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News Bits: 6/17/2013

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I expect we’ll see some Origins coverage this week. But for now, the NEWS:

Dominion Strategy blog releases spoiler list for Dominion: Guilds [Link] I’d like to play this set right now. This last Dominion set looks like a blast!

Boards & Bees looks at the first eleven Spiel des Jahres winners [LinkI’d not seen much about these games other than their titles, so I was grateful for this article. I’ve played two on this list (Rummikub and Scotland Yard). How many have you played?

Colby Dauch (Plaid Hat Games) talks to elementary schoolers [Link] I know, I know: this doesn’t sound that exciting. But trust me, it is. Being part of a small niche hobby, I appreciate the personal touch of “news” posts like this. It’s also cool that a bunch of young students are playing Summoner Wars.

Jeffrey Allers teaches game design to grade schoolers [Link] In the same vein as the earlier post from Colby Dauch, Jeffrey Allers details his experience of spending a week with grade schoolers teaching game design.

Iello scores deal to distribute Innovation to North America [Link] But it’s already here from Asmadi Games! you say. And that’s true. Iello’s (admittedly prettier) version will now be sold in stores alongside Asmadi’s (admittedly more functional) version of the game. Iello, even after releasing the Echoes of the Past expansion at Origins, is still one expansion behind the Asmadi publication. (If you want my two cents, Innovation is a fantastic game, perhaps the best game I’ve discovered this year.)

Are board game ratings valuable? [Link] Hiew talks about whether board game ratings are helpful. This is something I struggle with as a reviewer. When I first started reviewing games, I had no numerical rating system. Why? Because it’s hard to quantify games. If I give a game a low rating, you might avoid it, even if the game is perfectly suited to your tastes. And so on. Recently one of our Twitter followers criticized us for leaning on the 8.5 rating. I didn’t have too much to say in responses (I think he’s right) other than it’s the text of a review that holds the opinion more than the magical number.

Game of Marketing discusses board game reviews [Link] These guidelines are good for publishers (especially indie publishers) to keep in mind when sending out copies of a game for review.

Joe Huber responds to the Kramer exception [Link] I linked to an article last week discussing past Spiel des Jahres winners, which said that most SdJ designers won for an inferior game (Wolfgang Kramer being the exception). I said that on the face of it, this didn’t seem true, but I offered little in my defense. Thankfully, Joe Huber took up the argument and backs up my impression with hard data. An interesting conversation, to say the least.

Recently on iheartprintandplay [iheart Presents: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Ed. AdventuresLooking for a simple and easy way to run a game of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons? Look no further! Read on for key features and setting descriptions for a number of free official adventures from Wizards of the Coast.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Interview with Benjamin Radford, Police Precinct review, Flash Point: Fire Rescue review, Legends of Andor review, Guide to cooperative games] Last week was cooperative games week on iSlaytheDragon, and as you can see, it was a full one. The highest-rated game of last week was Flash Point, in case you’re interested. This week we’ll have three more reviews and a guide that I’m writing on auction games. (Note: I’m crazy about auction games.) Keep slaying!

Kickstarters of Note
Here’s what I’ve found of interest on Kickstarter:

  • Giant Dice: Minion Games is Kickstarting giant foam dice. Cheap buy-in and customizable dice and colors.
  • Hunters of Arcfall: This is a new sci-fi bounty hunting dice game. It looks pretty cool. $25 gets the game.
  • Among the Stars: Ambassadors: Artipia Games’ 7 Wondersish game receives a 7 Wondersish expansion. $26 gets you the game shipped in the US.
  • Adventures on the Tabletop: Adventures on the Tabletop is a new board game documentary focusing on board game design. It will look at the design process from pitching to production and already features interviewers with designers like Alan Moon. $15 gets you a digital download/$25 gets a DVD.
  • Haggis: This two- or three-player climbing game has been out of print for a few years, and Indie Boards & Cards is Kickstarting the reprint. $15 gets you the game and a Haggis-themed regular playing card deck.
  • New Amsterdam: This game by Jeffrey Allers debuted at Spiel 2012, and Pandasaurus Games is bringing the game to the US (along with Firenze). $55.
  • Gothic Doctor: This game looks quirky and weird…but just the right kind of quirky for me. $25 gets the game.
  • Council of Verona: This one really excites me. It’s a small-box game (which already have a special place in my heart), and it’s set in the world of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. I like the theme, I like the look, I like the price. $12.
  • Princes of the Dragon Throne: I’ve been hearing lots about this game over the past year, and it’s now on Kickstarter. And oh man, is it a beast of a game. Tons of components. This is the rebooted version, with wooden components, a money-back guarantee, and a friendlier, $79 pricetag.
  • Kremlin: This is a campaign I’m very excited about (and hope to contribute to before it ends). Jolly Roger Games is Kickstarting the reprint of this satirical political game set in the world of Russian politics. $25 gets the game (and seems a very reasonable price).
  • Paperback: This is another game I think looks great. It’s a deckbuilding word game set in the world of publishing (a world I know and love). $25 for the game.
  • Wok Star: This was originally to be a Z-Man game, but apparently it’s not anymore. It’s coming to you via Game Salute and looks fantastic. This is another real-time cooperative game (in the vein of, but really preceding Escape). $39.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Hanabi: I was on the road for a funeral and didn’t have much opportunity for gaming this week. I did, however, get in a few games of Hanabi with my wife. Hanabi is a cooperative deduction card game about setting up and executing a great fireworks display. The catch here is that players do not know the cards they hold in their own hands. The first game we played, we were novices and had no idea what we were doing. Still, we scored 19 (which, according to the rulebook, is “crowd pleasing”). The second game, we didn’t make it to the end for scoring. My wife and I both had a lot of fun with this one, and I look forward to playing it more and in larger groups. My initial impression is that I can see why this game was nominated for the SdJ. (FarmerLenny)

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

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