News Bits: 3/24/2014


The big news item for this week is that Futurewolfie’s pack has grown by one. That’s right: Wolfie and his wife welcomed their new baby this saturday. Congratulate him on Twitter if you remember. (Also, he might be a bit scarce on the site for a bit.)

And now, this week’s NEWS:

IDW/Pandasaurus Games announces Machi Koro in English [LinkAfter Essen I heard a lot of buzz about this little dice game from Japan. After looking and seeing that no copies were for sale for less than $100, I decided it was better to wait. Now I don’t have to wait as long. This title will appear stateside in June with a $29.99 MSRP. This game looks fun, and if nothing else, Tom Vasel likes it.

Hans im Glück launches Saint Petersburg crowdfunding campaign [LinkAnd…it’s incredibly cost-prohibitive for the USA. Or at least for me. Not that that’s stopping the game from funding. The game is fun (here’s my review), and this edition looks awesome, but I don’t think I can justify the financial outlay. Obviously, your mileage may vary.

Ascension: Realms Unraveled in stores this June [LinkThe newest Ascension release will be in stores this June. Among the highlights? Cards with multiple factions. Don’t know about Ascension? Andrew wrote an excellent Shelf Wear article on it.

Alderac Entertainment Group reboots Doomtown [LinkDoomtown is an old CCG set in the wild west. AEG is rebooting the game as Doomtown: Reloaded, with streamlined rules as well as an “expandable card game” (read: LCG) format with fixed boosters rather than random packs. It looks like this one will debut at Gen Con, but relevant information should continue to appear on the site linked above.

Albino Dragon discusses the economics of scale [LinkThis is a fascinating postmortem of a super successful Kickstarter campaign Albino Dragon ran for its Name of the Wind card deck and associated projects. Fascinating, because they still delivered, but it was costly, despite raising tons of money. Worth a read if you’re at all interested in the brave new world of Kickstarter.

New board game night planning tool launches [LinkI was invited to check out Happenate, a new site for planning events with multiple people with disparate schedules. I didn’t play around with this too much (with a new baby in the house, I’m not planning any game nights anytime soon), but it looks like a great idea, and board game nights get equal billing alongside other popular meetup activities, which is nice to see. Also, there’s a contest on the site to win board games if you plan a board game night using the site before April 5 (Tabletop Day).

James Mathe presents game design for dummies [LinkThere are lots of these posts around, but this is a good aggregate of design advice. To me, this can be summed up as “do your research.”

Walking the path to “depth gaming” [LinkI’ve talked many times about my desire to play games deeply instead of just broadly (again, as a reviewer, I’m sure this is just a case of “the grass is greener”). In any case, BGG user Andy Glass discusses this idea in more, well, depth.

 A useful tuckbox generator [LinkOkay, this isn’t really news: it’s been around for a while, and I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about it before, but I use this tool all the time, and it just helped me quite a bit in organizing the many decks of cards in Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. It deserves renewed kudos, if nothing else.

Kevin Nunn (Rolling Freight) discusses scoring frequency in games [Link] I’ve really appreciated Kevin Nunn’s game design blog. His posts are always insightful, and this post is no exception. It got me thinking about how and when various scoring schemes work in games. Good stuff.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Playtesting The Ancient World, Hegemonic review, Medici review, Why Why Why asymmetry is awesom-etryLots of good stuff last week. This week should be full, although grace is appreciated with the birth of Wolfie’s child. Keep slaying!

Kickstarters of Note

  • The Nile Ran Red: This is a Kickstarter for three new games from Small Box Games. I love their philosophy, and I’d probably love their games if I could get anyone to play them with me. These three games are set in Egypt with gorgeous artwork. $15/game, $40/all three.
  • Tiger Stripes: This is a children’s game from Isabel duBarry, daughter of designer Philip duBarry (Revolution!Kingdom of Solomon). It looks simple, but it could be just what you’re looking for. $35.
  • Hoyuk: This is a tile-laying game that has won some awards and looks beautiful. $50.
  • Lineage: The Martial Arts Strategy Game: This one looks very nice. You’re a martial arts master trying to pass on your knowledge to your student to preserve your lineage. $39.
  • Cheesonomics: A Euro game about cheese! I love the look and design of this one. $29.
  • Manifest: This game looks simply gorgeousThe art is by professional Franz Vohwinkel, and the setting and theme look great. Jason wrote a preview of it. ~$58 (the campaign is in NZD).
  • The Ancient World: Andrew has been involved in the playtesting of this game, and it looks stunning (as is usually the case from Ryan Laukat). $50.
  • Baseball Highlights 2045: A new game by Mike Fitzgerald. Honestly, I’m not a baseball fan, and this one didn’t interest me at all until I read this appreciation from Tom Lehman (Race for the Galaxy). Now my interest is piqued, if nothing else. $32.
  • Epic Resort: I love the theme and art of this new game from Floodgate Games (Legacy: Gears of Time). This is a worker placement game about heroes on vacation. Very reasonably priced at $40.
  • Big games for little pockets: The newest campaign from Dice Hate Me Games is for six 54-card games, packaged as two three packs or one six pack. They’re from a good crop of up-and-coming designers, and they are priced to sell. $25/3-pack, $50/all six.
  • Tuscany: I received word about this one from the Stonemaier Games e-mail list. When I clicked over to the Kickstarter page, I watched it crossing the finish line–sixteen minutes after launch! This game has been crushing all its goals, and it looks fantastic. The base game is very good (our review), so I suspect this one is worth getting as well. $45.
  • Pay Dirt: The new game from the designer of Alien Frontiers, Pay Dirt has players mining for gold in the Klondike. Looks interesting. $50.
  • 1st & Goal digital: R&R Games is Kickstarting the digital edition of their popular tabletop football game, and it’s coming to iOS AND Android. (I love when Android gets some love.) Here’s our review of the analog game. Various pledge levels available.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Star Realms: I bought a second deck of this recently to try to rope more players into the game, but this week was a two-player matchup, which was just as well. The first game I got absolutely hammered. Part of this was due to my going first and not having much cash to begin the game, and part of this was due to some lucky pulls from the trade deck from my opponent. (Of course, he also played well, which helped his case.) The second game I was determined to regain my honor, and I won handily through careful filtering of my deck. I went almost full Machine Cult, and I ended the game with none of the original deck cards in my deck. The third game…well, it was a return to form. It’s interesting, because usually in our sets of three games, either the first or the second player wins all three games, but it’s not the same position each time. Something to watch for in the future, I suppose. I still love this game. It’s super sleek and just fun to play. (FarmerLenny)
  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf: I’m not a fan of Werewolf as a game, but most of that is because 1) since I’m the one who plays games the most, I’m usually tapped to be the moderator in games like this (or I’m the first one eliminated because I talk too much), and 2) I don’t like the player elimination in a game that can last so long. I’d heard a lot of good things about One Night Ultimate Werewolf, but because I don’t like the parent game much, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It advertises 3-10 players in 10 minutes, so it was worth a try over my lunch hour on Friday. There were four of us, all new and…it was kind of awesome. Usually hidden role/traitor games don’t work that well with small numbers, but this one was awesome. We played five games over the course of the lunch hour. There is one thing to note, though: unlike, say, The Resistance, conversation doesn’t happen naturally. There are no teams, no missions, so in the first round, none of us really knew what to discuss. Someone said, “So, who do you claim to be?” And that got us all going. Then we were volunteering information like what we heard during the nighttime and so forth. I convinced the townspeople in one game to kill two villagers but not me (the werewolf). Another game I was the Minion, and I admitted to that, and I was able 1) not to die and 2) to redirect suspicion from my werewolf teammate. (Of course, I was successfully bluffed as well-part of the territory.) I’m looking forward to trying this game with more players, but so far, my opinion is very favorable. (FarmerLenny)
  • Coconuts: To celebrate making it through another week, my wife suggested we play Coconuts on Friday night while the lemon bars (!) baked and cooled. We ended up playing seven times in a row. (The game goes quickly, though, so this was, like, 40 minutes.) After winning six straight games in our last session, I lost the first three games, and handily. I had to gain back ground, so I hurled my coconuts like a pro, in one game getting a shut-out on my wife by stealing her cup to complete my pyramid. The score was tied at three games to three games, and obviously, we needed to play for all the coconuts. It was close, but in the final game I prevailed. Coconuts is stupid, silly fun, but it’s also quite awesome. The components really support the zany ridiculousness of this game. I’m eager to play it with more than two players. (FarmerLenny)

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

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