News Bits: 8/11/2014


This is Gen Con week! I won’t be there, but Futurewolfie will be (and I think Andrew will as well). Say hi if you see them! But first, the NEWS:

How Alien Frontiers shaped board game crowdfunding [LinkAn interesting look at Alien Frontiers and how it opened the floodgates for board games on Kickstarter.

Tom Lehmann (Race for the Galaxy) teases Roll for the Galaxy [LinkMuch like the Alien Artifacts expansion to Race for the Galaxy, Roll for the Galaxy has been a long time coming. However, in this small teaser, Lehmann says that the game should release in October-November of this year with all 111 (!) custom dice intact.

A portrait made of 13,138 dice [LinkJust something cool.

Oregon library succceeds in lending board games [LinkThis is a cool idea. I may look into getting something like this started at my public library.

Greater Than Games opens preorders for Sentinels of the Multiverse: Wrath of the Cosmos [LinkAlready the preorders have unlocked some cool free stuff. Check it out!

Author Malcolm Gladwell says he “learned more about the world from playing board games than anything else” [LinkBut they were Monopoly and Risk, so really, does that count? (Just kidding! Read Jennifer’s article.)

Ed P. Marriott (Scoville) details his design philosophy [LinkThis is a design philosophy I can get behind. I love games that are simple to teach. As much as I love my more complex games, I like games more that give me meaty choices within a simple framework. (Reiner Knizia, in my opinion, is a master of this.

Games Precipice discusses game-defining components [LinkWhat is the defining characteristic of the games you love, and how does that influence how you feel about the game? This article is interesting, as always.

Last week on iSlaytheDragon [News Bits, Ascension: Realms Unraveled review, Enigma review, Rattus review, Why, Why, Why #9: Get rid of box inserts]


Kickstarters of Note

  • [redacted]: A cool name for a game, and it looks like a cool game about spies and spying. $55.
  • Era: A new civilization card game that looks fast and fun. $45.
  • Fidelitas: Fidelitas is a game of “medieval meddling,” the first release from Green Couch Games. It’s from designers Jason Kotarski (The Great Heartland Hauling Company) and Phillip duBarry (Revolution). Looks great and the price is right. $19.
  • Nautilus Industries: A worker placement game set in the world of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I’m a sucker for the theme, and it looks cool. ~$45.


What We’ve Been Playing

  • Chicago Express: I bought this in an auction recently because I love stock games, and this one looked interesting (and promised a one-hour playtime). Chicago Express is a perfect information stocks game in which players can do one action on their turns of the three available: auction a share of stock, develop a hex (making companies more valuable), or expand a train line in which they own stock (also generally making companies more valuable). Three of us played over lunch this week, and it was the first time for all of us. One player took the “all his eggs in one basket approach” and purchased all the stock of the red train line.  This wouldn’t have been so bad except that the other player and I bid up his stock purchases, making the train line both solely owned and flush with cash. Even without making it to Chicago, with all of the individual payouts from the red train line, the player who bought all red won handily. I had a blast playing this game, but there were more things to consider than I anticipated. I can’t wait to play again. (FarmerLenny)
  • Medici: One of my coworkers had a birthday this week, so I let him choose our Friday game. He chose Medici, and we had a full six-player table. I took a more balanced strategy, trying to juggle valuable ships and keeping second place in lots of commodities. And I failed. Well, I’ll say that it would have gone better had the final round shaken out differently. (I had paid for my lots thinking I would win most valuable ship, but another player got the 10 tile and stole the honor from me.) I ended up in last place, but it was still a pretty even spread: 17 points separated me from first place, and all six of us were close together. Medici remains one of my favorite auction games–second to only Ra. It’s tense and almost raucously fun with every play. I love it. (FarmerLenny)
  • Istanbul: This weekend I was able to try the Kennerspiel des Jahres winner for the first time. I set up the game while my wife bought ice cream, and when she came back, she said, “It looks…complex.” Never a good sign. Still, I persevered through the teaching time, reassuring her that it’s more complex than it looks and that the game is really simple since most of the tiles do similar things. I struggled in the game arranging my assistants around the board, and I had to use the Fountain space several times (which grants no benefit other than calling your assistants home to your merchant). My wife, by contrast, cleverly budgeted her assistants and would have won outright had she realized collecting both mosque tiles awarded a ruby. As it was, we collected six rubies on the same turn and she won by the tiebreaker. I really liked Istanbul, and I look forward to playing again. It was a clever challenge that I enjoyed trying to wrap my mind around. (FarmerLenny)

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

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