News Bits: 2/11/2013


Big week for news, big week for Kickstarter. Check it out below:

Greater Than Games gears up for Galactic Strike Force [Link] The team behind Sentinels of the Multiverse, a well-regarded superhero cooperative card game (and one of the richest games I’ve seen in thematic detail), has announced a new co-op game, this one a deck-builder set in outer space. I’ve only played first-edition SotM, and while I liked it, it wasn’t my favorite co-op experience. This game looks more my speed. I am definitely watching this one with interest and will let you know the updates as I see them.

Van Ryder Games to publish Tessen [Link] I know about Tessen mostly through this post on Hyperbole Games’ site, but my interest was piqued then. I’m also an avid follower of Cardboard Edison on Twitter (the game designers). I’m excited to see this game come to fruition.

Board game sales are frontlist driven [Link] So says Michael Mindes of Tasty Minstrel Games, and I certainly see what he means. (iSlaytheDragon is, after all, a frontlist-driven board game blog.) The “Disney Vault” method that he wonders aloud about is certainly beneficial for publishers; it’s not very beneficial for consumers. And I think the real spike is in after-market resale prices. But this is a hunch. Still, if it’s good for the publisher, it’s indirectly good for the consumer, as gamers need games.

Stonemaier Games talks about Kickstarter reward levels [Link] I think they’ve nailed it on this one. The projects I’ve backed have had a sense of urgency to them–“If I don’t back now, I’m really missing out!”–either because of exclusives or because of discounts. Of course, it also depends on available cash flow (not just a publisher problem, it turns out).

Cat replaces iron in new editions of Monopoly [Link] In “I’m sure you don’t care” news, the cat has won the votes necessary to enter new editions of Monopoly. The iron got voted out. This was an interesting stunt, but I won’t be buying a new edition. Or another old one, for that matter.

Top ten multiplayer games for two players [Ryan Metzler, Paul Owen, GeekInsight] Looking for two-player games that can pull double duty? These lists are a good place to start. Ryan Metzler’s list is on the heavier side (with the exception of his top pick), so it’s hard to imagine my wife going for them. Paul Owen’s list is more in between. I’ll say that my wife’s favorite two-player/multiplayer games are probably Ticket to Ride: Europe, Canasta, Stone Age, At the Gates of Loyang, Yspahan, Dominion, and Can’t Stop. (GeekInsight of Giant Fire Breathing Robot posted some games on his site as well, after I wrote up the rest.)

Top ten lunch games [Link] Friend of the Dragon BGJosh posted his list of top ten lunch games. There is significant overlap between my list and his. (Noticeably absent, however, is 7 Wonders, which is one of my favorites.)

Kickstarters of Note

Wow! We’re in the middle of a Kickstarter boom of awesome. Lots of new stuff on the list this week.

  • The Dice Tower: Season 9: The Dice Tower is looking to up its coverage of board games this year. They have some sweet swag for contributors, mostly promos and, you guessed it, dice/dice towers, but also some dinners with the hosts. Various pledge levels.
  • Compounded: This is the fourth game from Dice Hate Me Games, this one about combining elements into chemical compounds. The look, feel, and theme is appealing to me. $42 gets you the game.
  • Gunrunners: This is a new game from Stephen Finn (Biblios, Scripts & Scribes: The Dice Game). I like Finn’s other games, and I love the look of this one. $20-25 gets you the game.
  • Island Siege: This card game of, well, island siege combat looks interesting. The early bird deals are gone, so the game will cost $30. But the coins look great, so it might be worth that price.
  • Wizard’s Brew: Another reprint has come to Kickstarter, this one a first English printing of Alan Moon and Aaron Weissblum’s Das Amulett. The buy-in is $50.
  • Metal money/VP tokens: Minion Games just recently (way over-)funded their 4X space game Hegemonic, but they didn’t quite reach the metal coin goal. This Kickstarter is specifically for the metal coins, but anyone can pledge for them. They look nice for use in any game. $17 gets you the coins.
  • Doppelganger: The Universal Game Piece: Okay, this is weird, but kind of cool. It’s a game pawn that’s like those digital picture frames. So your pawn can be whatever you want it to be. Kind of neat. $25 for one, $45 for two.
  • Odin’s Ravens: I’ve seen this game referenced everywhere as a great two-player-only game, but copies have been scarce. The reprint for this just went live on Kickstarter. $28 gets you the game.
  • Dragon Whisperer: This is a trick-taking game from Albino Dragon Games. The artwork is evocative, and the designer’s name–Richard Borg–is well known. It’s already been funded, and the $25 buy-in is reasonable.
  • Drum Roll: This game has already been produced, but Artipia Games is funding their second printing via Kickstarter. (The first printing had limited availability in the States.) The game looks beautiful, and the theme is fairly novel. $50 gets you the game.

What I’ve Been Playing

  • Spectaculum: Spectaculum is one of Reiner Knizia’s two big Essen releases in 2012. Oddly enough, both games feel like different halves of Acquire. Spectaculum is the stock manipulation half. I played a two-player game, and it was really fun. It was very dry, and those who accuse Knizia of themeless gameplay will find ample fodder here, but I enjoyed myself immensely. Our game was less than 45 minutes, and that included the rules explanation. Not too shabby.
  • Sunrise City: I missed out on the Alien Frontiers madness when that was released, so Sunrise City is my first experience with Clever Mojo Games. The first impression is that man, is that a heavy box. The components are great, too. So far, I’ve only played this two-player with my wife, but we both had a good time. It’s got some tile-laying like Carcassonne, but players are building up and not just out. This game was very enjoyable.
Completely Unrelated Awesomeness of the Week
I need more friends who post cat videos or something, because I continue running into this section with very little to post. So, because of that, I’ll give you an unconfirmed rumor that I heard on Board Game Geek and which excites me if true: according to a Spielbox article (or hearsay about a Spielbox article, more like), AEG is slated to pick up the US release of Trains (an Essen 2012 game I’m very excited about). I’ll give more details (confirming or discrediting this report) as I know them. For now, this remains down here because there is no use getting too excited over rumors that haven’t had official announcements. But if AEG does produce this game, that would be good news, as AEG makes good games.

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

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