News Bits: 6/3/2013


I was on vacation last week, so I’m still catching up on news. But here’s a good deal of the news from this week:

Bellwether Games interviews designer Ed Marriott (Scoville [unpublished]) [Link] I look forward to Bellwether’s monthly designer interviews, and Marriott’s interview is no exception. He details the prototyping and design process. Here’s an excerpt I liked:

Simplify! In the game design process it is so easy to add more and more little rules to cover the “what-if” scenarios in your game design. I always recommend starting simple and adding detail only when necessary

Shut Up & Sit Down reviews my favorite game (El Grande) [Link] Quinns does a great job summarizing a good deal of why I like the game. (If you’d like to see my review–and Futurewolfie’s less enamored take–click here.)

Mage Company finds US distribution through Game Salute [No link] In an e-mail from Mage Company, they let me know that their games 12 Realms and Wrong Chemistry will find their way to US game stores through Game Salute. In addition, they let me know that their Wrong Chemistry expansion, Expand Your Lab, will hit Kickstarter on July 1 for an Essen 2013 release date. Here are the details they gave about Expand Your Lab:

In Expand your Lab the game is different since from now on a fifth player can join the game. The new Element Cards are more tactical since they give the chance to gain more points and also use both sides of the Hex Tiles. New scientists have been added in the game and each player can use such a card up to three times during the entire game. Finally five cards remain faced up on the table known as five points cards. These cards offer you 5 points each, are more difficulty to be formed and can be claimed by any player. The game ends as soon as these cards are claimed by the players.

Indie Boards & Cards to Kickstart Haggis reprint [Link] In their most recent newsletter, Indie Boards & Cards announced that they will seek funding on Kickstarter for the next printing of Haggis, a climbing game like Tichu. I missed this game the first time around. For those who want to try before buying, Haggis is available on Board Game Arena.

Games and Grub’s guide to gorging at Origins [Link] I don’t attend Origins, but I know this guide to good places to eat will be invaluable to those who do.

Crash Games examines Paradise Fallen campaign [Link] This is a good article on some mistakes to avoid in the Kickstarter process. I appreciated the candor here, and indeed, the things mentioned are many of the reasons I choose not to back some of the projects I see.

GearWorld rules posted on Fantasy Flight’s website [Link] This game has Futurewolfie excited, if not just because it’s by the designer of Cosmic Encounter and Rex. So, Wolfie, this is for you.

The invisible hand [Link] An independent FLGS owner talks about selling Cards against Humanity–an Amazon exclusive product–in his game store.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Sentinels of the Multiverse review, Last Will review, Guide to deck building] Even with the shortened holiday week, we got in two reviews and another guide, as well as the news. This week is another full week with an interview with filmmaker Doug Morse, two reviews, and another guide. Keep slaying!

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

  • Adventure Maximus: This family-friendly RPG comes highly recommended by Jason. $35 gets you the core set.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Princes of the Dragon Throne: I’ve been hearing lots about this game over the past year, and it’s finally on Kickstarter. And oh man, is it a beast of a game. Tons of components. This one looks like it justifies the $100 pricetag. I’m sure epic fantasy gamers will love this one.

What We’ve Been Playing

  • 7 Wonders: My family has really taken to this game, and now that more copies have entered the family’s collection, they play even when I’m not there. I got to play two games with six players. In my first game, I was Gizah, and despite my VP heavy board and awesome guild pull (which gave me points based on completed wonder stages), my sister, who focused on blue buildings, beat me out. The second game I opted for a new strategy: SCIENCE. I was Halikarnassos (side B), and I used my wonder abilities to sift the discard pile for leftover science cards. (There were two, believe it or not.) By the end of the game, I had built up 43 points of science. I thought I had the game in the bag…until my neighbor/sister pulled the Philosopher’s Guild, giving her 1 pt. for each science card to her left and right. Well, since the only other science cards were on her other side, she cleaned up and beat me by just a few points. I love this game, I love that my family enjoys it, and I love that they are tough competitors. (One thing I was surprised to see, though: my aunts’ copy of the game was made in China [mine is from Germany]. I also saw that my mom’s copy of Ticket to Ride was made in China [mine’s from Germany]. I didn’t realize it, but big-name publishers are moving to China too.) (FarmerLenny)
  • Viticulture: This “strategic game of wine-making” found funding last year on Kickstarter. My wife and I played a two-player game this week. I liked it quite a bit. The two-player experience was very tense and a little cutthroat, especially since actions are so limited with two. The endgame was a bit anticlimactic with two (since only one of us could fulfill an order on the last turn to push us over 20 points). I’m guessing the game’s sweet spot is three or four. Still, while my wife did not enjoy it as much as she likes Stone Age, she said she’s willing to play again–always a win. (FarmerLenny)

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

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