Hello gamers! Welcome back! Be sure to check out Origins 2015 Part 1 – you wouldn’t want to miss out on any of the fun!
I don’t think I mentioned one word about food in the first part – must be some sort of record. I’ll have to remedy that…
As usual, the place I visited most often for meals was the North Market. I was amazed at how much it had changed in the last year (again!). One of our friends recommended the new Hot Chicken Takeover. It’s located upstairs where they used to film a cooking show. My husband and I liked it so much, we ate there three times! Their hours are rather wonky though – Thurs-Sun 11am to 3pm. Also, they actually do sell out of chicken! So get there early. There is a count down posted on a wall chalkboard of how much chicken is left, as well as “sold out” signs for specific parts (wings, legs, etc.).
The chicken is super crispy and in general spicier than listed. I tried both “Hot” and “Holy” (the hottest offered). The extra cayenne doesn’t add to the flavor so I prefer just “Hot” (i.e. so I can still taste the flavor). They offer homemade buttermilk dressing and maple syrup for dipping. The banana pudding is excellent – also homemade. (I’m drooling just thinking about it!)
Of course I also stopped at my usual favorites, Taste of Belgium and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (well, more like several stops at Jeni’s). One of my favorite “meals” consisted of a belgian waffle from Taste of Belgium topped with two flavors of Jeni’s ice cream. Are cocoa beans considered legumes?
Another excellent place we ate at was Moy’s Chinese Restaurant (on High St.). The food is made fresh. With our large group, we just gave the owner an idea of what we wanted and she brought it out: appetizers, soup, and many, many main dishes. Everything was good, if not excellent.
One of the first stops of the week was at Barley’s Brewing Company. This place is super popular so go during off hours if possible. Also be sure to go early if they are giving away Origins glasses (look for the coupon in the registration packet) – they tend to run out after a day or two. They may also be selling Origins mugs. Barley’s has some awesome food – burgers, wraps, the “junkyard” dog, pretzels with beer cheese, and even pierogies.
This is an amazing opportunity for gamers with families. Entrance requires a ribbon that costs $20 per child, good for the entire five days they are open (Wed 1pm-6pm, Thurs-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9am-4pm). They offer crafts and many age-appropriate games for kids, including board and card games, as well as a few arcade games in the electronics game room. Upon check-in, they ask for the parents’ contact information and intended location at the convention.
Children 5 and up who are self-sufficient may enjoy games and crafts in the room, while younger children are able to play with parental assistance and supervision. There are also books and toys for the younger children. Children will be required to stay in the designated room until their parents come to pick them up (except for escorted trips to the restroom).
Exhibit Hall and Gaming Hall Publishers (Continued from Part 1)
This section is a continuation of coverage of the Exhibit Hall and Gaming Hall Publishers. I love to see what’s new and upcoming at conventions – I end up spending much of my time here! Luckily, (so far) no one has kicked me out for fondling their games…
(Left) These adorable little tin games are from Set Enterprises, Inc. They are small, highly travel-able (is that a word?) versions of their larger kin. They pop open with a click on the cover, and seal closed by lightly squeezing the sides (yes, even the container is fun to play with). Check out the full story in Origins 2015 Part 1.
HABA makes some of the finest children’s games on the market. The best thing is that most are interesting and fun for adults as well as children. I, myself, have a pile of them in my game collection (and we don’t even have kids! unless you count my husband…). They make great filler games, for when your brain needs a break from all those heavy Euros.
– Animal upon Animal 10th Anniversary Tin Edition – (MSRP $21.99) This game will be featured at Gen Con in a limited edition tin box version with happy birthday artwork.
– Animal upon Animal Crest Climbers – (MSRP $19.99) This new Swiss animal version of Animal upon Animal will be available at GenCon. Adorable!
– Pharaoh’s Gulo Gulo – (MSRP $39.99) To be released Fall 2015. This twist on the classic Gulo Gulo pits players against the mummy’s trap (bowl of “bolders”). To move forward on the board, a player must successfully remove a wooden bolder of the space’s color she would like to move to, otherwise a landslide is triggered. Oof!
– Titus Tentakel – (MSRP $29.99) To be released Fall 2015. This is a pirate game where players try to avoid the tentacles of the octopus as they sail their ships around the board, seeking to collect treasure.
– Monster Laundry – (MSRP $19.99) Showing at Gen Con, July release. This is a fairly big sized tin game where players race to find the appropriate monsters to hang from the laundry line (strung around the players). Win three rounds to win the game. There is a short video on the game listing.
Tid bit: Lea Culliton, President of HABA USA, made the above cape to help promote Rhino Hero. They plan to have 100 made for Gen Con to be sold as a package with the game.
If you have ever wondered where you can get designer meeples, look no further! Meeple Source is the place to go. They offer so many interesting characters, as well as game upgrade kits and premium resource bits. Check out Totoro on the top tier (part of their Mega Meeple line). Awww…
The upgrade kits are perfect additions to your favorite games. For example, they have character germs for Pandemic (germs never looked so cute!), resources and animals for Agricola, and a character set for Lords of Waterdeep (the cubes that come with the game don’t even remotely look like Wizards, Rogues, Clerics, or Fighters, but maybe that’s just me).
The Spoils has been around for a while now. It’s a great game, unfortunately it suffers from a bit too much graphic violence to be appropriate for children and teens (even I take offense at some of the cards, and I’m far from youthhood – no comments from the peanut gallery please!).
– The Spoils, Seed Saga: The Descent of Gideon – (MSRP $4 per booster pack) Pre-release at GenCon, August 22, 2015 release. This set includes reprints of out-of-print sets plus 50 new cards and 50 new art; there are 350 cards total in the set. This is a first time release of 24 count booster display boxes. It also brings back the very popular Ultra Rare alternate art cards, with even more to collect than before. Each pack contains 14 cards: 7 commons, 4 uncommons, 2 rares, and 1 promo insert (including possible Ultra Rares).
This set introduces two new factions: Legions of Chaos and Defenders of Marduun. The new factions will be available in the set as one of many possible 14th card inserts. They will also be available in two thematic decks to be released later this year, in which players will be able to take on the role of the Legions of Chaos threatening to destroy the Empire, or the Defenders of Marduun charged with saving it. This set takes place 150 years in the past from the current sets and shows how the world became so corrupt.
– Dragon Shield Matte Sleeves were just released. They are supposed to be less slippery than the glossy versions (if you sleeve your cards, you know what I mean).
– Elysium – (MSRP $59.99) Just released before Origins. Nominated for Kennerspiel des Jahres 2015. Play 5 of the 8 available decks, each with a different feel, in this card drafting game with a twist. Players play drafted cards to their display and gain certain advantages, but must determine when to move cards down for scoring, thus losing those advantages. Timing and planning are essential parts of the game.
– Parfum – This new Queen game was just released at Origins. Create perfumes using ingredients, distill them down, then hopefully sell them to clients. The clients have specific preferences that must be met or they won’t buy (how gauche!).
Gen Con Releases:
– Takenoko: Chibis – This is an expansion for Takenoko; it includes a lady panda figurine, 9 different tokens for the babies, 6 plot tiles, 18 cards, and 17 bamboo pieces.
– Abyss Expansion – Expansion for Abyss. Yeah, that’s all the info I got. (Regarding the base game: although the box art looks scary, it’s actually a nice family game with cool bits and great art.)
– More Cash, More Guns – Cash ‘n Guns expansion; the name says it all.
Besides making games, Mayday also sells card sleeves in many (many!) sizes! If you go to their website, you can choose your game from a drop-down list and it will show you the correct sized sleeves for your cards. They also have a selection by size (mm).
– Meteor – (MSRP $35) Origins release. Real time, 5 minute coop game, timed.
These four games were released in April –
– Dead Man’s Draw – (MSRP $20) Circus Flohcati like mechanism in a pirate themed game. Card types have powers so there is much more player interaction. Ha! And I beat the other players in their booth – not that I’m bragging or anything. By a lot.
– Chopstick Dexterity Mega Challenge 3000 – (MSRP $35) This is a reprint of Greg Lam’s original game.
– Hold Your Breath – (MSRP $20) The sequel to Walk the Plank.
– Viceroy – (MSRP $32.95) GenCon release. Bidding game, players are each building a power pyramid; there are costs associated with each level and a bonus when built. Came out at the Essen Spiel in 2014 by Hobby World, Russia.
– Welcome to the Dungeon – (MSRP $14.99) May release. Small box game, a revised (and improved) version of Dungeon of Mandom. Pass, add a monster to the dungeon or push your luck by removing a monster and a piece of equipment from the dungeon. But be careful, if you are the last person who has not passed, you have to survive the dungeon with what’s left of the equipment. Played over rounds. See photo above. The white cards in front of the players are summaries of what’s in the monster deck (strength and how many).
– Konito? – (MSRP $29.99) May release. Party game. Fill in the blank on common expressions to move your pawn forward. If you don’t know an answer, a teammate may mime, hum, sing, dance, etc. as long as they don’t read the answer.
– Master Fox – (MSRP $39.99) Origins release. Family game. “Race of tactile recognition.” I repeat, it’s a FAMILY game.
– Pingo Pingo – (MSRP $34.99) Origins release. Family game. Fast paced soundtrack-driven game. Fierce warrior penguins (yes, penguins, some riding giant polar bears) inhabit the island where treasure is fabled to exist. You have 7 life points (each of which allows you to carry a treasure) although you may lose some along the way. Be the first to tap on a treasure (but watch out for traps and animals – and the music must allow the action), tap on camp cards to steal treasure from other players… run, shoot, grab cards, it’s all part of the game!
– The Big Book of Madness – (MSRP $39.99) Gen Con release. From the manufacturer: “The Big Book of Madness is a co-operative deck-building game in which the players are magic students who must act as a team to turn all the pages of the book, then shut it by defeating the terrible monsters they’ve just freed.
Each player has their own element deck that they build during the game and use for several purposes, such as learning or casting a spell, adding a new element to their deck, destroy or healing a curse. Spells allow you to support your playmates, improve your deck, draw cards, etc. — but the monsters from the book fight back. Each comes with terrible curses that are triggered every turn unless you dispel them in time. They will make you discard elements, add madness cards to your deck, or lose spells… If you manage to turn six pages and defeat all of the monsters, you win the game!”
– Medieval Academy – (MSRP $39.99) Gen Con release. Previously released under another manufacturer, highly rated on BGG. This is a light strategy, card drafting game. Players are squires training to outperform each other at the academy by scoring the most chivalry points in six turns. This is done by choosing the best draft cards and playing them at the optimal time to move up on the training tracks.– Mexica – (MSRP $69.99) This is listed as an October release on the website but may be at Gen Con. It is a reprint of the classic Euro with new artwork and components, as well as integrated FAQs/designer improvements.
– Sapiens – (MSRP $49.99) Gen Con release. Light Euro-style tile-laying game. You have a hand of four tiles, place one on your own player board and draw one from a display of five. Match sides to gather food, gain shelter, or get a special ability. There are two types of food points but only the lowest matters when confronting other players.
– Me Want Cookies! – (MSRP $24.99) Gen Con release. (This sounds like my husband, a.k.a. Snoozefest – hide your cookies if he’s around.) Family game where players race to trace a line from image to image (all desserts) among 3 mixed connections on each of 3 different cards. Don’t play if you are hungry.
– Alien Wars – Gen Con or September release. Family memory/dexterity game, including card tossing and effects.
– Dungeon Fighter – (MSRP $49.99) Previously from Fantasy Flight, the base game was released in April. Several expansions are out or coming out soon.
In 2013, Jactalea of France formed a partnership in the US, which took the name Blue Orange, and started to co-publish with them. A third creative team, Blue Orange Editions, feeds games to both companies (I’m guessing they taste like blue oranges ?). Most overlap, except the toy line, which is specifically North America.
I’ve checked out a few of their games and I must say I’m impressed! The quality of the components is amazing! Dale has done some reviews of their games recently, e.g. Battle Sheep. Be sure to check them out!
– Prohis – (MSRP $14.99) Origins pre-release, to be released Fall 2015. “Sheriff of Nottingham light” – with streamlined bluffing, legal goods and illegal goods. Suspected of running illegal goods, other players may play their Prohi agents (they bid to play them). There is one convoy – multiple inspectors are vying to inspect it. The strength of the agent determines how many cards they can look at. If the agent finds illegal goods they confiscate the entire convoy (2 to 4 cards) to their own warehouse. If there are only legal goods, the convoy is scored by the smuggler and the Prohi agent card used to inspect goes to that player as well. The smuggler may try to bribe the Prohi agent before any cards are inspected. If they accept the bribe, the agent will score the bribe in his own warehouse and the smuggler scores her cards in her warehouse.
– New York 1901 – (MSRP $49.99) GenCon release. This is their 1st big box family+ strategy game (heavy family game/gateway game). Players are building skyscrapers in NY in 1901. You acquire properties from the open marketplace, then you may build buildings, of which there are 3 types: bronze, silver, and gold. You need to unlock different levels of technologies to build silver or gold (start with bronze). Each time you build a skyscraper you score points – advancing around the score track until you reach the silver or gold threshold. Building footprints and points get bigger as you move up in technology. You may demolish buildings (mainly after the board fills), and replace with bigger/better skyscrapers (must be upgraded). Gold buildings may not be demolished. You may gain additional points with end-game scoring cards: 5 streets of NY, 5 bonus challenges. For example, the player with the most skyscrapers on a particular street gains points. The game includes one time use action cards, e.g. build twice. There are also legendary skyscrapers – the biggest in game, but they are first come first serve as there is only one set for all players – race to build it.
– DAWN: Rise of the Occulites – Origins Release. Summarized from the manufacturer’s description: Dawn: Rise of the Occulites is a skirmish level miniatures board game that uses an innovative card based action resolution mechanic called the “Natural Selection Deck.” It is responsible for everything from activating your tribe members, to resolving movement through terrain and the combat system. Dawn: Rise of the Occulites is not primarily a combat game, but involves each side working to achieve different objectives. Whether it is to collect Sungems to provide heat for the long night, recruit other denizens like Luftles to help your tribe succeed, take over an uninhabited (or inhabited cave), fight in cooperation against larger predators, or protect your land. There are many scenarios and objectives to keep the game fresh. Each player chooses an Occulite Tribe and competes against her opponent, whether by recreating pivotal moments in their short history, or by leading the Tribe through its evolution and watching it grow and advance over a series of games.
– Empires: Age of Discovery – Origins Preview. Formerly Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery – this deluxe edition has been revised and improved, with new artwork, board, and rules. It includes the Empires: Builder Expansion along with the capitol buildings and National Advantage tiles.
– Clockwork Wars and Clockwork Wars: Sentience Expansion – Origins Preview, Gen Con release. Summarized from the manufacturer’s description: Clockwork Wars is a game for 2-4 players, each of whom commands a unique race of creatures in a war game set in a Fantasy/Steam Punk universe. Take control of the calculating Purebreeds, the industrious Troglodytes, the mighty Rhinochs, or the proud Mongrels. Invest in research and discover astonishing new technologies, like Golems, Analytical Engines, and Spire of the Gods. Your goal is to vanquish your foes and gain the most victory points through seven turns of play. You earn points by fighting for control of territories that contain resources; to win these battles, you need manpower gained by seizing villages and developing them into cities. The Sentience Expansion adds a number of new Discovery and Espionage cards, a new Court, more hexagonal tiles to make even larger and more varied maps, 2 new Territory types (Observatory and Nexus), and a fifth race: the Inventions. Also allows for 5-player games.
– E•G•G Series Games: this is a series of small box games — 5.75″ by 4.25″ — published by Eagle-Gryphon Games (from which the acronym comes). The following games were previewed at Origins, for a Gen Con release (descriptions summarized from the manufacturer):
- #1 Eggs and Empires is a fast-playing card game where players use matching decks full of adventurers. Each round, players choose an adventurer to send into the Ridback Mountains to collect valuable dragon eggs. Sometimes the strongest adventurer will be rewarded with the “best egg”, however, each adventurer has a unique power that can affect the order in which eggs are selected. Collect dragon eggs but try to avoid the exploding ones.
- #2 12 Days of Christmas is a game for 2 to 8 players that is played with a special deck of playing cards, inspired by the classic carol. Your goal is to acquire the most gifts by giving away all the cards in your hand before your fellow players. It is easiest to do when you are the Lead Player, as you have the opportunity to play the first card(s) of a given turn. You become the Lead Player by having played the lowest card in the previous hand. However, as the carol reminds us, the lower the card, the fewer there are, e.g. there is only one partridge in a pear tree.
- #3 King’s Kilt depicts intrigue and treachery among the Scottish clans vying for the crown. Clans ascend the pyramid of cards, rising from the bottom three rows of commoners, through the ranks of noblemen and guardians, until one finally gains the crown and is named King of Scotland. Once a king is crowned, clans can only continue to advance by committing acts of betrayal against their neighbors. Players continue by playing influence cards until everyone has passed, thereby ending the game.
- #4 Krakatoa is an unusual dice game. The game uses nine 12‐sided dice divided into three groups of three dice with the groups colored white, grey, and black, representing steam, ash, and lava. Instead of a number, each die face contains a colored dot of yellow, red, or blue. The game lasts six rounds, with each player taking five successive rolls of the dice and scoring after each roll. After the first roll each round, players must pick up a specific set of dice, such as steam, and roll them again, striking at least one of the dice still on the table. Skill in precise dice rolling can result in a high score. Players receive points for different combinations, such as a set showing all yellow sides for ten points. Strategy comes into play as certain target scores and scoring combinations result in bonuses.
- #7 Seven7s is a card game for two to four players. The magic number 7 holds meanings, powers, and coincidences dating back to the dawn of time. In Seven7s you have the powers of 7 of the most famous 7s in history. Use these powers carefully to defeat your opponents.
– Tumblin’ Dice – Origins preview, Gen Con release. Eagle-Gryphon Games 2015 Edition.
– Dead Man’s Chest – Origins preview, Gen Con release. Cardboard and Wood Box Versions. This is a dice game of bidding and bluffing for 3 to 8 players. To win, you must be the last player with gems. Roll the dice in the Treasure Chest shaker and pass the closed chest to the next player with a challenge based on their value. Will they call your bluff or choose to shake again, raise the bid, and pass the challenge to the next player? Lose a challenge and you lose a gem!
– Floating Market – Origins/Gen Con preview. Players are eager grandchildren, competing to be the first to collect five different types of fruit and get the first bowl of fruit salad. They do this by assigning fruit boats (to collect fruit) and buildings (for special abilities). Each player will add a polyhedral die to the dice pool each round in an attempt to influence a die roll that determines which fruit boat will hand out fruit. Worker placement and dice speculation.
– Loop Inc. – Gen Con preview. You and the other players work at Loop Incorporated, the most prestigious time travel agency in the world. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s a mismanaged, third-tier agency owned by Mr. Loop, who cares more about making a buck than making sure the delicate weave of time-space continuum stays tight and safe. The game is played over the course of 3 days, each being a version the same day. During the first day, players perform 3 actions and send out their time machine. Actions include gathering components, setting up advertising, etc. At the end of the day, players jump into their time machines and return to the beginning of the day again. Although, when players go back in time, their past selves are still running around, which means they’ll have to perform all the actions from the previous version of the day, as well as 3 new ones. They’ll also have an additional time machine to launch. Each try, things compound further, making timing key. At the end of the third day, the winner is the player who completed the most profitable trips, as long as they didn’t cause too many tears in the space-time continuum.
– Xenon Profiteer – Gen Con preview. Each player takes control of their own Air Separation Facility, distilling Xenon from their systems to complete contracts. You also expand your facility by building upgrades, pipelines, and acquiring new contracts. In a different take on a deck‐building format, Xenon Profiteer not only actively encourages players to remove cards from their decks (through Distilling), it is essential to isolate Xenon. Players can buy upgrade cards for their facility, so they become more efficient, and, depending how much they pay, can either place them directly into their system (deck) or install them in their facility to be used each turn of the rest of the game. After a player has either completed 5 contracts or installed 5 upgrades, the game end is triggered and the player with the most Xenon points is the winner. Xenon Profiteer is #17 in the Gryphon Bookshelf Series.
– the gallerist – Gen Con preview. This age of art and capitalism has created a need for a new occupation, the gallerist, which combines elements of the art dealer, museum curator, and artists’ manager. You take on the job as gallerist. You promote and nurture artists; buy, display, and sell their art, as well as build and exert your international influence. Achieve the notoriety needed to draw visitors to your gallery. Run the most lucrative gallery to maximize your money and thus win the game by: attracting visitors to your gallery, exhibiting and selling works of art, investing in artists’ promotion to increase art value, and achieving trends and notoriety as well as curator and dealer goals.
– Wombat Rescue – Gen Con preview. Factoid: wombats have cube shaped poop. I can attest to this; I saw some on our recent trip to Australia. Below is a photo of one Wombat and resulting cubes. It was raining and he was rather shy, thus it was a quick long distance photo before a mad dash to the van. Wombats use their poop cubes as smell markers, giving other animals a rundown of species, sex, age, health and sexual maturity of its source. Because of its shape, it is less likely to roll away or be moved.
In Wombat Rescue, You play the mama wombat of your tribe. A dingo has invaded your burrow and chased away 4 of your baby wombats. You need to eat and digest food in order to produce poop cubes, with which you will build smell areas so you can navigate your environment, find your baby wombats, and bring them home. Try to be the player who best plans their smell areas and moves most efficiently. Find all 4 of your baby wombats and bring them home to win the game.
– E•G•G Series Games – Gen Con preview.
- #5 Dexicon is a deck-building word game in which players each begin with a small deck of letter cards. The players use them to spell words, score points, and buy other letter cards. More expensive letter cards are less versatile, but are worth more points and have increasingly more powerful bonus effects when played (including interfering with opponents). Instead of spending points to buy new cards, points from words may be “banked.” The end game is triggered when a certain number of words have been banked; each player gets one last chance to spell a word using their entire deck, then the player with the most points wins.
- #6 SiXeS is about either matching things that are similar or different. Six rounds are played, each being either a “match” round or a “unique” round. Players must think of 6 things trying to predict what the other players will write, matching or not matching answers depending on the round. The player with the most points after six rounds wins.
- #8 Wharfside is a standalone card game based on Fleet and Fleet: Arctic Bounty. Players compete to complete contracts by selecting them from the market and by collecting fish from their fleet at wharf side (by taking cards). Contracts provide a bonus while in play, but once they are completed the bonus goes away. The player who collects the most VP from contracts, trophies, king crab, final goods, and their captain bonus wins the game.
– Tsuro: 10th Anniversary Edition – (MSRP $Not Cheap) Release expected early 2016. It will have a carved wooden dragon box, lined in velvet. Inside there will be 3D dragon and phoenix pawns instead of the tile versions. Tiles will be high quality, thicker synthetic stones. There will also be an embroidered thick silk fabric bag for drawing tiles. Tsuro was designed by Tom McMurchie and originally released by WizKids in 2004. From the company announcement:
“The anniversary edition of Tsuro is anticipated to include a silkscreened raw silk board, beautifully engraved wooden box, and embroidered silk tile bag, all featuring dragons and phoenixes. The tiles themselves will be crafted from a sturdy polymer that mimics the feel of stone without a true stone’s weight. Eight unique and exquisitely detailed dragon and phoenix miniatures take the place of Tsuro’s iconic dragon pawns, while the dragon tile is replaced by an interwoven dragon and phoenix totem.
Acclaimed fantasy artist Andy Hepworth, whose work has been featured in works by Alderac Entertainment Group, White Wolf, and Games Workshop, has been brought on to create the look for the anniversary edition.”
– The Tsuro app is expected later in 2015.
– Calliope announced the Titan Series, 12 games to be released over the next 4 years. It is a collaborative project with backers on: art, theme, game content, and polishing game mechanisms.
– Sails of Glory Ship Packs – (MSRP $30 ea.) The Victory and the Constitution are two new ship packs for Sails of Glory, released in May. They come with iconic captains and crew cards that represent the ship during certain periods of its career. Players get a real sense of the history behind the ships.
– Odyssey: Wrath of Poseidon – Planned for a Gen Con release. Asymmetrical/semi-cooperative deductive board game, similar to Letters from Whitechapel. The war is over and your ships are sailing back to your homeland, but first you must reach the Sacred Island, and get past Poseidon. One player takes the role of Poseidon, the others are sailing blind, gathering clues to figure out how to stay on course while Poseidon is throwing every he can at them. From the website: “The game uses two boards, hidden from each other. The Poseidon player uses special tiles to secretly move one or all the ships on his game board, which shows the real position of the ships, giving information to the sailors about what they see around them. The navigators have to guess where they are, moving their ships on their own game board based on their deductions, as they trace their course to the Sacred Island. Multiple game boards enhance replayability; special overlays are included to make the game easier or harder, according to the players’ preferences.”
– Jolly Roger: The Game of Piracy & Mutiny – Released end of June. This is a card game for 4 to 10 players. Each turn, the person playing the captain chooses a destination for the ship. Whenever the ship attacks, players “cooperate” to win, playing crew cards from their hands to win the battle and take treasure, to be divided between all players. But your gold isn’t safe until you bury it at Treasure Island. Every time the captain player makes a choice, one of the other players may call “mutiny” to try to overthrow him and become the new captain.
– Bad Beets – (MSRP $14.99) August release. Bad Beets is a stand-alone bluffing game. The object is to get rid of your cards to get ice cream (dessert! yay!). Beets and ice cream are actually chits (disappointing, yes, but not as messy as the real thing). Players start with 8 beet chits and one card (reminiscent of Love Letter). If you call another player’s bluff, they take a beet if they were bluffing, you take a beet if they were not.
– Ascension: Year Two Collector’s Edition – (MSRP $99.99) This collection will include Storm of Souls, Immortal Heroes, gem honor tokens, and theme packs. This is an all foil edition plus promo cards, in a tin.
– Ascension unnamed, 9th set – October release.
– Extra! Extra! – (MSRP $65) Release date June 2015; it was pre-selling and demoing at Origins. Extra! Extra! is a worker placement game. You are building the front page of your newspaper: articles, ads, photos, classifieds, etc. – typical newspaper components must be fit into the layout. You bid against opponents for the best pieces for your paper.
– Trambahn – (MSRP $21) Release date July 2015; it was pre-selling and demoing at Origins. Trambahn is a new 2 player game from Lookout Games. Players build trains and fill them with passengers, scoring is based on the number of passengers your train leaves with. Multiple point trains.
– Mystery – To be released July/August 2015 This game was created specifically for PBS Mystery Masterpiece Theater.
– Booty – (MSRP $35) To be released at Gen Con/August 2015.
– Star Trek: Five Year Mission – (MSRP $35) Slated for a Gen Con release and charity event. This is a cooperative dice game where players take on roles of Star Trek characters, with different abilities, to try to solve alerts and (hopefully) avoid destroying the Enterprise. This game was designed by David E. Whitcher, who has been a volunteer for Mayfair for over ten years! He has a couple other designs out by other companies, e.g. Tahiti.
This booth was chock-full of high-quality dice towers, trays, card vaults, and other gaming accessories made from beautiful woods of more than a dozen types. The natural coloring on their products looks gorgeous.
– Krosmaster Arena: Season 3 Draft Packs – Released 2nd week in April. Talk about cute overload! Krosmaster board games have the most amazing figures. This release has 16 new miniatures, with an island theme. Krosmaster has derivatives in Dofus and Wakfu, two MMORPGs. Check out the Krosmaster website for information about both the online and board games.
– Krosmaster Quest – Expected release, end of July. 5 characters and 2 boss characters come in the game. This is a different style of play than Krosmaster Arena. Each player is one character. They go on quests, gain experience, level up, and can unlock abilities by paying gold. Gain commodities by killing monsters; use commodities to craft items such as equipment (armor) and potions. Sell equipment at the marketplace for gold. To win you must gain Gallons of Glory (GG).
– Zombies!!! Jr. – (MSRP $29.99) GenCon release. The full game of Zombies!!!, only simplified for a younger audience. Tiles are cartoon-like. Zombies are put in time-out (instead of being eliminated).
– Zombies!!! PG Edition – (MSRP $29.99) Origins release. Same game as Zombies!!! just less graphic.
– Humans 4!!! Camp Zombie Lake – Origins release. Based on Friday the 13th. Jason cards, camp councilors, set in a camp. Councilors have new abilities. MSRP $14
– Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front Solo Expansion – Origins release. Four years in the making, it sold out on the second day of Origins. Academy worked with army officers to design an AI system (logic) in the game to create a more realistic flow of orders and situational analysis. It is based on the system used in Conflict of Heroes.
– Conflict of Heroes: Firefight Generator – Origins release. This is a random firefight generator for multiplayer and solo games.
– Mare Nostrum: Empires – Currently on kickstarter, demos done at Origins. Release date Essen Spiel to supporters, otherwise early December.
– Apollo Games, a new division of Academy Games for non-historical games, will begin releasing titles starting in 2016. The first games will concentrate on the sci-fi genre, based on their military engines.
– Cthulhu’s Vault – (MSRP $40) Pre-release Origins, July release. This is a story telling card game, collaborative until the “great old one” awakens, then one player becomes the GOO; the other players must stop The Great Old One. Inspired by Once Upon a Time but improves upon game play, also inspired by Arkham Horror (co-designer of Cthulhu’s Vault is a co-designer of Arkham Horror).
– Kremlin – The old classic Avalon Hill game comes back! 2nd printing due late July.
– Specter Ops – (MSRP $49.95) Released May 2015. Semi-cooperative game with asynchronous powers and hidden movement. One player is an agent trying to infiltrate a base, other players (hunters) are trying to find him. Hidden movement part compares to Scotland Yard. Sci-fi/spy theme – set in the future, with genetically enhanced humans, robots. The spy can have high tech equipment: halo decoy, velocity blade, etc.
– Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn – (MSRP $49.95) GenCon release. This is a two-player head-to-head card game. There are three ways to play: deck building, drafting, pre built deck. Fantasy theme, dice as resources, spell casting.
– World War II: Stalingrad 1942-1943 – (MSRP $59.95) Pre-orders at Origins, to be released in July. This is the fourth set in the WWII line of games.
– Released six Napoleonic kits at Origins, currently no game.
In the back of the Exhibit Hall, I was so surprised to see this booth showing Kosmos games! Games on display included Ubongo, Dohdles, and Dimension. They have six games so far from the Kosmos line. See the Tames & Kosmos website for full descriptions.
A Note about the photography…
This year I decided to lighten my load and not to drag my professional equipment around (commercial photography being my “real job”). This included my laptop. I used an iPad Mini for recording notes (with Logitech keyboard) and my iPhone 6 for photography. Indoor photos pose a real challenge, especially with that lighting, even for professional equipment. Lighting from above gives everyone “raccoon eyes” which screams out for a fill flash. Color adjustment is tricky as well… and I’m not even going to go into lens distortion (ugh!). I tried using a Color Checker but it could only do so much. Poor thing. Hopefully you guys weren’t be as traumatized as I am over the photography.
Hope to see you at Origins next year!