News Bits: 6/24/2013


Indeed, the Origins info poured in this week. Here’s the NEWS:

Asmadi Games demos Impulse [Link] A new game from Carl Chudyk! It’s a 4x space game… But it’s Carl Chudyk, designer of Glory to Rome, FlowerFall, and Innovation! Okay, sign me up, especially since it plays in 30 minutes. I can’t wait to find out more about this one.

The Dice Tower covers Origins [Link] Lots of demos and interviews to sift through if you are so inclined. One interview I enjoyed was…

Jay Tummelson talks Dominion at Origins [Link] The video is primarily about Dominion: Guilds, but around 4:30, Jay starts talking about what the future of Dominion will look like. It’s interesting to hear his rationale and perspective. My interest was especially piqued about a licensed Dominion storage solution (!) arriving as early as the next few months (!!).

Donald X. Vaccarino reveals the secret history of Dominion: Guilds [Link] I always find these secret histories to be an insightful look at the design process.

AEG teases next Tempest game, Canalis [Link] It looks like the next game in the Tempest series will be a tile-laying game from Philip duBarry (Revolution!). There’s really not much information about it, but, well, there it is.

Hyperbole Games solicits GenCon prototype information [Link] Grant Rodiek is compiling a list of prototypes that will be available to demo at GenCon. If you have one that you’d like others to know about, you’ll want to check out this link. ***UPDATE: The prototype post is live.

Days of Wonder announces new game Relic Runners [Link] Days of Wonder knows how to build anticipation for their games. By focusing on one or two new releases a year, their announcements always make a splash. I’m cautiously optimistic. While DoW’s games always look great, there is only one that I’ve felt any desire to own or expand (Ticket to Ride). I’m sure we’ll hear more about this as its release gets closer.

Dice Hate Me recaps Origins 2013…in pictures [Link] This recap may hold little interest for you if you don’t know the people talked about, but in the midst of it, there are some pictures of games too.

Fortress: Ameritrash discusses board game prices [LinkI don’t often (okay, ever) buy minis games, but I have noticed the price creep in other games. It’s starting into the realm of many games just not being worth it, even if they are fun. (I keep a spreadsheet to track whether board games are really a “cheaper” or more cost effective form of entertainment. I’ll write a full report sometime, but at least with hobbyists who are into breadth instead of depth, it doesn’t seem to be the case.)

Glory to Rome Kickstarter receives wider attention [Link] There were several of these Kickstarter stories going around this week (this was the best, I thought), and all of them seemed to be on the project creator’s side. Now, I’m very sad that Ed lost his house, and there aren’t many out there rejoicing at his misfortune (though, as always, there are some). But I think these articles have missed the big problem when they paint the mob as ungrateful and entitled consumers: the lack of meaningful communication on the part of the project creator throughout the process. Kickstarter has its risks (see: Odin’s Ravens, Glory to Rome), and the Kickstarter community is usually pretty accommodating when schedules aren’t met–if there is sufficient meaningful communication throughout. In this case, worse than no communication, there was wrong communication–due to either incompetence or malice (I lean toward the former). Should Ed have lost his house? No! But the problems with the campaign were not merely a series of circumstances outside his control. Accounting for those, he still carries a heaping helping of blame for the campaign’s misfortune. Still, Glory to Rome is an excellent game (in my top five), and I wish the company well as they seek to get back on their feet. I also applaud Ed for doing what he can to make it right.

Last Week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Saint Petersburg review, Zombie State review, HomeStretch review, Guide to auction games] Full weeks are becoming the norm around these parts. This week will continue the trend as we have three more reviews (one of a top-ten game on BGG) and another guide. Keep slaying!

Kickstarters of Note
Here’s what I’ve found of interest on Kickstarter:

  • Among the Stars: Ambassadors: Artipia Games’ 7 Wondersish game receives a 7 Wondersish expansion. $26 gets you the game shipped in the US.
  • Adventures on the Tabletop: Adventures on the Tabletop is a new board game documentary focusing on board game design. It will look at the design process from pitching to production and already features interviewers with designers like Alan Moon. $15 gets you a digital download/$25 gets a DVD.
  • Haggis: This two- or three-player climbing game has been out of print for a few years, and Indie Boards & Cards is Kickstarting the reprint. $15 gets you the game and a Haggis-themed regular playing card deck.
  • New Amsterdam: This game by Jeffrey Allers debuted at Spiel 2012, and Pandasaurus Games is bringing the game to the US (along with Firenze). $55.
  • City Hall: This looks like an interesting game of bidding and role selection. It missed its funding the first time around on Kickstarter, but now it’s seeking funding under the Tasty Minstrel brand. $40 gets the game.
  • Gothic Doctor: This game looks quirky and weird…but just the right kind of quirky for me. $25 gets the game.
  • Council of Verona: This one really excites me. It’s a small-box game (which already have a special place in my heart), and it’s set in the world of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. I like the theme, I like the look, I like the price. $12.
  • Princes of the Dragon Throne: I’ve been hearing lots about this game over the past year, and it’s now on Kickstarter. And oh man, is it a beast of a game. Tons of components. This is the rebooted version, with wooden components, a money-back guarantee, and a friendlier, $79 pricetag.
  • Kremlin: This is a campaign I’m very excited about (and hope to contribute to before it ends). Jolly Roger Games is Kickstarting the reprint of this satirical political game set in the world of Russian politics. $25 gets the game (and seems a very reasonable price).
  • Paperback: This is another game I think looks great. It’s a deckbuilding word game set in the world of publishing (a world I know and love). $25 for the game.
  • Wok Star: This was originally to be a Z-Man game, but apparently it’s not anymore. It’s coming to you via Game Salute and looks fantastic. This is another real-time cooperative game (in the vein of, but really preceding Escape). $39.
  • VivaJava: The Dice Game: TC Petty III is back with a new coffee game, this time for 2-4 (instead of 3-8) players. VivaJava missed its niche for me, but this one looks interesting. $30 gets the game, with other levels available for additional swag.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • Hanabi: I played two three-player games this week, and this game is pretty great. Usually when I explain other cooperative games, I begin with, “There are all of these ways to lose, and only one way to win!” With Hanabi, there’s really only one way to lose, and losing–while not exactly difficult to do–isn’t as prominent as in, say, Pandemic or Space Alert. Instead, Hanabi offers you a grade on your performance, a grade that you can compare and hopefully improve over time. I (and my fellow players, who were n00bs) appreciated the less anxiety-laden experience. Look for a review soon. (FarmerLenny)
  • Glory to Rome: I played a three-player game, and since we were all experienced, we used the Imperium rules for the first time, which make for a tenser, less-forgiving game. One weird thing about this game in particular was that we all built structures that made us immune to the Legionary role. One opponent built the Senate, which let him claim all of our used jacks, so I went with a strategy that let me petition more cheaply. I combined this with a building that let me use Architect to claim materials from the stockpile, and I was able to build lots of buildings even in the shorter three-person game. I won by five points. I love this game. (FarmerLenny)
  • Yspahan: My wife and I played this last night for the first time in a while. We own several camel-themed games, and as I learned the hard way (yet again), my wife’s superior knowledge of camels helped her achieve the victory. It was close, but she filled a lot of souks during the game for lots of points. (FarmerLenny)
  • Merchants & Marauders: It was quite a game filled weekend for me, and my saturday started off with a game of pirately goodness.  When captains were dealt we started out with 2 players going piratey and 2 going merchanty – a nice balance.  M&M does a great job of offering the freedom that a certain Captain Jack Sparrow spoke of when he spoke about sailing in a ship, and there was plenty of a-plundering, seeking out rumors, and completing missions, and surprisingly little direct conflict between players this time around.  Not that I didn’t try… in the end, the newest player loaded up on treasure and managed to complete enough of his rumors to score 10 points and win! It’s a blast to play even when you lose, though.  Look for a review relatively soon. (futurewolfie)
  • Fortress America: It’s been a long time coming, but I finally got the classic war-game to the table with 3 friends.  In case you’re unaware, FA features a single player as the US defending the country while 3 other players, each controlling a separate coalition of forces, attempts to invade.  The invaders have the advantage of immediate, overwhelming force and surprise/initiative, while the US starts out with forces spread out and fairly weak, but the US slowly builds up a network of powerful lasers, and holds the home-field advantage, while the Invaders slowly run out of reinforcements.  It was a tough but surprisingly balanced game, and though the invaders (including myself) crushed the US down to a small part of the Mid-west, the US player managed to hold ob by tactical retreating and effective use of lasers.  It came down to one last turn where we made a bid to control enough cities to defeat the US, but he managed to recover just enough, forcing us to concede.  Unfortunately, the game lasted about twice as long as it claimed it would (almost 6 hours instead of 2-3) which is way too long.  I don’t know if it was inexperience, AP, or certain players that were just slow but the length was too long for the game, and hopefully it will shorten in future plays. (futurewolfie)
  • Star Wars X-Wing: Me and my good buddy Blake finally got some expansion ships for X-wing and were able to play a full 100-pt fleet game.  I took 2 Y-wings, and an X-Wing piloted by Wedge Antilles, and lots of proton torpedos, while my opponent built a massive fleet out of 4 tie fighters supporting Darth Vader in a Tie Advanced.  It was hectic, exciting, tense, and a lot more fun when you can use support abilities and coordinate tactical positions.   With some lucky rolls (a surprising occurrence for me) and judicious use of the Ion cannon, I managed to take out a few tie fighters and even the numbers, and then a really unfortunately timed critical hit on Darth Vader took him out suddenly, leading to a solid victory in which all of my pilots survived (although some with rather limping ships).  It was so much fun; this is definitely one of the best new games I’ve got in a while. (futurewolfie)

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

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