Lots of great news this week, including two announcements I’m very excited about from AEG. Without further ado, the NEWS:
AEG announces a summer release for Trains [Link] Trains sold out quickly at Essen, but there were whispers on the wind that a US publisher would import it. I earlier mentioned rumors that AEG would be that publisher, and this week, AEG confirmed the rumors. Trains is slated to arrive this summer, and I am super stoked. (Trains, for those not in the know, is a train/route-building game that uses a deck-building mechanic.)
AEG teases Maximum Throwdown at GAMA [Link] I’ve been following Maximum Throwdown for a while now, mostly because @BGJosh (of Board Game Reviews by Josh fame) has told me I should. He describes it as a more interesting FlowerFall, a game I love. I had seen before that designer Jason Tagmire had found a publisher. It seems that publisher is AEG, and the game will use various AEG characters in the game. That makes two eagerly anticipated releases in the near future.
Forbes talks Ticket to Ride [Link] Another article on the success of Days of Wonder and specifically Ticket to Ride. These have been coming fast and furious lately, but I haven’t tired of them, mainly because Ticket to Ride is such a fantastic game.
A Kickstarter money-back guarantee and building trust [Link] There was a lot of talk on Twitter about this post. Personally, I like the money-back guarantee. I’ve had a few Kickstarter purchases that were major regrets, and while it wouldn’t be cost-effective most of the time to return something, it’s comforting to know the guarantee is there.
Ten things every game needs [Link] This great post by one of the developers of Magic: The Gathering reviews the ten things every game needs. This is a great read, even if you just scan it.
Ten tips for selecting great games for kids [Link] Stevanne Auerbach of Dr. Toy discusses ten criteria for choosing games for kids. This seems like good advice to me.
Tested.com offers a modern board game bestiary [Link] This is another article presenting board games to the masses. If you’re interested in another take, we’ve been working on our own Guide to Gaming, which has some articles that might interest you wherever you are in the hobby.
Days of Wonder hosts a Tabletop Day event [Link] I try not to post too much regional stuff, but Days of Wonder is hosting their own event near their headquarters in California. Games, swag, and free snacks provided.
Last week on the Dragon [News Bits, iheartprintandplay announcement, Dominion: Dark Ages Nemesis Review, Is Settlers of Catan a worker placement game?, Skagway review] We had a packed week last week, with a new post each day. We had a big announcement on Tuesday that we are partnering with iheartprintandplay, and on Wednesday we brought back the two-opinion Nemesis Reviews with a review of the newest Dominion expansion. @Futurewolfie tried to convince us on Thursday that Settlers of Catan is a worker placement game (which no one, myself included, seemed to buy), and @Spielemitkinder reviewed Skagway–an American-style Euro (what a combo!)–on Friday. We’re taking this Friday off in observance of Good Friday, but stay tuned for another packed week.
Last week on iheartprintandplay [New Troll Minis, Human Wizard Pre-Built Character] Last week saw the release of a new set of Troll minis as well as the 3rd pre-built player character set, the Human Wizard. This week you’ll see the release of the 4th pre-built player character, the Half-Elf Cleric, and possibly more. Stay tuned!
Kickstarters of Note
Lots of new stuff in this week’s Kickstarter recap:
- Expedition: Famous Explorers: This rerelease/redesign of Wolfgang Kramer’s Expedition looks interesting and beautiful, if a bit pricy. $50 gets you the game.
- Deadwood Studios: I’m so glad Jame Ernest is back at it. I played the original Deadwood many moons ago. This new edition looks great. $40
- Small World 2: Days of Wonder is porting their popular Small World game to Android devices! Various pledge levels here (including some sweet a la carte add-ons). $15 gets you the digital game on a platform of your choice.
- Family Vacation: Designer Phillip duBarry has been waiting a long time for this project to go live. The game is a family board game of putting together the best family vacation. It looks like a great family game, and duBarry (designer of Revolution! and Kingdom of Solomon) has a great track record. $30 gets you the game.
- Valta: The Unofficial Dominion Card Case: Kickstarter projects for gaming totes haven’t done too well in the past, but this Dominion card case (with room for all expansions, sleeved or unsleeved) is approaching its goal. The price is a bit steep at $105/$130, but a case that can carry and sort everything is admittedly attractive.
- Flash Point: Fire Rescue: Extreme Danger expansion: Flash Point is a popular Kickstarter title, and its expansion passed its funding goal in the first day. It’s already near $100,000, and progress does not seem to be slowing. There are lots of promos and rewards. $40 gets you the expansion with all the promos.
- Rocket Dice: Game Salute has launched a game accessory campaign for rocket dice–which are exactly what they sound like. Designed primarily for Alien Frontiers, these dice can be used in any game that require six-sided dice. There are various pledge levels, and the campaign has already reached 6x its initial funding goal.
What I’ve Been Playing
I had the opportunity to get a lot of good gaming in this week. Here are the details:
- Innovation: I played for the first time last week, and I liked this game. I played two more times this week, and it has entered the “love it” category. My first game was a two-player game with a guy from work. I was advancing quickly through new ages, but none of my cards allowed me to score. He was several ages behind me, but he was able to claim achievements through his score pile. My only hope was to run out the game in the 9s and 10s and hope for the best, but he claimed the last achievement before my plan could come to fruition. It was a sound thrashing. On Friday I played again, this time with three players. Through well-timed usage of my writing dogma (which I was able to force my neighbor to use), I drew several higher-age cards, which gave me an advantage. My board aligned in such a way that when I melded The Pirate Code, it was over for my opponents. There is definitely a chaotic factor in Innovation, but I like that strategies are constantly in flux. Players have to capitalize on opportunities to play well. I love this one.
- The Castles of Burgundy: A friend from work has been trying to get to play this one for a long time, but it didn’t work out until this week. We played a two-player game, and I now see what all the hype is about. The components (typical of Alea, in my opinion) are bland, but the game rises above them. To me, Castles of Burgundy solves the problem I had with Kingsburg: in Kingsburg, I felt hamstrung by my rolls if I rolled poorly. In Castles, my choices were restricted for sure, but I felt like there was always something decent I could do, even if it wasn’t optimal. I lost by a hefty margin to the more experienced player, but I’m eager to give this another try.
- FlowerFall: I love this game. It’s silly, but it’s also a ton of fun. As people arrived at game night on Friday, I taught them this filler, and it was a good time. I scored a single point across two games, but that’s okay. It’s the goal that’s important, not the winning or losing. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
- Power Grid: I was disappointed when, at Christmas, I didn’t get my annual game of Power Grid in against my brother-in-law. I bring it to game night all the time, but it hadn’t gotten any takers–until last Friday. We played a five-player game in which I was the only experienced player. I tried to take care of some of the “bureaucracy” in the game, and it moved along pretty smoothly. The game was tense and exciting all the way through, but @Futurewolfie pulled out a pretty comfortable win. For all his talk of disliking Euros, he’s pretty good at them when he sits down to play…
- Dungeon Lords: It was late, but @Futurewolfie really, really wanted to play this new trade acquisition, and after he played Power Grid, how could I say no? There were four of us, and after a lengthy rules explanation that made all our heads spin, we started to play. I know I wasn’t completely sure what I was doing, but about halfway through the first year, the game clicked. The worker placement in this game is really cool: it involves an element of trying to guess what other players are going to choose and then simultaneously choosing which actions to take (similar to Race for the Galaxy). There are three availabilities for each placement, and certain spots are better than others on each space, so guessing right is a key part of the game. I eked out a win over @Futurewolfie by a single point, and another guy was only two points behind that. Sadly, the fourth player didn’t pay his taxes during the game. Let’s just say he paid at the end. I really liked this game and am eager to play again soon–albeit not at the end of the night.
Matt Morgan of Wired‘s GeekDad posted this link to a nice graphic a user posted on Board Game Geek. I’ve fallen in the “yes/yes” quadrant before but hopefully not too much anymore.