News Bits: 5/28/2013


The holiday pushed off this week’s NEWS:

Spiel des Jahres 2013 nominees announced [Link] Definitely some surprises on the nominee list this year as two games nominated for the award are small-box games. The choices seem a bit eccentric, but not having played many of the nominees, I will allow others to hold forth on their worthiness.

Pandasaurus Games to release New Amsterdam, Yedo, and Firenze in US [Link] I’ve been very interested in these games, so I’m glad to see wider release in the US. Now if only I had the cash to get them…

Star Trek: Attack Wing to feature the Dominion War [Link] I think my eyes just glazed over as I typed that. Basically, I’m including this info for Futurewolfie (and for any other Trekkies out there). As for me? Miniatures? Star Trek? No thanks.

Cthulhu comes to Smash Up [Link] If you thought Smash Up was safe, think again. I, for one, am very tired of (in no particular order) zombies, vampires, werewolves, and, yes, Cthulhu. However, if Alderac is capitalizing on Cthulhu, at least they recognize it. This is the best title I’ve seen for a Cthulhu product: The Obligatory Cthulhu Set. This set releases in September.

D&D goes mobile [Link] The role-playing game is about to get its first mobile implementation. I linked to Wizards of the Coast’s press release.

What is game content worth? [Link] Seth Jaffee (Eminent Domain) talks about what consumers tend to value in gaming–and it’s usually not the game designer’s time. I’ll admit, when I first joined the hobby, my opinion of value was much more of the kind Jaffee criticizes: “What are the bits like?” I balked at spending $25 on Jaipur–a game with a few cards and some pogs. The more I play games, however, the more I realize how much Jaffee is right. I won’t go as far as to say that the way a game looks doesn’t matter, but I will say that I would much rather play a well-designed game than an aesthetically pleasing one (though it’s fantastic when the two meet–Ticket to Ride, for example, is one of these games).

If your childhood board games were German… [LinkI love this, especially the Hungry Hungry Hippos/Power Grid hybrid.

The origin of the term “meeple” [Link] Localish game store Cat ‘n’ Mouse posted a factoid on their Facebook that I thought was interesting. But I won’t steal their thunder.

A MeepleTown writer’s post-mortem [Link] I appreciated Thompson’s look at his time off from board game blogging. There are times when I miss the non-blogging game time as well. Every good game found had the pleasure of serendipity. But, of course, if I weren’t blogging about it, I’d be wishing I were. Old habits die hard. Blogging is similar to carrying a camera with you everywhere you go (the Instagram phenomenon?). When you always have a camera, every view is framed. When you are a (consistent) blogger, every experience is a post. These “framing” mechanisms place you once removed from the thing experienced.

Couple begins board game museum [Link] Are games really going mainstream now?

How to repair torn box tops [Link] This is a nice (albeit intense) tutorial. The final results look great, though.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Interview with Jamey Stegmaier, Arctic Scavengers review, The Resistance: 2nd Edition review, Guide to the action point allowance mechanism, Casual Game Insider press release] In anticipation of the holiday weekend, we had a full week last week. This week we’ll have two reviews and a guide. Until then, keep slaying!

Last week on iheartprintandplay [Updated Environment MiniaturesCheck out the updated environment miniatures set thatnow includes trees that you can put your minis in. Check in this week for the upcoming set of Giants miniatures.

Kickstarters of Note
I know I say this every week, but there’s a lot of noteworthy stuff here (Kickstart now for Essen releases perhaps?):

  • Moby Dick: The Card Game: It’s not often that my coworkers are privy to new board games sooner than I am, but one of them recently read and loved Moby Dick and the stars aligned for him to find this. It’s already very much overfunded. It looks a little too thematic (and thus fiddly) for me, and my eyes glaze over when boats are in books, but you may revel in this one. $30.
  • Monster Moos: This is a game of intergalactic cowboys and wrangling various different kinds of cows. The game itself looks very simple and straightforward, and the buy-in is low. $25.
  • Canterbury: This one looks pretty heavy, but I love the theme and art. $60.
  • Railways Express: All those 18xx games are daunting before I even reach the XX, but this one might be more my speed. Then again, it might be too simple. Who knows? Worth checking out at $40.
  • Adventure Maximus: This family-friendly RPG comes highly recommended by Jason. $35 gets you the core set.
  • Archon: This new game from Artipia games looks very involved…but also very cool. $55 gets you the game in the USA.
  • Snowdonia: This worker placement game was released last year at Essen, but it has yet to see wide US distribution. Indie Boards & Cards (publisher of The Resistance) is seeking to change this and is adding minis to boot. $54 for the base game.
  • Amerigo: Judging by the publisher, the designer, and how quickly this funded, I’m not sure this needed a Kickstarter to fund. (Seems like anything with Stefan Feld’s name on the front is a license to print money.) All that aside, this is a new game by Stefan Feld. $65 for the game.
  • Storyteller Cards: This is a normal deck of playing cards but with various options to encourage storytelling. $10.
  • Promised Land: 1250-587 BC: The theme of this one appeals to me as it seeks to retell the history of ancient Israel from the time of the Exodus to the time of the Exile. 45 GBP for US backers.
  • Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia: This is a worker placement game where dice represent players’ workers. Lots of interesting concepts here, but the story and art are what appeal to me most about this one. It’s already blown through its funding and several stretch goals (including custom steampunk dice). $49.
  • Eight-Minute Empire: Legends: This is a stand-alone sequel to Red Raven Games’ Kickstarter release Eight-Minute Empire. $25 for the game.
  • GameTable Online: Supercharged: Online games service GameTable Online is seeking additional funds to improve their website. Various pledge levels available
  • Giant Dice: Minion Games is Kickstarting giant foam dice. Cheap buy-in and customizable dice and colors.
  • Among the Stars: Ambassadors: Artipia Games’ 7 Wondersish game receives a 7 Wondersish expansion. $26 gets you the game shipped in the US.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • The Speicherstadt: This was my first Feld game played, and it’s still probably my favorite. I love how there’s a lot of subtlety to it and how every decision is meaningful. The supply/demand auction mechanic is brilliant. I played this with my lunch group on Wednesday, and we had a great time. I still haven’t figured out how to play it well (I’m always close to the win, but I’ve yet to take the top spot), but I enjoy it quite a bit. What was unique about this game was that, for once, we could have played it in an hour. (We didn’t because one of the players was late, but we finished most of the game in the forty-five minutes after he arrived, and that was with a rules explanation.) (FarmerLenny)
  • Ticket to Ride: This weekend I went to see my mom. Ever since she was introduced to Ticket to Ride at Christmas, she has been playing this game a lot. She plays with her husband (who does not usually like games) as well as with friends and family. She warned me ahead of time to bring my A game. I thought this was all talk, but after two five-player games, she certainly backed up her words. She beat me by a narrow margin in our first game, but the second one wasn’t even close. I’m glad that my mom has taken to this game. Now I need to practice before our next meeting! (FarmerLenny)
  • Airlines: Europe: I got to play this game twice this weekend, and with different groups and different numbers of people. I can now say confidently that I love this game, though it’s definitely better when it moves fast. (A player slowed one of the games down quite a bit. It was still fun, but it left a false impression in others’ minds. “That was a long game!” No, not really…) The game is hard to grasp at first, but each group caught on quickly. I’m looking forward to bringing this out at more family functions. (FarmerLenny)
  • Lost Cities: The Board Game: For my sister’s birthday I got her Lost Cities: The Board Game. I had never played it, but I found an excellent deal on it, I saw that it (kind of) won the Spiel des Jahres, and I had played a lot of the card game, so it seemed like a slam dunk. And, indeed, she loves the game. I got to play with her over the weekend, and I really enjoyed it. It retains a lot of what makes the card game so tense, but it adds some interesting scoring twists (oh, Reiner Knizia). I think the biggest thing that separates this game from the card game is the scoring. The board game is so much easier to score, although the game does take longer. My sister and I played with two of our aunts, and my aunts–who have no experience with Lost Cities, card or board–beat us soundly. For two players, I think I’d still prefer the card game, but the board game was a lot of fun as well. (FarmerLenny)

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

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