fairly heavy hitters. While the new components – tokens for tracking HP and other numeric values, and condition tokens to remind you of current effects like immunity or increased damage – definitely improve the experience, it’s not a perfect game. Midway through the game, Expatriette lost all her abilities through a single card that destroyed all her equipment. She was never able to get another weapon out, which frustrating, and while I am all for a tough challenge, I’m not a big fan of effects that force you to lose your abilities. It’s an easy way to make the challenge more difficult, but it’s not very fun, especially when you are never able to recover. She was able to do a few small defensive actions, but spent most of the second half of the game only drawing cards. Fortunately, Fanatic was set up to finally do 24 points of damage in one hit, crushing Omnitron and leaving Tempest to finish off the final drones. Look for a review of the Enhanced Edition soon. (Futurewolfie)
  • Elder Sign: Apparently it was a more cooperative game night, as we stepped into the ever-terrifying world of Elder Sign. We faced Cthlulu himself (itself?) and set out for some deadly investigating. The game ran pretty quickly, but with a few unlucky rolls and a very fast-moving doom track, we ended up facing Cthulhu head to head in battle. Unfortunately we had run out of spells and items and so we were running on luck alone, and though we came close, we just couldn’t score enough hits against him to destroy him, and we were overcome – 2 were devoured, one went insane. Not that it mattered since the inevitable conclusion is Cthulhu destroying the world, or whatever. Oh well… except for the rather mindless dice-rolling extravaganza at the end, it’s still an enjoyable game even when you lose… and a much smaller time commitment than it’s big brother, Arkham Horror. (Futurewolfie)
  • Netrunner: I’m extremely happy with how often I’ve gotten Netrunner to the table. Turns out I do have plenty of 2-player opportunities and Netrunner is now my 1st choice 2 player game. I love pretty much everything about this game, from the asymmetrical sides to the different factions for each side that have drastically different strategies. I’ve now played (or seen played) every faction, from the trace-happy NBN to the extremely wealthy Weyland corp (yes, the Android universe is a veritable melting pot of sci-fi references, if you’ve played the original board game). My opponent and I are both increasing in skill, and my latest game – with myself as Runner and Blake as Corp – I ended up targeting R&D (the Corporation’s draw deck) and Archives (the Corp’s trash pile). With a card that let me trash R&D cards when i installed Viruses, I managed to get a slew of Agendas into the archives and made one run against it to claim them all. It was a fierce battle though, and even though the archives was relatively undefended (we’re still learning), I had a heck of a time against his other servers. It’s exciting and tense and it’s amazing to see the tricky things you come against and figure creative ways around them.

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

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