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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Board Game News 22: Miniatures, Wine and Games plus This Weeks New Releases

Just a quick news update this week, also this is the last news update before my big move to Canterbury. Not sure when I’ll next have internet guys so Unboxed may go quiet for a few weeks but I promise, I will be back!

Otherworld Miniatures

If you didn’t catch the news flash earlier this week, Otherworld Miniatures, my favourite mini manufacturers are running an Indiegogo Campaign. They have already smashed their target and their first stretch goal but it’s still worth jumping in and backing them as these are going to be some of the best 28mm adventurer minis available!

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Stonemaier Games

Jamey and Alan would like you to know about their Kickstarter project…

Wine lovers, wishful Vineyard owners, and gamers unite! Viticulture Game developed by St Louis duo

Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone have created a fun yet refined board game centred around the art and science of wine making, aptly named Viticulture. The St Louis team skilfully captured the romanticism of owning a vineyard, and packaged it into this entertaining game.

Jamey has been creating games for over a decade; Alan has also studied strategy games in-depth. Their journeys culminate here, under the Stonemaier Games™ logo, in a game already receiving international exposure.

Jamey and Alan are just in the beginning phases of getting Viticulture off the ground. To test market demand they’ve established a fantastic crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter. The Viticulture campaign (open until 7 October) has gained great support to the tune of nearly 200% funding with 1 weeks remaining, fuelled by a buzz about the game, especially after it passed multiple tests by experts, enthusiasts, and novices alike.

About the game:

Viticulture challenges players to create, cultivate, and expand a vineyard in Italy. In the game, you find yourself in rustic Tuscany, where you've inherited a meagre vineyard. You'll have a few plots of land, an old crushpad, a tiny cellar, 3 workers, and the dream of owning the best winery in Italy.

Using those workers (and sometimes visitors) across the seasons, you expand your vineyard by building structures, planting vines, and filling wine orders as you work towards the goal of owning the most successful winery in Tuscany.

The game is sure to please those who enjoy wines, strategy games, or dream of the sights and sounds of a classic European Vineyard.

Number of players: 2-6
Time required: 45-90 min
Recommended ages: 13+
Interest in playing board games more challenging than Monopoly: Helpful
Knowledge of wines/vineyards required: Zero
Interest or love of wine required: Nada

Want to learn more, check out this designer diary by Jamey.

 

Kraken Games

Kraken Games has finally launched their Kickstarter for their game Evil Intent which we mentioned in the news a few months ago. Here’s what Christian has to say about the game…

Everyone wants to take over the world.

But, since taking over the real world requires a lot of time, energy, money and motivation – we made this game instead! Which… Also has taken us time, energy and motivation. Hmm. Now we’re just missing money! You should give us money. We’ll give you stuff too!

In Evil Intent, you can take over the world as many times you want, in many evil ways; all while taunting and thwarting your opponents. This isn’t a cooperative game. Nobody wants to share their reign. Our goal was for you to be malicious, loathsome, repulsive, vile, heinous and all around unpleasant towards each other. Unless you want to keep your friends, then it’s your call.

Players 2 - 6  |  Ages 12 and up

Game Play

Do you want to take on the role of a vile Overlord? Then check out their Kickstarter now

 

Stratamax Games

Box Cover ArtStrataMax Games is pleased to announce pre-orders for Essen pick up of
Sheepdogs of Pendleton Hill which is debuting at Spiel are now being
accepted at our website:

In Sheepdogs of Pendleton Hill each player is a sheepdog!
Players move flocks of sheep up the hill to the shepherds. The higher
a player's sheep get before meeting their shepherds, the more points
they will score. The player who scores the most points wins.

A deck of cards is used by the players to take actions such as placing
shepherds, putting sheep into flocks, moving flocks of sheep, and
moving the wolf. Flocks often contain sheep from many players and
cooperation can be key. But how long will this helpful, peaceful
pastoral scene last when the cards require players to take actions for
other players which can include placing opponents' shepherds in lower
scoring areas and moving flocks that do not contain their own sheep?

And a hungry wolf ever lurks in the background...

The first 400 purchasers will receive the Wolf Expansion Deck free!

Pre-ordered copies must be picked up at the Spiel in Essen by noon on Saturday at our booth #210 in hall 4. Failure to do so could result in forfeiture of the order without a refund.

Pre-orders are limited to in person pick up at Spiel 2012. We are unable to offer shipping at this time.


Don't be sheepish. Order the fluffy game with bite today for 35 Euro.
Bundle Let's Take a Hike for only 5 Euro more.

Max Michael -Stratamax Games

IELLO

To celebrate the release of King of Tokyo – Power Up!, the first expansion to the planetary success by the author of Magic: the Gathering, Richard Garfield will be IELLO’s guest of honour to the next international Game Fair of Essen!

IELLO will then offer a exclusive promo card named “Garfield’s Gift”. The power on this illustrated blank card is meant be handwritten by the author himself during the signing sessions on IELLO’s booth (hall 9, stand 74) from Thursday, October 18th to Saturday, October 20th, from 11 a.m. to noon and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Anyone will be able to get his or her own, unique card. It’s time to figure out what ultimate power you’d like to possess: no one will dare contest when you play a secret weapon signed by the author himself!

CPROMOCARD.indd

Pre-orders for pick-up at the Game Fair are available at : http://iellogames.miiduu.com.

SEIZE ABSOLUTE POWER!

Richard Garfield strikes a!cid_image004_jpg@01CD9A74gain with this first expansion for King of Tokyo!

Life in Tokyo just got a little more dangerous! A new Monster has arrived in town: meet the incredible Pandakaï!

Plus each monster now has its own unique set of Evolution cards which can be acquired during play. Some of these evolutions are discarded when played, others are kept like the ‘Keep’ cards in the base game. All evolutions can be kept secret once drawn and are revealed only when played

FEATURES:

· First expansion for the international best-seller game.

· A new monster : Pandakaï !

· New material to spice up your games!

Players: 2 to 6. Age: 8+. Duration: 30 min. Language: English.

Contents: 1 Rules booklet, 56 Evolution cards, 7 “counters”, 1 Pandakaï Monster Board, 1 cardboard figure + 1 plastic stand.

Release: ESSEN 2012

Suggested Retail Price: $20 / 15€

!cid_image006_jpg@01CD9A74

RULE UCHRONIA, CITY OF WONDERS

Welcome to a world where dinosaurs survived and live together with antique civilizations.!cid_image005_jpg@01CD9A85

As patriarch of one of the five ruling houses of Uchronia, you will struggle against other wealthy domains to get the city under your control. In order to build the city to your benefit, you will have to trade foreign treasures and raw material, build your own stock of resources, develop profitable activities and harass your opponents.

Only the most powerful will become the new ruler of Uchronia.

POINTS FORTS :

· The new game from Carl Chudyk, designer of Innovation.

· Profound strategy with simple rules and easy-to-set-up components.

· Numerous tactical choices offer great replayability.

Players: 2 to 5. Age: 14+. Duration: 45 to 60 min. Language : English.

Contents: 5 Domains / Player’s guides, 80 Building cards, 174 Resource cards, 5 Monopoly cards, 1 Last Turn card and 1 set of rules.

Out: ESSEN 2012

Suggested Retail Price: 25€ / $32,5

The rules for Uchronia are now available

!cid_image003_jpg@01CD9A90

Cons and Clubs

First up here are four Conventions you should know about if you live in the UK

Travel Con 12th – 14th October at The Travellers Rest, Kenton Road, Harrow

Apres-Essen Goodie Con 27th October at Belmont Hall in Wellington, Telford

Liverpool Lions 2nd Annual Con 4th Nov Sycthe and Teacup Cafe Liverpool

Grim Con 9th – 10th November Marston Hotel Blackpool

And what’s on this week?

Well if you live in the Manchester area, why not check out Board Games at the Ivy with Tim Cockitt. Tim always keeps me entertained with games at the UK Games Expo and he runs a Board Game Night once a month at Ivy Manchester Evangelical Church, 97 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, Manchester. M20 2GP. Friday 5th Oct 7:30pm to 11:00pm. The evening is free but some nice cakes or biscuits are always appreciated!

For more events check out the calendar below and to add your events to our calendar why not contact me

.

 

This Week’s Releases

And finally here is Board Game Guru’s Paul to tell us all about the upcoming week…

Hi,

Next week's new release's

‘Spectaculum’ a circus themed equity game from Reiner Knizia.This is a Guru only UK release at the moment

‘Mage Wars’ and ‘Core spell tome’ – this has been receiving some rave reviews, not least of which is this video review by Tom Vasel

‘Memoir ’44 : Equipment pack’ – more of an auxiliary army than a pack – this large box includes about 200 minis, loads of scenarios and enough to keep the hardened ’44er happy for some time

‘World Conquerors’ – this looks quite entertaining – this review has persuaded me to open a copy when it arrives next week

‘Oath and Anvil’ is the first expansion for Rune age and includes 2 new playable factions, new cards for exiting factions and new scenarios

‘Seekers of knowledge’ is a large expansion for Call of Cthulhu Living Card game, and ‘Touched by the Abyss’ is the last 60 card Asylum pack. Going forward Fantasy Flight intend to release one large 165 card expansion every three months

‘A Harsh Mistress’ for A Game of thrones and ‘Portent of Doom’ for Warhammer Invasion make up next week’s living card game releases.

‘Vegas’, designed by Rudiger Dorn, gets a UK release next week. Despite the fact the Guru has had it in stock for 3 months I have only just got to play it and it’s brilliant and simple filler. Top recommendation!

Wargames

‘Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 Village and Tile Expansion’

‘Strategy and Tactics 277 : Ticonderoga’

‘World at War 26 : Race for the Reichstag’

Restocks due on Tuesday

Glen More , Hanabi (some will arrive a little later in the week)

Due the following week

Star Miniatures x Wing, y Wing and Star War Miniatures game bundle should be back in the shop on Tuesday 9th October

Expect to see a pre-order up soon for The Great Zimbabwe - the new Essen 2012 Splotter release

Happy Gaming

Paul

Friday, 28 September 2012

Otherworld Miniatures Launches an Indiegogo Campaign

It’s no secret by now that I am a huge supporter of UK based companies and there is none that I look on more favourably than Otherworld Miniatures. Otherworld has some of the finest D&D monster sculpts available and the quality of the products and customer service is unbeatable.

So when Richard Scott announced that he would be crowd funding his latest releases I just had to get in on it. Otherworld is producing a series of 48 new miniatures (plus bonuses for the highest level supporters) which will feature miniatures for all the major archetype Player Characters in the D&D worlds. Check out some of the preview art below…

Here is a description of the range In Richard’s own words:

“Since 2006, Otherworld Miniatures has been producing 28mm fantasy miniatures for gamers, painters and collectors, inspired by the iconic imagery of the early roleplaying games. So far, we have just made the monsters, and with a range of nearly 400 creatures in our catalogue, we think that the time has come to introduce some player character models.

So, we have just launched a new crowd-funding campaign at Indiegogo and with the help of our backers, we plan to release a boxed set of 12 human male adventurers, quickly followed by sets of demi-humans, female adventurers and hirelings & henchmen. The range of boxed sets will be complemented by individual blister-packs featuring variant models with different armour, weapon and equipment options.

DA1 - Greens

The figures will be sculpted by a variety of talented sculptors, including Kevin Adams and Patrick Keith, with others joining the project later. The miniatures will depict archetypal fantasy adventurers, wearing practical clothing and armour and carrying realistic weapons and equipment. They will be posed for exploration, not combat, so they’ll look great used to depict an adventuring party in ‘marching order’.

And these characters won’t be muscle-bound superheroes waving Vorpal Swords in the air - they’ll be grim-faced dungeoneers, a little bit down on their luck, and ready for action in the deepest, darkest dungeons!”

DA1 Greens - rear view

So, if you enjoy D&D or just 28mm gaming in general then go and check these minis out and back the campaign. You can see loads of examples of Otherworld’s fine miniatures on their site or you can see ones painted specifically by me by following this link!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Designer Diary: Epic Breakthroughs in Viticulture

This week’s guest post comes from Jamey Stegmaier, designer of Viticulture, which has more than surpassed it’s Kickstarter target. Today Jamey is going to address some of the design elements that went into the game, what issues arose and how they were resolved. Don't forget it you like the sound of Viticulture then there is still time to get in on the Kickstarter, just visit the link!

Want to learn how to play Viticulture? Then check out this quick video overview before reading Jamey’s insights into the design.

There are two types of game designers: Those who start with mechanics and later incorporate an appropriate theme, and those who start with theme and later incorporate accompanying mechanics.

 

I’m Jamey Stegmaier, and I’m a mechanics guy.

I collect mechanics from board games I play, games I read about, games I hear about. I collect mechanics from non-board games—particularly sports, smart phone games, and web app gamification. I collect mechanics from books and blogs about behavioural economics and psychology. Facebook Jamey

Over time, I’ve accumulated a list of mechanics that reflects the 12 Tenants of Board Games that I believe in (you can read about how these specifically apply to my game, Viticulture, in the FAQ section of my Kickstarter page):

  1. Quick setup/easy to learn.
  2. Balances, not checks for close games.
  3. Conflict, not hostility.
  4. Choices, not luck.
  5. Scaleability.
  6. Unique production/creation.
  7. Variable turn order.
  8. Fast pace/smooth flow.
  9. Multiple paths to victory.
  10. Point-based end-game trigger.
  11. Reasonable duration.
  12. Replayability.

I’ve been designing board games since I was a little kid, so I’ve been accumulating mechanics and the above tenants for many years (I’m 31 now). So around this time last year, given the success of certain games I had seen on Kickstarter, I decided to design a game for production.

Box 3D big

The vineyard theme was one that I had on my mind for a while. I think the brilliance of board games is that they allow us to be someone we’re not for 60-90 minutes, all in the comfort of our dining rooms. We can be kings and farmers, wizards and CEOs (but usually kings).

Few people actually get to own a vineyard, but I know many people who romanticize the idea. There’s something universally appealing about rows of grape vines and the end result, wine. Thus I liked the idea of each player taking the role of a vineyard owner.

With my mechanics, philosophy, and theme in hand, I got to work.

The core concept of Viticulture (which was briefly called “Trellis” at the inception of the game design) has remained the same since the beginning: Players plant vines on their fields, produce wine, age the wine in cellars and sell wine over the course of four seasons per round of the game. However, Viticulture has evolved quite a bit over time, enough for a thesis, so I’m just going to focus here on the epic breakthroughs that other game designers might find helpful.

Epic Breakthrough #1: The Push and Pull of the Theme

The original version of Viticulture was wrought with them. Although the game wasn’t set in a specifics locale at that time (that would come much later), the particulars of the art and science of making wine were heavily engrained into the game. Each player had three different types of soil to choose from, each of the wines was highly variable in terms of when they gained or lost value, and each of the seasons brought with it a roll of a die that would result in a good or a bad red grape vinesthing happening to all players.

The flavour those thematic characteristics added to the game was great, but did they make for a smooth gaming experience? Not at all. The soil was frustrating to new players and didn’t add any strategy for experienced players. The way different wines gained and lost value at different times was really hard to keep track of and rarely made a tactical difference. And the dice…man, those dice. Cool concept, but players felt like they were at the whim of the dice instead of in control of their strategy. Which is probably how real-life vineyard owners feel at times, but it just didn’t work in game form.

So I toned down the theme. This wasn’t a one-time change; really, it came and went in waves. Sometimes I’d add more theme (i.e., I changed the cost requirement to plant vines from money to pre-built structures necessary for those vines to grow, and I added a “crush grapes” stage between harvesting fields and having wine in the cellar), other times I’d take it away (i.e., grape tokens age just like wine. For a while they spoiled after a year or didn’t age, but that just discouraged players from harvesting). It’s a constant push and pull, but you have to be willing to make the best choices for gameplay in the end.

Epic Breakthrough #2: Do You Feel Lucky?

It was really important for me to create a game about choices, not luck. I love the game Agricola, which has very little luck. I admire games with even less luck than Agricola—games like chess and Rise!, in which all players have the same choices.

So Viticulture started off as a game with very little luck. Every card was spread onto the table at the beginning of the game so that no player had more information than the others. There was some variability, as each game started with a different set of cards. But it needed more variability, as well as the excitement of the draw. Plus, all of those cards took up a lot of space on the table, and it was tough to see the finer print from far away.

So eventually I converted all that public information into four decks of cards. Drawing cards always involves a little luck, but I made sure the cards are balanced, and I added a myriad of ways to obtain cards to mitigate less than desirable draws.

Epic Breakthrough #3: Well, This Is Frustrating

I’ve learned a lot about the value of playtesting through the design process for Viticulture. I knew it was important, but it has surprised me time after time when I think the game will play a certain way and yet in real life it’s completely different.

The #1 thing I learned from playtesting was to pay attention to frustrations players were having, even when better strategy could wash away those frustrations. A lot of the early frustrations came from harvesting vines into wine, because you might have two vines on the same field that produce the same value and colour of wine, and there was only one slot in the cellar for each wine. My co-designer Alan solved that problem by making the vine values per field cumulative.

Another early frustration came from the way wine orders were filled. At that time, the wine orders were directed towards different countries, the capacity of which depended on each country’s actual wine consumption and overall pickiness about wine quality (indeed, that version may have ended up offending some people). The problem was that the countries made it really easy for players to jump ahead and stay ahead, and once the other players caught up, the capacity for the wine orders was already filled. Over time, that evolved to wine orders that were specific to the values of wine and were on cards in hand—not on the table—so that each player could work towards their own goals.

Epic Breakthrough #4: Wait, Is This Solitaire?

For several months, we had a solid version of the game, but something was missing. We couldn’t quite put our finger on it until one day when one of the playtesters said, “I like it, but feel like I just played a game of solitaire.”

By trying to limit the potential for hostility, I had removed all aspects of interaction and conflict from the game. Players could do whatever they wanted on their player mats, and they weren’t affected by anyone else’s choices. They didn’t even have to pay attention to what everyone else was doing.

Around the same time, another playtester pointed out that it was getting difficult to keep track of all the different choices. We had taken steps to increase the number of paths to victory and to have the viability of those paths change during the course of the game, but in doing so, there were a daunting number of choices and no good way to keep track of them.

It was the perfect conflux of feedback, and our solution was clear: Viticulture needed a common board. A shared space where your choices might block other players’ primary choice, but they would still have other prime options to take. A visual element that would tie all the choices together into one cohesive whole that made sense.

So we added a board. We kept the player mats, of course—players still had control over their individual vineyards—but we added a board that made sense of all those choices.

That’s when everything really came together for me. Up until that point, I enjoyed playing the game, but only because it was my creation. After I added the board, I genuinely started enjoying the game. I wanted to play it again and again. I wouldn’t have launched the Kickstarter campaign if I hadn’t experienced that moment.

Speaking of Kickstarter, although the game is fully funded, we still have several stretch goals to meet before the campaign ends on October 7. Drop by and take a look! Watch the first project video if you’re in the mood for something whimsical, but if you want the nitty gritty details about how the game works, watch the second embedded video on the page.

Jamey Stegmaier

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Board Game News 21: IELLO Powers Up, Thunderstone travels to New Realms plus this week’s releases!

Welcome to another round up of news from around the web along with the latest releases in the UK, including the excellent looking X-Wing, along with news of four UK cons coming up in the next two months!

AEG

First up some news from one of my favourite games companies. AEG have released a handy PDF guide to their news, but here are some highlights:

• Smash Up - A Smashing Success!
• Tempest - Gorgeous artwork, updates about release, plus a new game - Love Letter!
• Thunderstone - AEG joins forces with Monte Cook to support Numenera!
• The Gamers - AEG joins with the people behind The Gamers!
• L5R - Global Storyline Tournaments, 10,000 Cards!

In addition to all that Playdek has released Martial Law, an expansion to the iOS version of AEG’s popular combative deck building game Nightfall. There is still no sign of Playdek coming to Android but when it does they can certainly count on one very interested customer!!

 

IELLO

The guys over at IELLO, makers of fine games like King of Tokyo and Dwarf King have some exciting Essen releases they would like to tell you about.

On September 28th, IELLO will partner with new publisher Play & Win to release a new epic board game set in Mythic Greece.ftp://marketing:marketing@91.121.179.21/Jeu%20de%20Societe/Mythic%20Battles/MB_mockup_top.jpg

Mythic Battles will place 2 or 4 players in the position of legendary warlords, taking control of fantastic armies for fast-paced, less-than-an-hour strategic games.

Benoît Vogt will be signing copies and postcards of the game at Essen SPIEL ’12 on October 21st from 1 pm to 3 pm on IELLO’s stand (hall 9, stand 74). Pre-orders for pick-up at the Game Fair are available at : http://iellogames.miiduu.com.

BECOME A LEGENDARY WARLORD!

Take the leadership of fantastic armies and lead your troops to victory!

Mythic Greece is in chaos: Athena and Hades are at war and have sent their greatest heroes to battle. Take on the role of these generals out of legend, leading fantastic armies and lead your troops to victory!

Mythic Battles is a game that simulates epic confrontations and breath-taking battles. The Building Battle Board (BBB), an innovative game system, combines game mechanisms from miniature games, board games, and card games; as a result, Mythic Battles offers you a unique experience.

ftp://marketing:marketing@91.121.179.21/Jeu%20de%20Societe/Mythic%20Battles/eventail_cartes_1.jpg

Recruit your army, play your cards to activate your units, roll your dice to resolve combat... reinvent the way you play!

This box contains two complete armies for two or four players, an initiation campaign, as well as all you need to play hours of endless battles.

Other armies and units will periodically be released to flesh out your campaigns!

FEATURES :

• Comes with 2 ready-to-play armies

• Powered by the Building Battle Board system, a radically innovative concept

• Includes a campaign booklet for a quick & easy tutorial and special rules to improve your games

• Splendid artworks

• An upcoming complete range of expansions, new armies, miniatures and scenarios.

Players: 2 or 4. Age: 14+. Duration: 45 min. Language: English.

Content: 145 Unit cards, 86 Manoeuvre cards, 9 Stele cards, 40 Art of War cards, 10 special dice, 5 Stele tokens, 34 Unit tokens, 6 double-sided tiles, 30 Power Point tokens, 1 Rulebook, 1 Campaign booklet.

Release date: AVAILABLE

Suggested retail price: $49,99 / 39,95€

We are proud to announce that IELLO pre-orders for Essen SPIEL ’12 are now available online.ftp://marketing:marketing@91.121.179.21/Jeu%20de%20Societe/Iello/King%20of%20Tokyo%20Power%20Up%20!/KOTPU_Box_FR.jpg

It takes just a few clicks to pre-order a copy of Uchronia, King of Tokyo - Power Up! and Mythic Battles.

Other IELLO games IELLO (King of Tokyo, Innovation, Biblios, The Dwarf King, Joomba et Croak) are also available for pre-order, as well as a King of Tokyo bundle.

Uchronia and King of Tokyo are each provided with a set of promo cards. Power Up! will receive an even more special treatment, which you should hear about very soon…

ftp://marketing:marketing@91.121.179.21/Jeu%20de%20Societe/Iello/Uchronia/mockup_Uchronia.jpgThe website and all the games are available in English.

Payment will take place at pick-up, in hall 9, stand 74 of Essen Messe.

IELLO pre-orders are now available at: http://iellogames.miiduu.com!

 

Eagle Games

As always plenty of news now from Eagle Games…

Salmon Run

Now available on Kickstarter. Don't miss out on the race of a fish's lifetime!

2012 Eagle Games Special

Here are some www.eaglegames.net specials you should know about!

"Defenders of the Realm" Special- Order the base game and receive the Barbarian Expansion (grey hero figure and its character card), and the Pre-Painted bundle of Original Heroes and Generals from base game. This bundle special will expire at the end of the year. Check it out here at Defenders Special.

We offer free shipping in the Continental US for orders over $50.00!

If you are looking for a few cheap games to get your order to the FREE shipping level, or if you just like a great bargain be sure to check out these games in our:

Bargain Basement

Cheeky Monkey

Here's a sneak peek at the NEW Version of Cheeky Monkey, this wonderful game will now be packaged inside of this cute plush monkey bag!

Cheeky Monkey is in stores now

Find it online here!

Cheeky Monkey provides barrels of fun for all ages as players challenge each other to push their luck to the limit while trying to amass the most valuable collection of wild animals. You can draw as many chips as you want from the plush "Cheeky Monkey" bag, but don't be too "cheeky" or you'll find yourself returning your current catch to the bag!

"This is a really, really good game for families with children that plays quickly, and has a great fun factor....with all ages..., and generates laughter and excitement."

--Ender Wiggins on BGG

Solitaire for Two

Now available on the iPad! Check it out Here!

Eagle & Gryphon Games now has three electronic apps. available: Solitaire for Two, Roll through the Ages, & What's My Word with many more on the way! You can expect to see electronic apps for Can't Stop, Railways of the World, & Defenders of the Realm in the near future!

Age of Empire III: Builder Expansion

The 6th player expansion to Glen Drover's best game yet. Get it now while supplies last at Empires: Builder Expansion!

Interested in what another gamer thought? Check out this review posted by Josh Edwards

Game Highlights:

* Expands the game to 6 players with a complete set of purple colonists

* 20 NEW Capital Buildings

* 34 Base Buildings

* 60 Builder specialists in 6 colors

* 6 New national advantage counter

* 1 Rule book

* Compatible with Age of Empires III: The Board Game

If you are not familiar with the original Age of Empires III the board game. Check it out here!

The Board Game Arena

After Seasons (July) and Gygès (August), Color pop, a game from from Lionel Borg, is now available on Board Game Arena online board game platform.
Freshly published this year by Gigamic, Color pop doesn't hide its inspiration from reflexion video games where you have to make small groups of colored tokens vanish. Your goal is to pop the tokens matching your (secret) color, but without being too obvious: if your opponents get a whiff of what your secret color really is, they will make your popping a lot harder!

To make a long story short: this is an digital adaptation of a board game which is inspired from a video game. Absolutely.

image

We take the opportunity of this new game to introduce an innovation: a technology to allow color blind people to enjoy the game as well. Color blindness is - as you can imagine - a strong disadvantage for gamers. 8 to 10% of men (and .5% of women) have some form of color blindness, and can't enjoy many games - like Color pop. To realize this innovation, BGA is using the more and more popular "colorADD" technology, which will be used massively during the next Olympic Games in Rio.

Color Pop online on Board Game Arena

Viticulture

Jamey and Alan would like you to know about their Kickstarter project…

Wine lovers, wishful Vineyard owners, and gamers unite! Viticulture Game developed by St Louis duo

Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone have created a fun yet refined board game centred around the art and science of wine making, aptly named Viticulture. The St Louis team skillfully captured the romanticism of owning a vineyard, and packaged it into this entertaining game.

Jamey has been creating games for over a decade; Alan has also studied strategy games in-depth. Their journeys culminate here, under the Stonemaier Games™ logo, in a game already receiving international exposure.

Jamey and Alan are just in the beginning phases of getting Viticulture off the ground. To test market demand they’ve established a fantastic crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter (http://kck.st/SEYuzw). The Viticulture campaign (open until 7 October) has gained great support to the tune of 148% funding with 2 weeks remaining, fuelled by a buzz about the game, especially after it passed multiple tests by experts, enthusiasts, and novices alike.

About the game:

Viticulture challenges players to create, cultivate, and expand a vineyard in Italy. In the game, you find yourself in rustic Tuscany, where you've inherited a meagre vineyard. You'll have a few plots of land, an old crushpad, a tiny cellar, 3 workers, and the dream of owning the best winery in Italy.

Using those workers (and sometimes visitors) across the seasons, you expand your vineyard by building structures, planting vines, and filling wine orders as you work towards the goal of owning the most successful winery in Tuscany.

The game is sure to please those who enjoy wines, strategy games, or dream of the sights and sounds of a classic European Vineyard.

Number of players: 2-6
Time required: 45-90 min
Recommended ages: 13+
Interest in playing board games more challenging than Monopoly: Helpful
Knowledge of wines/vineyards required: Zero
Interest or love of wine required: Nada

Cons and Clubs

First up here are four Conventions you should know about if you live in the UK

Travel Con 12th – 14th October at The Travellers Rest, Kenton Road, Harrow

Apres-Essen Goodie Con 27th October at Belmont Hall in Wellington, Telford

Liverpool Lions 2nd Annual Con 4th Nov Sycthe and Teacup Cafe Liverpool

Grim Con 9th – 10th November Marston Hotel Blackpool

And what’s on this week?

Out this Week

And finally, this week’s new releases courtesy of our friends over at Board Game Guru, take it away Paul…

Hi,

Apologies if this newsletter runs on – there are so many good things come out next week it is difficult to contain my enthusiasm.

The flag ship release is ‘Star Wars X Wing Miniature’ game and expansions. Early reports are that the game play is fast and furious and that the models are superb. May the force be with you. This is the biggest hobby release in living memory – stock will come in very regularly

Ugg-Tect! is the silliest party game I have ever seen played. Players compete in teams with one member of the team the Ugg-Tect (architect) and the other team members his/her builders. The Ugg-Tect needs to tell his team how to build a structure from a set of wooden blocks – the only problem is he can only speak in Stone Age grunts. The second mode of communication is an inflatable club that he uses to reward or punish his team during the building process.

'Gears of War' gets its first ‘Mission pack’ which adds new scenarios, monsters and weapons.

A Game of Thrones ‘A Dance with Dragons’ allows players to set up the second edition game from the political situation on the fifth book in RR Martin’s novel series.

Disaster Looms! Is themed about escaping from a poisoned earth and colonising the universe. It looks lovely and this review is the only clue to game play I found.

‘Atlantikwall’ is the first expansion for D-Day Dice – this allows one of the rollers to play the German

'For the Win' from, Tasty Minstrel games, throws the improbable combination of Ninjas, Pirates,Zombies, Monkeys and Aliens in to an abstract tile laying game.

‘Erin’ and ‘Pooky’ are a couple of Ally expansions for Red Dragon Inn

‘Andean Abyss’ is the first in the COIN (‘COunterINsurgency) series from Volke Ruhnke (‘Wilderness War’, ‘Labyrinth War on Terror') and sports a novel and neat card driven mechanic. Each round a card is drawn which can be played for an event or factions (listed in order on the card) can take asymmetric actions. If a faction acts during a turn they can’t on the next round. You always know what the next card will bring. This prompts the most intriguing decision making process and I can’t wait to get this played.

‘Bloody April Air War over Arras’ uses the game system of ‘Downtown’ – this game though is set over the Western Front and allows you to recreate in detailed air operations from the bi-plane era

‘Panzer’ & Expansion 1 and Expansion 2. It’s time to dust off the Black Sabbath albums and go all nostalgic about the Winter of Discontent -With its retro cover and retro feel play Panzer is a throw back to the glory days of 70’s wargaming. Though the antecedents of the game lie in Yaquinto’s back catalogue this is a thoroughly modern design – and the appeal for me is is the customisable complexity – you play a basic game or something far more complex.

‘Milestones’ has a general UK release on Tuesday – which is just as well as I have sold out of the copies imported two months ago.

More ‘Netrunners’ arrive on Tuesday

I have pickedup some cheap German copies of ‘Dakota’ (English rules provided by me)

‘Hanabi’ – This is possibly the best co-operative games I have ever played and one of the best games I have played in years. It’s so simple yet challenging – the first batch has I think already sold out, there are more on the way.

'Dungeon Command : Tyranny of Goblins' arrives (finally! and apologies for the delay) on Monday. Jesse Dean's review now means its another game I have to play :)

Lastly i have now got an automated option on every product that will email you when it comes back in to stock.

Happy Gaming

Paul

 

Wrap Up

Thanks Paul, I apologise for lack of content recently guys, things over at Unboxed Towers are a little hectic as I prepare for a big move, but the move will give me more time for writing. Have fun gaming guys and hopefully I’ll be back on Wednesday with a new review.

Chris

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Nightfall: The Coldest War

When I first played Nightfall I thought it was a pretty good, fast and brutal game, but that, no matter how you played, it was more luck than skill as to who won. Then came the second base set, Martial Law and everything changed, not only did the game get even faster and even more brutal, but careful deck building and chaining allowed for the skilled players to come out on top. Now we have the third base set, The Coldest War and it’s the fastest version of Nightfall yet! With the addition of attachment cards the amount of damage players can dish out is huge! But I’m getting ahead of myself… Let’s do this right!

Theme

In the Coldest War, the game transports us to Russia and the frozen reaches of north eastern Europe, introducing us to characters such as Sophia Otrava and Gregor Dzanic. Both the artwork and the fluff work hard to conjure up an image of a frozen world filled with Nightmares, while the mechanics of the game remain detached enough to keep players who don’t care for the gothic horror theme in the game.

Unboxed

Inside the box you’ll find:

  • Rulebook
  • 318 Cards
    • 228 Orders
      • 7 each of 12 Actions
      • 7 each of 12 Minions
      • 10 each of 6 Starting Minions
    • 24 Draft Cards
    • 60 Wounds
      • 30 Nightfall Wounds
      • 15 Martial Law Wounds
      • 15 Coldest War Wounds
    • 6 Moon Phase Cards
  • 32 Card Dividers

Once again everything is of a good standard and the artwork is nicely done, well, you know, if you like zombies and ghouls! Because this is another “base set” you get another deck of wound cards that basically replaces all your old one, you also get another set of starting cards, but we’ll get to those a little later on.

New Rules

As with Martial Law, The Coldest War introduces one keyword and one new mechanic.

Combat Actions

All Order cards in the base set of Nightfall had either a Chain or In Play Effect, now they might also have a Combat Effect. This effect does not trigger if the card is played in a chain, it only triggers when played from your hand during the combat step.

This means that cards just became even more valuable. Do you play all your cards in the chain or do you hold some back to use in combat? Cards in Nightfall were already doing so much, they were minions and orders, extra influence, you could use them to feed other cards and now you have the Combat Effects to consider too. Will this lead to more player deliberation? Probably not so much, but it certainly means that players can interact and do things on other players turns.

Attachments

Two new cards in this set, Full Battle Rattle and Still Standing significantly change the way the game plays. Both of these cards are attachments, meaning that when they are played in the chain they must be attached to a minion when they resolve.

Full Battle Rattle adds 2 to the minions strength, this is particularly big for minions that stick around like Bad Smoke or Jarek (from the Coldest War).And presumably these cards can stack, offering even more damage, attach two of these to Big Ghost for example and he’s hitting for 9 damage!

Still Standing continues to compliment Full Battle Rattle as it prevents the attached minion from being discarded after it attacks. So imagine Big Ghost with two copies of Full Battle Rattle and a copy of Still Standing, yes, that’s a hit of 9 that isn’t going away unless it’s killed!

These two attachments, especially when they are both in play can lead to some massive attacks and games that will quickly resolve. This is not a bad thing, but it is a game changer and I look forward to seeing more attachments in the future.

New Cards

Along with a whole host of new cards Coldest War offers a new set of six starting minions. Now I am glad they did this as I already had ten starter decks, I didn’t need more copies. However, in almost all cases I feel like I prefer the original base minions. Happily, the rules allow for mixing and matching as the players see fit.

The six minions are:

Clever Ivan - Chain: Look at the top 4 cards of your deck. You may discard any of them. Replace the rest in any order.

Ivan’s effect feels a little useless as I often discard down to no cards at the end of my turn (using them for influence) so reordering the top four cards of my deck is only helpful to either weed out poor cards or as a boost to orders that would then allow me to draw cards. In that latter case Ivan is more powerful to play on your opponents turn as you can potentially draw Combat Cards to use in your own combat.

JAREK - In Play: At the end of your turn, restore 1 health to this card.
In Play: Do not discard this card at the end of the Combat Phase. Exile when destroyed.

Jarek is a Frankenstein's monster style minion who’s name is anagram of the parts he is made up of. (Josef, Alois, Raiko, Edvard and Karel) The fact that he sticks around and heals makes him a great blocker, but unlike Bad Smoke he wont absorb damage inflicted on you.

Kilo 13 - In Play: When this card is assigned to block, inflict 1 damage on target player. In Play: Exile when destroyed or discarded.

To make the most of Kilo 13 you should play him in your own chain so that he can defend and inflict wounds directly on to other players.

Patrol Zombie - In Play: At the start of any phase, you may exile this card to draw 2 cards.

Patrol Zombie is probably the weakest of the new minions as using his special effect means losing an attack of 2. However teaming him up with Still Standing would alleviate this issue.

Snowstorm - In Play: While this card is attacking, its strength is equal to the number of minions the defending player controls.

Snowstorm is the minion you really have to plan well to use, if you wipe out all opposing minions he attacks for nothing and is discarded and exiled.

Victor One - Your Chain: You may claim 1 order from an opposing private archive.

Victor is possibly one of the best minions from this set, his ability to grant you a card of your choice from an opponent is highly valuable, granting you access to cards you never could have gotten otherwise.

Favourites

My favourite cards? Glad you ask! In addition to Full Battle Rattle and Still Standing I’d have to vote for Banner 69. 

Banner’s combat ability to leap from your hand for an attack of 2 is a decisive strike and one your opponent will find it hard to prepare against.

Unholy resurrection offers a great combat effect, inflicting damage on minions before combat starts (and hopefully wiping out your opponents attackers) While it’s Chain affect can be very devastating if you have concentrated on picking up ghouls!

Smiling Biter offers a minion with an attack of 3 and a good reason to generate a good deal of cards!

Bone Cruncher brings another attack 5 minion to the game, but it is his combat effect that makes this guy so deadly. Discard him from your hand and make a minion’s damage unblockable!

Finally R & D offers some nice card draw (which could go to feeding cards like Smiling Biter) but it’s combat effect allows you to drop a friendly minion from your hand into play, imagine dropping Bone Cruncher, effective as both an attacker or defender!

Thoughts

That is only a small sampling of some of the new effects available in this set, which, as an expansion, I think is great. It adds a lot to the game, particularly the combat and attachment cards. However, as a base set I think it fails. Nightfall is already a pretty tough game to teach, there is a lot going on and it can be brutal, with wounds being handed out all over the place. However in Coldest War you have to learn the basic game plus feed and combat and that’s a lot to take in, the combat effects are like a mini game all of their own.

Don’t get me wrong here, the combat effects are cool and they make what is already one the most interactive deck building games even more so, but they are not designed for new players to master. As I mentioned earlier cards are the only resource in this game and knowing how best to use them is key to winning, a new player would be overwhelmed with choice if they used Coldest War as a base set!

As I recommended with Martial Law, play the base game first, then play Martial Law and then, when you’ve mastered everything else, try The Coldest War.

You may be wondering if I’ll talk about the Moon Phase cards, not in this review as I haven’t yet tried them out, but when I do I’ll post a mini review of them

Final Thoughts

The Coldest War adds a lot to the base game of Nightfall, it feels like an expansion for players looking to take their game to the next level and I think it delivers on that. It feels faster and there are greater levels of damage, without the feeling of power creep if that makes sense. Overall it’s a great package but I highly recommend new players checking out Nightfall first before attempting The Coldest War.

A review copy of the game was kindly provide by AEG

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