Check out this week’s top news stories. Or at least those top news stories as determined by me.
The Fellowship of the Dice
WizKids–maker of dice and wielder of high-powered intellectual properties–announced last week a plan to combine both into the Lord of the Rings dice-building game. The game uses a modified Quarriors engine as players semi/cooperatively battle the hordes of Mordor. I wasn’t a huge fan of Quarriors, and the rebranding seems like a money-grab, but I know this game will definitely find its fans. I am just not likely to be among them.
More Maps for Ticket to Ride
Days of Wonder has announced a new map collection for Ticket to Ride, “Heart of Africa.” The map transports players to–can you guess it?–Africa. The “collection” features one map board and the cards necessary to play it, but at only a $5 drop in price over other collections (which contain two maps), this seems a little half-baked. Still, new Ticket to Ride maps do not usually disappoint.
Kickstarter Changes Policies, “Not a Store”
Following the attention that NPR turned toward Kickstarter, Kickstarter has announced some revised policies specifically geared toward changing backers’ perception of the crowd-funding site as a storefront. It doesn’t look like their new policies should affect board game Kickstarters too much (at least not yet), with the only stipulation being an added “risks and challenges” box for project creators to explain the dangers of their projects to backers. (Some additional regulations are now in place for hardware, but the Kickstarter blogger assured readers that these guidelines to not apply to game projects.)
This seems like a step in the right direction, but I don’t really think it will do much–for anyone, really. What backer doesn’t know there are risks involved? What creator doesn’t think he or she can overcome the risks and challenges of their project? This seems similar to McDonald’s offering pedometers all those years back, after Super Size Me came out. Yes, McDonald’s presented the image of their being more health conscious, but did it stop anyone from ordering a Big Mac?
More Designer Interviews
This week saw two excellent designer interviews. The first comes from Grant Rodiek of Hyperbole Games, his interview with Jamey Stegmaier, the creator of soon-to-be-successful Kickstarter game Viticulture. This was one of the most interesting designer interviews I’ve read, period. Check it out. Derek Thompson of MeepleTown, one of my favorite game design interviewers, also interviewed Richard Garfield (King of Tokyo, Magic: The Gathering).
Kickstarters of Note
- I’m the Boss: The Card Game: Gryphon Games has a card game version of the popular negotiation board game, based on Sackson’s notebooks. Now they’ve announced that the game will include the bonus cards necessary to re-create it as Sackson imagined it. That seems like a fantastic deal for $25.
- Viticulture: A game about wine that looks less intense than Vinhos. It’s also the only Kickstarter game I’ve seen with a money-back guarantee! $39
- Jungle Ascent: A Donkey Kongish game from 5th Street Games that has already reached its funding goal and has some sweet extras ready for backers. $25
- Mars Needs Mechanics: Yes, the steampunk theme looks pasted on, but the game itself looks interesting (if you like economic games). $40 buy-in.
- 12 Days: A Christmas-themed trick-taking card game based on “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The art is beautiful, and the game is designed by James Ernest. $15.
- Lost Valley: Another reprint from Pandasaurus Games. Pandasaurus seems to be putting Kickstarter projects in the pipeline at an alarming rate, with Tammany Hall and The Great Fire of London yet to be delivered (still projected on time). Still, if this interests you, the game looks pretty good. $55
- Salmon Run: This game has already passed its funding goal and is swimming toward its first stretch goal. (Check out our preview and interview with the designer.) $36.
Completely Unrelated Awesomeness of the Week
I downloaded a sampler on NoiseTrade a while back from Trampled by Turtles, a newgrass band. (They sound somewhere between Old Crow Medicine Show and Mumford and Sons [only without the shouting].) This last week I bought their full album Stars and Satellites and have not been disappointed. I highly recommend it.