News Bits: 4/1/2013


No fooling this week. Here’s the NEWS:

Wil Wheaton announces TableTop season 2 [Link] For those who are interested, geek darling Wil Wheaton has announced the second season of his very popular board game show TableTop. Due to be played this season are The Resistance and Smash Up, among others. The season will begin this Thursday.

Stonemaier Games teases Euphoria [Link] I love the art on this one, and the backstory is interesting. I’ll pass along details as I find them out, but this is one to watch.

An update from Cambridge Games Factory [Link] It seems that one bad thing after another keeps happening at CGF, which is unfortunate, not just because there are people involved, but because they make great games. I hope the company can recover from the Kickstarter missteps and start making games again, sooner rather than later.

Last week on the Dragon [News Bits, Counterpoint: Is Catan Really a Worker Placement Game?, Coup review, Interview with Philip duBarry] Lots of good stuff last week–check it out! Also, this week is Traitor Week on iSlaytheDragon, with @Futurewolfie looking at three games with hidden loyalties and traitors in the midst. Stay tuned!

Kickstarters of Note
Lots of new stuff in this week’s Kickstarter recap:

  • 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.
  • Eminent Domain: Escalation: Tasty Minstrel Games is Kickstarting the expansion to their popular role-selection/deck-building game Eminent Domain. Eminent Domain got stale for me quickly, but the core was very fun, and I thought expansions would really improve on the replayability. This seems to fit that bill. $25 gets the expansion/$50 gets the game and expansion. (Here’s our review of the base 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.
  • Area 1851: Cowboys and aliens: the game! This one looks cool. $50 gets you the game.
  • 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.
  • Werewolf: There have been a million different Werewolf implementations it seems. Do we need another one? Max Temkin thinks so, and after seeing the design on the cards, I’m inclined to agree (if you like Werewolf, that is–I don’t). $10 gets you the game.
  • Dragon Clash: This card game was previously released, but the Kickstarter is meant to update the game and launch it in new directions. We should have a review up soon. $20 gets you a deck.
  • Legendary Monsters: This game is based on various urban legends and has detailed miniatures included. This one does not look like my cup of tea (I’m not much one for horror stuff), but it might be yours. It’s already funded, and $25/piece gets you the miniatures to play the game.

What I’ve Been Playing
I had a lot to attend to last week that was not gaming related, but I still got some good stuff in (even on Tabletop Day).

  • Glory to Rome: My lunch group played a three-player game of Glory to Rome this week. I’ve not had much success against them recently, mainly because I taught them too well. All of us usually eschew the Catacombs card (just to make sure we can play the whole hour), but in this game, one of the players laid the foundation for this card in his first turn, and he almost immediately was able to add two stone to its foundation. It put a lot of pressure on all of us, knowing that he could end the game at any moment. The other player was very flustered by this and wasn’t able to produce much of a guiding strategy until late in the game. I, however, was fortunate to have completed the Sewer as my first building, which let me put used role cards directly into my stockpile. I also built a Wall, which in addition to making me immune to Legionary actions also awarded me 1 point for every two materials in my stockpile. Because of this, I knew I had a cushion should the other player decide to complete the Catacombs. There were a lot of great combos for all of the players, but eventually the Catacombs player just ended the game because I had pulled ahead. It was a nice win, but I know I can’t rest on my laurels. My opponents are too good for that.
  • Love Letter: Our Glory to Rome game finished in around 50 minutes, so we decided to try Love Letter for the first time. This had been out of stock for a while, but I finally landed a copy from the recent restock. First impression: tastes great, less filling. We were able to play six rounds in ten minutes, and we had a great time. It definitely falls within filler territory, and as I said in my review of Coup, I’m thinking it’s great in small doses. In any case, I can’t wait to play again.
  • Galaxy Trucker: @Futurewolfie had a few of us over for Tabletop Day. We played his super secret prototype (about which I will say nothing except that it’s very promising) and then played Galaxy Trucker for the first time. One thing I’ve noticed about Vlaada Chvatil’s designs is that the rules explanations are a bear, and Galaxy Trucker was no exception. (I think the reason for this is that his designs are also very novel: there’s usually a lot new that’s going on.) The learning round on the small ship was…very taxing. I had several mistakes on my ship, and I ended the round with a single credit. However, after this, I was determined to do better, and I ended up winning the game. While the first round was very difficult–a lot to remember, not really knowing what would be thrown at us–the rest of the game was a blast. Granted, it’s a lighthearted game, so taking it seriously isn’t a great idea, but there’s enough strategy to make it worthwhile. I enjoyed this one quite a bit and am looking forward to trying it again.

Completely Unrelated Awesomeness of the Week
Are you pressed for time? Well, now you can watch all six Star Wars movies at once. Isn’t technology grand?

And while we’re on the subject of Star Wars, here’s a song about the Cantina…in the style of “Copa Cabana.”

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

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