News Bits: 2/4/2013


Here is the news:

Game Salute to publish board game based on The Princess Bride [Link] This is slightly strange news (given The Princess Bride‘s age), but not exactly unwelcome. It sounds like Game Salute is collecting mini-game ideas that could be shoehorned into the Princess Bride universe, so budding game designers, this might be your chance. (I think the scene idea is pretty cool, though I wonder how it will work, if there will be a choose-your-own-adventure-style flowchart of what happens [since the press release says you could play through the whole storyline if you want]. For example, what if Fezzik kills the man in black with a rock? Well, obviously, then, there’s no rescue for Buttercup–or at least not by the same means. And if this isn’t a possibility, why play a board game in the first place?) I will note that The Princess Bride, with the exception of its dated music, is a timeless classic. You may not dispute this in the comments. (Okay, okay, you can.)

How to plan for a board game Kickstarter campaign [Link] James Mathe (of Minion Games) shares the wisdom he’s gleaned from seven successful Kickstarter campaigns (we reviewed Kingdom of Solomon and Tahiti, and our review of The Manhattan Project is forthcoming). This seems like good advice to me, but as always, I’ll leave that decision to readers.

Board Game Arena adds Jaipur to its lineup [Link] Jaipur is a two-player-only trading game, and it’s one of the best two-player-only games I’ve played. (Here’s our review.)

Replayability is more than a random setup [Link] GeekInsight of Giant Fire Breathing Robot talks about replayability in his latest variant. He says that a randomized setup does not determine whether a game is replayable. I’d actually been thinking about that a lot this week before I read his post, and I tend to agree. While it’s true that random elements help make a game different, what really matters (in my opinion) is the players. Playing a game with my friend Blake is a very different (often more aggressive) experience than playing with my wife, which is different than playing with my coworkers. I think a replayable game accommodates–and variably rewards–different play styles (as well as encouraging players to try these new styles). The random elements may help determine which style wins the day, but the games that I’m most interested in playing again and again let different play styles run wild.

Paul Owen (Trains, Planes, and Automobiles) describes UnPub 3 [Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4] I really appreciated Paul’s recaps. These reflections are necessarily narrow in that they focus on the games he himself played (or managed: his prototype of East India Company was at UnPub), but they are worth reading.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon… [News, Qin review, Ameritrash vs. Euro-style games] I posted the traditional news article and my review of Qin, a tile-laying game from Reiner Knizia that I really enjoy. @Futurewolfie posted the next in our series of Guide to Gaming articles about the difference between Ameritrash and Euro-style games. (And don’t worry: I double-checked to make sure he was fair to Euros.)

Kickstarters of Note
We’re hitting another wave of lots of good stuff on Kickstarter:

  • 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, and the campaign is almost over.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

What I’m Playing

  • Bang!: We play games over lunch on Fridays where I work, and this last week was no exception. What was the exception is that we had six players. I put the game up to a vote, and it was tied down the middle: two votes for Chronicle, two votes for Bang!, two votes abstained. In an act of goodwill, I agreed to play Bang! While it’s not an experience I’d like to replicate often, it wasn’t as bad as some others I’ve had (though I don’t understand people who say the game goes quickly: quick games have been an anomaly in my experience). I was the deputy, and the sheriff was a lame duck. He piled up guns, ammunition, and other goods and just sat there while the rest of us fought it out. I was a gun-slinging deputy, and the infighting outlaws helped my cause. I died because of some dynamite (poetic justice: I killed the guy I was picking on early in the game), and the sheriff fired a single bullet that found its target. He gets the glory. Next we need to play a negotiation game to find a new sheriff: I don’t want to work for that guy anymore.
  • Can’t Stop: My wife and I have played this game a lot this week. In fact, it’s already made its way into 2013’s nickels list. This one’s fast, fun, and you get to scream “Bust!” while the other player rolls. Good times.
  • Ticket to Ride: Europe: This is my wife’s favorite game, and I like it quite a bit as well. There are many games on my shelf whose interest waxes and wanes. Ticket to Ride: Europe is a perennial favorite, almost universally (no matter which group I’m with). Now I wish they’d come out with an Android implementation…
Unrelated Awesomeness of the Week
I was sick last week. No awesomeness to be shared, only germs. Sorry.

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

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