Lots of good stuff to read this week. Thus, the NEWS:
Indie Boards & Cards funding a rerelease of Coup in the Resistance universe [Link] In my review of the first edition of Coup, there were three main cons I noted about the game: nonstandard card size, bigger box than necessary, and limited availability. Indie Boards & Cards is fixing all of these. While I like the minimalist art of the first edition, the new, future-chic art is cool too. And, as Josh Edwards noted on Twitter, this new edition of Coup will still benefit the charity in Maine that the original game supported. Overall, I’m hard-pressed to think of a better value for $15, especially considering the promos that will be included in this new edition (support for up to eight players, a new, optional character, and Merlin/Assassin promos for the original The Resistance game). The coins, I’ve learned, will also be upgraded from the flimsy plastic chips to cardboard chits.
Stronghold Games announces Space Sheep [Link] Moving on from the success of Space Cadets, Stronghold Games is launching another real-time cooperative game set in space, this time with what appears to be a Star Wars parody universe. Not much is known about the game yet, but the box looks interesting.
Steve Jackson shares 2012 report to the stakeholders [Link] Steve Jackson is setting the bar for transparency here. Also, sometimes great Kickstarter success can be a blessing and a curse (see also: Glory to Rome: Black Box).
Ed P. Marriott posts print-and-play files for Scoville [Link] I’ll admit that I don’t know much about the game itself. All I know is the wonderful feedback I keep hearing about this game, and from numerous sources. I don’t do many PnPs myself anymore, but I’m sure many of our readers will be interested in this.
Greater Than Games launches Galactic Strike Force [Link] Those who were worried that Greater Than Games (Sentinels of the Multiverse) were a one-hit wonder should take a look at this campaign. Cooperative deck-building isn’t new, but it hasn’t been popular…yet. I’m a believer. Check this one out.
The 2013 Gathering of Friends [Link] The Gathering of Friends, begun by Alan Moon (Ticket to Ride), is an annual, invitation-only event for board game designers and other insiders. I was not present (or invited), but Dale Yu of The Opinionated Gamers was, and he posted several recaps. (The link is to the first of the recaps; the others are on their website.)
How games got their names [Link] Some of this is fascinating. Though I thought Go was of Chinese origin, not Japanese. (And, if Wikipedia can be trusted [open debate], it is of Chinese origin. Hmmmm…)
The Dice Tower announces nominees for the Dice Tower Awards [Link] No real surprises here in the nominations, but it shows that we are in the midst of awards season.
Alderac teases new Smash Up expansion [Link] Looks like another expansion is coming in August–just in time for GenCon. We’ll keep you posted as we discover new details.
Yucata adds Philippe Keyaerts’ Vinci [Link] Online asynchronous game website Yucata.de has added Vinci, the precursor to the more well-known Small World, to its stable of games.
Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Salmon Run review, Tower of Babel review, Let’s Play, Green Bay! recap] We posted two new reviews last week as well as the news and a convention recap. This week will see us post another two reviews as well as the next article in our Guide to Gaming series. Keep slaying!
Last week on iheartprintandplay [Spider Miniatures , Player Character: Dragonborn Paladin] After two weeks (and two dead hard drives) iheartprintandplay has posted a new set of printable spider miniatures as well as a 5th player character sets (mini, character sheet, & power cards). Check in this week for the 6th and final player character set.
Kickstarters of Note
Lots of interesting projects this week:
- 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.
- Lincoln’s War: I don’t typically like war games, but this one looks like an interesting twist, with a storytelling element. $70 gets the game. (And check out our interview with the designer.)
- 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.
- Paradise Fallen: This is a new game from Crash Games.$25 buy-in.
- Twin Tin Bots: This is the relaunch of a campaign from the designer of Small World. Lots of great miniatures are included, and the game looks fun (RoboRallyish, if you like that). $55 for the game.
- The Resistance: Coup: I’ve written elsewhere about this excellent game. If you live in the United States, $15 is an excellent price for this game, shipped straight to your door. And it’s already hit several stretch goals. (My review is here.)
- Creekos: This is a trick-taking game with a Greek mythology bent. The art looks great, and the game looks fun. $30 gets the game.
- Francis Drake: This game looks really cool, though probably a bit more involved than my typical play groups would allow. The price is a bit steep, but it looks like there are definitely enough components to justify the price. $65 for the game.
- Galactic Strike Force: This is the new game from Sentinels of the Multiverse creators Greater Than Games. There aren’t many details yet on this cooperative deck-building game, but I’m sure it’s worth following. $50 for the game, $80 for the game with minis.
What We’ve Been Playing
Here’s some of what we played this week:
- Medici vs. Strozzi: I picked up this two-player game because I like Reiner Knizia, I like auctions, and my most frequent gaming situation is to play with two players (with my wife). I got to try this for the first time this week, and my immediate reaction is that this will not work for spousal gaming. The game is fun, but very thinky and intense. Also, the first game had a steep learning curve because neither I nor my opponent had a strong grasp of how to price lots for the other player. In the end, we both had a great time, but the score was very lopsided. I imagine the next game will be closer and more exciting. (@FarmerLenny)
- Tigris & Euphrates: I’ve had this game for over a year, but I’ve only played in person one other time (and on a variant, two-player map). Friday was the first time I was able to play the full game with a full complement of players outside of app play. The game took a while to explain, and there were some hiccups (especially around internal and external conflicts), but it was a very fun experience. What makes Tigris & Euphrates so interesting is the scoring: the game is won by the player who has the most points in his weakest sphere of power. I pulled out a narrow win on the second tiebreaker against one of my opponents, and since the game was so close for all players, it made it that much more satisfying. (@FarmerLenny)
- Coup: I tried Coup for the first time with Mr. Lenny and I gotta say, I enjoyed it a lot. I’m a big fan of bluffing in games, although I’m not always great at it. But Coup is so simple and so short that if you screw up, the round will end soon and you can play a new round. I made a few successful bluffs and was in a great position the first game, but I coup’d the wrong player and the remaining guy had the upper hand to maneuver me into defeat. The second game I made a wildly reactive and poorly timed accusation right away and got stuck with only one influence for most of the game which… well, quite frankly, lead to a quick and painless death. But I had a lot of fun. (@Futurewolfie)
- Shadows over Camelot: It’s been a while since this game hit the table, but with seven players I knew we had to play with the Traitor. Through excellent leadership (not from King Arthur though. Played by @FarmerLenny, he was pretty much a baby the whole time), we crushed the Holy Grail quest quickly. Shortly thereafter King Arthur knocked the Black Knight out, and Excalibur was retrieved with a “Heroic” card giving us an extra white sword. A series of successful quests later and we ended the game with ten white swords and two black. Dan, our resident traitor, just couldn’t pull enough weight against us, and even though he didn’t get caught and 2 white swords became black, that just put it at 8 to 4 which was still a wild win. So yes, Shadows can be pretty easy, and even though there was a chance of loss, one Traitor vs. six Loyal knights is pretty hefty odds. (@Futurewolfie)
- X-Wing Minis: I have been tempted by this game for many moons and finally gave in, purchasing a copy at a brand new local game store. I managed to get a quick game in with the quick-play rules, and I had a blast. I love the nature of the movement system and the tension of trying to predict your opponents moves to get into a better position for attack. And even though i’m horrible at dice rolls and missed so many opportunities to blow my enemies to bits as a result, I still had a riot of a good time, and I look forward to playing the full game and adding more ships into my little fleet. Spaceships! Minis! Dice rolls! It’s everything I love and everything @FarmerLenny hates! (@Futurewolfie)
- Ascension: Rise of Vigil: I broke my no-Kickstarter policy to buy this game, and in true Kickstarter fashion, it ended up showing up about three weeks late. Oh well, it’s here now, so I tested the waters at work with a couple of Dominion enthusiasts to see how well it would work as an introductory set. Turns out they kept the rule set very simple, so I was able to teach and play a three-player game in under an hour. I’d call that a success. On the weekend I played three games with my wife who has played plenty of Ascension but was new to this set. We had two really close games (which she won) and one blowout (which I won). The blowout consisted of me banishing my starting deck and really maximizing the new Energy mechanic. I’m a huge fan of this set so far, watch for a review later this week! (Andrew)
- Bora Bora: This is looking to be a great year for Stefan Feld fans! I got to try his first 2013 release (of four!) at a local convention back in March and was very impressed. Since then I’ve been really looking forward to trying this one again. I like the point salad approach that he takes in a lot of his games and Bora Bora definitely leans strongly in that direction. I started off rolling three 1’s (which is absolutely terrible) but was able to use my bad rolls to clog up some of the useful actions and share my misfortune with the other players. Everything worked out in my favor as I pulled ahead at the end with a big score from my fine jewelry collection. I can’t wait to play again! (Andrew)
Completely Unrelated Awesomeness of the Week
In preparation for Patton Oswalt’s appearance on Parks & Recreation, he practiced with this impromptu filibuster on his take for the next Star Wars movie. I’m embarrassed that I understood all of it.
I owned Tigris & Euphrates for probably 4 years and only managed to get it played once. It’s an incredibly novel game but for whatever reason people were absolutely terrified of playing it. I ended up trading it off because it just wasn’t going to get played much in my group. I hope you have better luck!
I get my T&E fix on the Android app (and before that, I borrowed my wife’s iPod for the iOS app). I don’t imagine I’ll get to play the board version more than once or twice a year, but it was a lot of fun to play around a table, so I’ll probably keep it around. That’s what I do with Power Grid, too–keep it around for its one play a year.