News Bits: 4/21/2014


Lots of NEWS this week, including first blood in this year’s awards season:

Origins Awards nominees announced [LinkAnd…as usual, they are not in the least representative of the larger world of hobby games. Still, these are better choices than have been offered in the past. Maybe.

2013 Dice Tower Award nominees announced [LinkIn direct contrast to the continually baffling and outrageous Origins Awards, The Dice Tower offers a sane and balanced list (albeit heavy on nominations for a few pet games). I’m eager to see the winners from this list.

2014 Mensa Mind Games award winners announced [Link] Winners are Gravwell (our review), Euphoria (our review), Qwixx, and Pyramix. This crop seems a great list of winners. Congratulations to the designers!

How to develop board games at Milton Bradley, 1955 [LinkAre you curious about how very old sausage is made? This video gives an inside look at board game development at Milton Bradley. However, I’m not sure how much we can take at face value. These old educational films, from my experience, turn everything into a science, because they have just a few minutes to capture viewers’ hearts. Written history is usually more complete (and likely more truthful). Still, this is interesting.

Kevin Nunn (Rolling Freight) talks currencies in board games [Link] A bit more philosophical than usual, but this is an interesting post on considering what currencies (other than money) are involved in board games.

Tasty Minstrel Games announces expansion, delayed projects [LinkA few months ago our Kickstarters of Note section on the news was flooded with new microgames from Tasty Minstrel Games. I was doubtful that these would be delivered on time (can a company really push that many projects through the pipeline at once?), but gave the benefit of the doubt by backing. And it turns out, there will be delays, which has prompted the company to bring on more staff. Check out their newsletter for the details.

The Library of Congress looks back at old board games [LinkThis is a cool blog post on the Library of Congress page, showing pictures of some old board game boards.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Seasons review, One Night Ultimate Werewolf review, The Builders: Middle Ages reviewWe took last Friday off in observance of Good Friday, but we’re back this week with a full plate of reviews. Keep slaying!


Kickstarters of Note

  • Sentinel Tactics: The Flame of Freedom: This is the tactical superhero board game experience you’ve been waiting for. It’s set in the world of Sentinels of the Multiverse, and it’s smashing its goals. Also, the video is awesome. Various pledge levels ($100 gets you the game and all the minis, which looks like a great deal, but there are also more affordable options).
  • Blind-accessible board games: This Kickstarter is for some hacks (including card sleeves with braille on them) to make board games more accessible to those who are blind. Various pledge levels.
  • 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.
  • The Big Time: This is an auction game set in the world of Vaudeville. The art looks beautiful, and the game has previously been available as a PnP, so it looks legit. $45.
  • Chopstick Dexterity Mega Challenge 3000: How can you not fall in love with a game with a title like that? This is the newest dexterity game from Mayday Games, and if it’s as good as their others (see: CrokinoleClick Clack Lumberjack, and Coconuts), it will be a hit. $32.
  • Dreamland Chronicles Digital TCG: This Kickstarter campaign is looking to turn the Dreamland Chronicles comic book series into a digital TCG app. The samples in the video look impressive. Various pledge levels available.
  • Escape: The Curse of the Temple Big Box: Queen Games is back on Kickstarter again with another campaign for the big box of the wildly successful game Escape (which we reviewed here). Escape is good, but the big box is pricey for a ten-minute game. $85.
  • Custom dice: This Kickstarter is pretty unusual. It’s to buy equipment for a business that will specialize in creating affordable custom engraved dice. It looks legit and pretty awesome. Various pledge levels
  • Heavy Steam: This is a minis game set in a steampunk world, but it looks surprisingly Euroy. It’s intriguing, to say the least. $75.
  • Eggs and Empires: A new trick-taking game from the designers of Fleet (our review). This looks like Libertalia distilled. The wonky theme is throwing me, but the game looks decent and the theme might be okay for you. $16.
  • Flick Wars: Flick Wars is the newest Kickstarter from Print & Play Productions. It looks like Ascending Empires (which won our Game of the Year award for 2011) with a much shorter playtime. We’ll have a preview up soon. $35.

 What We’ve Been Playing

  • Splendor: I’ve played a lot of Splendor this last week–several games over lunch, as well as several games with my sister who came to visit for the weekend. Splendor is great because it’s quick to play and easy to teach, but it also has good depth to the strategy. Unfortunately, I’m fairly dense at picking up these deeper decisions. In all the games I’ve played, I’ve won just twice. One of my coworkers is a Splendor savant and has yet to be beaten. Still, I really enjoy the challenge of this one. A review will come soon. (FarmerLenny)
  • Fleet: I picked Fleet up recently on the basis of several strong recommendations, and I played my first game over lunch on Friday. I’m not sure what I think about it. I enjoyed the stacking effects of the licenses, but the game didn’t last long enough to get any kind of good engine going. Still, what’s there was interesting, and I’m definitely willing (and looking forward) to play it again. (FarmerLenny)
  • Coconuts: Coconuts is a ridiculous dexterity game that involves monkey catapults and flinging coconuts. My skills so far have proved successful: I’ve won the vast majority of games I’ve played (and I’ve played a lot). But this weekend, my sister put my skills to the test. Whereas the last series I played was a six-game shutout in my favor, my sister did the same to me, winning six games in a row. My entire identity is in question. Still, Coconuts is awesome. (And you can expect a review of this game soon as well.) (FarmerLenny)
  • Spyrium: My sister bought me Spyrium for my birthday last year, so I thought it only right that she get to try it with me. She went for a heavy victory point strategy in the early game, whereas I scored my first points in round five of six. Yet because of the infrastructure I had built during the other rounds, and because of some fortuitous events, I was able to beat her in the end game. Once again, as a new player, despite my suggestion that she look closer at the techniques, she ignored them altogether, and I think that’s what lost her the game. I was able to snag two techniques–the building bonus and the money bonus ones–which definitely tipped the game in my favor. Spyrium has a large experience gap. I’d like to play the game more with experienced players, but I still love it. (FarmerLenny)



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

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