Before we get started with the news this week I’d like to take a moment and talk about the hottest new Game Giveaway spectacular. If you thought Stretch Goals were just for Kickstarter then you’d better think again! We’ve got stacks and stacks of games (well maybe just one stack) to give away and we need your help to unlock them all. So enter the contest, invite your friends, share, twitter tweet, like, ask Jeeves, or whatever the cool new social media thing it is that the kids are doing these days. Help spread the word so we can throw in all the most exciting new games from Gen Con that we loved. The more people that join in, the more games we’re giving away! Over to you dragon…
Now on to our regularly scheduled news.
Some Interesting Stuff
BoardGameGeek News has been reposting Essen reports from 10 years ago and it’s great to take a trip down memory lane and see how far our hobby has come since then. Chances are even if you weren’t gaming back in 2003 that you’ve played at least some of the games that first debuted in Europe over a decade ago. What are some of your favorite games/memories from these flashbacks?
I talked about my complicated relationship with dice during my Nations: The Dice Game preview. Nat from Oakleaf seems to share some of my sentiment and does an excellent job of exploring the role (roll?) of dice from a design perspective. An excellent read for dice lovers and haters alike.
Another design choice that can be quite polarizing is auctioning. For some insight from real life Dr. Wictz has looks at why auctions occur in our economy and how that translates to games. I’ve always thought that auction were a clever balancing mechanism but this article emphasizes when auctions become a burden to game design and should be avoided.
Another Math Trade just popped up on BGG and is open for submissions through Thursday. If you don’t have any idea what a Math Trade is then check out Jon’s excellent Guide To Math Trades and then go try it out!
1750: Britain vs. France – Fight for control of land and sea in this historical card-driven wargame for 2-players. Learn about the great generals, political conditions, historical events, and economic climate surrounding and 7 Years’ War and War of the Australian Succession. $45 for early backers.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak – I talked about a big announcement that Bezier Games was teasing last week and early one morning they (at the break of day perhaps) they broke the news of the standalone sequel to One Night Ultimate Werewolf. There are ten all new role cards and it can be played by itself or combined with the original to support up to ten players!
Orleans – It’s time for some good old fashion networking in the mediveal city of Orleans as you call on the aid of the skilled craftsmen of the time. There aren’t a lot of details on the game at the moment but it promises that you “will always want to take more actions than possible” which is right up my alley.
Progress: Evolution of Technology – NSKN Games successfully funded Progress back in June and has offered a Print and Play version for those wanting to get their hands on it ahead of time. For those patiently awaiting the physical release the publisher provided a pictorial unboxing to show off the game’s beautiful components and artwork. Things like this show that NSKN knows how to properly support their Kickstarter campaigns.
Translation: A Protein Building Game – Those excited at the prospect of some good old fashion RNA Translation will be excited to hear the Genius Games is adding another game to their line of educational games. I live with three doctors and already had great fun going through the rules with them to certify the scientific accuracy of this game and the facts checked out! We’re all looking forward to trying it out soon.
Castles of Mad King Ludwig – This highly anticipated spiritual successor to Suburbia has been hyped quite a bit following Origins and Gen Con. For those not lucky enough to try the game for themselves, the rules have finally been made available for your reading pleasure. We’ll see how it truly compares to Suburbia once it comes out in October but until then you can start the spectulations as to whether it will replace the great Sim City board game.
Fields of Arle (Arler Erde) – Uwe’s forthcoming game is given an official English title and a rulebook in the same week! There has already been discussion about whether Uwe is now just churning out the same game over and over but I’ll gladly disagree. I’m quite excited at the prospect of a meatier 2-player only game after the success of his lighter 2-player game line (Agricola: All Creature Big and Small, Le Havre: The Inland Port).
Super Motherload – I mentioned this old school video game drilling game last week and was very happy to see the rules show up less than a week later. If you enjoy drilling and side scrolling video games then power up your drilling rig and head on over to check out the rules for Super Motherload!
Temporum – I’m not sure how long the rules for Temporum have been available but I just spotted them up on the Rio Grande Games website this week so I’m finally catching up to those that got a taste at Gen Con. I’ve enjoyed the variety of work that Donald X has produced since Dominion and it’s exciting to see a return to a card-driven system. I’m excited at the prospect of time travel games (such as the fantastic Tragedy Looper) becoming the hot new theme that designers flock to over the next year (I can only dream).
Last Week on iSlayTheDragon
Our Gen Con coverage wrapped with a total of 16 previews and 2 recaps over the last three weeks. We hope you’ve enjoyed the extra content and we’ll work hard to bring you more cram-packed content in the future once we get a chance to catch our breath. Also, make sure to congratulate Jason on his two year anniversary of slaying dragons and writing pretty good and kinda funny articles. And if you haven’t gotten the chance yet, make sure to CHECK OUT OUR AWESOME GIVEAWAY! Stay tuned for three more great reviews this week!
What We’ve Been Playing
Ascension: Realms Unraveled – Back when my wife and I actually had more free time to play games (before she became a doctor that is) our main go to games were Ascension and Race For The Galaxy. Luckily, she was on vacation this week and along with trips to the zoo and a Labor Day picnic with our daughter we got to celebrate her time off with a game or two of Ascension. Whenever we start playing a new set she’ll bemoan the fact that I already know all the new cards and want to go back to one of the previous blocks. It doesn’t take long before she catches up and starts whomping me and this week she beat me good at the newest set, Realms Unraveled. I want a rematch!
Glass Road – I mentioned last week that me and my friend Denise decided to do a Glass Road solo challenge in lieu of being able to play in person. We played three games over the course of the week and you can read about the first one as well as the next two over on her blog. I was really hoping that our games would play out differently and I’m happy to say that all three games saw us pursuing different strategies. Exactly how different ranged from game to game, the first one started with us picking nearly identical roles over the first two rounds but branching quickly when we built two completely different sets of buildings. The second game branched right from the beginning with only one shared role in the first tw0 rounds and a mere two buildings showing up on both of our final boards. Thanks to Denise for playing along, hopefully we’ll continue our challenge in the future!
DC Deckbuilding Game – In the long war between Marvel and DC fanatics, there have been vehement supporters of both franchise’s deckbuilding games – Marvel’s Legendary and DC’s excitingly titled “DC Deckbuilding Game.” I finally got a chance to try out DC’s game this weekend, which turned out to be a lot like Ascension – the same basic 5-card pool from one main deck featuring foes and upgrades, as well as a few stacks of permanent cards. The main difference is that DC has “weakness” cards that can get stuck in your deck thanks to attacks, as well as a stack of Super villains to defeat in order to score massive points and end the game. With experience in similar deckbuilders it took a very short amount of time to get going, and the game played very quickly. I enjoyed it but the first play felt a little rough around the edges as far as deckbuilding goes – too easy to get an engine going and plenty of luck involved in who wins the game. Still, it was fun to play as recognizable DC universe heroes (and use their equipment), and I appreciated that you actually had supervillains to target. I did spend a lot of time digging through my discard pile… but we’ll see how future plays go.
Merchants & Marauders – We had 4 players at my weekly game night so we pulled out my favorite Pirate adventure game. It’s been a while so after a quick rule refresher we set sail. The seas were mostly peaceful as 3 of us went the Merchant route from the start, and the pirate player tried to keep her bounties low. I decided to go after missions and rumors while selling cargo when I could. I had some great turns, completed several missions, and got a bunch of specialists on my well-protected ship, and all was going well until I ran into a mission that I had a lot of trouble claiming, which wasted a lot of actions before I finally took hold of it. Meanwhile, another player was playing the savvy merchant, and with a bit of luck managed to buy and sell his way to financial victory. A third player played the captain down on his luck who got sunk by pirates and, after turning to a pirates life himself, was unable to gain any glory. Our friendly neighborhood pirate lady was only a step behind the winner; I was a few turns away from my 10, with my sights set on sinking the pirate frigate just as the winner claimed victory by stashing and then revealing his stockpile of gold. Despite my misfortunes, I still had a good time, and it was the highest score I’ve gotten without having a bank of treasure saved up.
Marvel Dice Masters – Against my better judgement, I’ve bought in. Two things trumped my usual distaste for collectible games. One, my 6th grade boys, who love Marvel. And two, it’s just released this year, so that I don’t already feel way behind and out-classed. Of course, I’ll still be out-classed because I can’t sink the money into it like other Official Play entrants will.
Despite the poor quality of the dice and cards, the laughable “dice bags” included in the starter set, the need to print your own mat to keep things straight, and WizKids’ woeful inability to meet demands with sufficient production, we got the starter set and one gravity feed of booster packs. So we have enough variety of characters and the required dice to have some fun. We’ve played about a dozen games in a week, and are still experimenting with different teams for now. It’s fast and action-packed. If Quarriors turned you off, don’t automatically shy away from MDM – it may be the same engine, but it’s a different car, mainly thanks to the Marvel IP. I will say right off the bat one thing I REALLY appreciate with this design – several of the commons are just as good or even better than some rares and super rares. So you don’t have to spend next month’s mortgage payment just find the “rare” cards to be competitive.
Jupiter Rescue – Finally got a 5-player game of this one in over Labor Day weekend while visiting family. This is a fun and frantic cooperative game in which you play robots trying to rescue colonists on a space station from hordes of zombie-like aliens. It’s easy and light, has some variability and special card powers. It’s a blast for family and casual crowds, but won’t be winning any awards.
Star Wars: The Card Game – Just bought this one recently, so we’ve just played a couple intro games. I’m impressed, so far. Despite its thematic wonkiness, there are some neat mechanics, clever card play, and amazing art. I’ve always had it on my wish list, but never pulled the trigger because my sons are bigger Star Wars fans than me; and even though it’s not collectible, the living card game model still begets expansion purchases. I can already see I’ll need to be doing that in the near future. Between this and MDM, what have I gotten myself into? Geesh!