News Bits: 1/14/2013


A lot happened in the gaming world last week. Here’s the round-up:

GameWright announces Forbidden Desert from Matt Leacock (Pandemic, Forbidden Island) [LinkAs is typical with GameWright, the production value looks great, and the premise is cool. Spring 2013 is the tentative release date.

Tasty Minstrel Games gives “Letter to Stakeholders” [Link] In what has been typical for TMG, owner Michael Mindes is up front about what Tasty Minstrel will be doing in 2013. There’s some interesting reading here if you already care about the company. If you’re only interested in new game announcements, there’s not much of that here that hasn’t been covered elsewhere.

A better use for Monopoly boards in World War II [Link] The Guardian reports that Monopoly boards were used in WWII to smuggle escape maps and money to prisoners of war. Now that’s a better use for the game!

Seth Jaffee enumerates the “woes of game ‘splainin” [Link] This is right on the money. It was cathartic to read, as I am usually the game explainer and have the difficult task of parsing and translating (often poor) rulebooks and having to put up with premature questions (especially when I teach my family). I will say, though, that the rulebooks Seth has worked on are some of the best. Belfort’s rulebook, in my opinion, is the gold standard for rulebook writing. Designers, take note.

Avoiding Kickstarter pitfalls [Link] Wired’s GeekDad Jonathan Liu talks about correctly estimating shipping and popularity. This is a good read, and it also links to two other helpful articles, probably worth your time if you’re looking to run a Kickstarter campaign. Also of note is his graph of projects on time vs. late. I haven’t backed many projects, but it seems about accurate for my experience. (Only one project arrived on time–and even early!–so kudos to Asmadi Games and FlowerFall.)

Retailers and organized play events [Link] Gary Ray of Black Diamond Games again writes an insightful article, this time on the need for publishers and retailers to work together in designing organized play events and materials. He points to Pokemon as an example of doing it wrong, and if his example is correct, that is certainly the case.

Go Forth and Game publishes responses to “How Do We Grow Gaming?” [Link] Tom Gurganus of Go Forth and Game has taken to asking a question of the month and aggregating the responses at the beginning of the following month. This is one of those. There’s a really insightful answer there from one FarmerLenny… Just sayin’…

Five things to consider before sending a reviewer your game [Link] This article comes from the Father Geek, one of the most prolific (in both quantity of reviews and quantity of words per review) reviewers I’m aware of. And it’s a pretty dang good one. Of particular note for me is his number five reason: “you don’t need them, but they do need you.” In any case, a good read all around.

Gaming Trent examines the Living Card Game model [Link] This is a great article for those of you who are interested in LCGs. I think the criticisms he levels against LCGs are fair and are, in fact, why I traded the Lord of the Rings LCG. It was simply too much to catch up on, and unless you catch up in greater increments, deck-building really isn’t all that fun. Anyway, give this a read.

Eleven designers you should know [Link] This is a good overview of some of the big names in board game design. There are some notable absences (Uwe Rosenberg? Wolfgang Kramer?), but Boards and Bees wasn’t seeking to be comprehensive. In any case, I learned some things and was able to commiserate on some others.

Kickstarters of Note
Two more campaigns are scheduled to drop this week (Compounded and Family Vacation). They should be in next week’s round-up. For now, here’s what’s cool:

  • Hegemonic: Another epic space game. This one looks pretty good, and I’ve liked Minion’s track record in the past. The buy-in is high at $69, but this includes the print-and-play files early. This has already been funded.
  • Formula E: An elephant racing game from Bruno Faidutti and Clever Mojo Games. This has beautiful art and really looks like a great production. The Kickstarter window on this one is short, so you should act soon. $45 buy-in ($20 if you just want the elepheeples).
  • Crokinole: Wait, hasn’t that game been around for ages? Well, yes, but Mayday Games is Kickstarting their newest line of Crokinole boards. (You can read my review of their last line here, which looks much the same.) Mayday is also offering several accessories, like a carrying case and a clock (for when the board is hanging on your wall, obviously). $95-100 gets you a board; $150 gets you the whole package.
Completely Unrelated Awesomeness of the Week
Not awesome or unrelated, but worthy of note (and not in my usual “Kickstarters of Note” section): this Kickstarter campaign for a war game has been making the rounds. Why is it worthy of note? The project designer wants $1.75 million dollars to produce it. And he’s serious about that number. $720 has been given at the time of this writing. There is a right way and a wrong way to do Kickstarter. I’ll leave which one this is to your own judgment.

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

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Hehe…20th Century @ War canceled 3 hours ago. Says he’s planning to re-submit at a more modest scale. No rules, no art on minis, no map design, no video for 2 weeks, and promising to deliver 5,000 copies and 10 million pieces by August?!?! – in my judgement, I’d say it was the wrong way to go!

    Oh, Kickstarter, you’re so much fun.

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