CT FIG – Elements by Rampage Games

CT FIGRampage Games was one of the first booths I sat down at during CT FIG, and their game Elements was my first play of the day. I actually sat down to play while they were counting down the end of their successful Kickstarter campaign, so this is a game we’ll hopefully be seeing available to sale soon.

Elements is a card game where you’re trying to use base elements to create an object. Each object is worth points, and the more complicated it is to make, the more points it’s worth.

Elements

Each turn a player will draw a card, roll the dice, choose one of the actions available based on their rolls, and work on laying cards down to build their item. There’s also gems that can be earned that will count as an element, can be combined to become a more complex element, or even give bonuses to completed items.

Elements was really quick to learn, fairly light, and very entertaining. It’s minimal design works well, and there’s plenty of opportunities to mess with other players, so it never feels like you’re playing a game of solitaire while racing to see who wins first. It’s a game I’ll be adding to my shelf, as I think it’s one I could get a lot of play in with the kids.

Rampage was also showing off a bunch of their Game Crafter produced games: Aurora, Iron Horses, Woodland, and Adrift. I didn’t get a chance to play any, but got the rundown on each of the four. Out of all of them, Aurora really caught my eye. It’s a game about building a star system to support intelligent life. I’ll have that one in for review soon, so I’ll see if lives up to my expectations!

 

PAX East 2016 – Deckbound

paxeast2It’s been a long while since we’ve heard anything on the Deckbound front, but at PAX this year they were showing off their latest games using their Bitcoin Blockchain generated cards. Both Deckbound Heroes and Deckbound Quest were on display, both in beta form. I was actually informed that Deckbound Heroes will be going through an overhaul with a new engine soon.

We’ve heard a bit about Heroes before. It’s a CCG strategy game with ranked competitive play tournaments and events. They’ve now stated it’ll be out on both Desktop and Mobile, as will their single player dungeon-crawl, Deckbound Quest. Both games use a player’s Deckbound card collection, and cards can be leveled and augmented in both.

Deckbound__black-and-transI actually got a chance to sit down with Deckbound Heroes for a bit, and it’s definitely still a rough game, with more of a mobile game feel than a desktop one. The controls were still a bit clunky, the graphics unpolished, and the card system a bit confusing. I saw a bit of Heroes, as well, but didn’t get to play. Heroes is definitely the much better looking game of the pair, though to be fair it’s been in development longer.

There wasn’t much to be said about the actual technology behind the cards and how that will work in-depth, and that’s what interests me the most. I’m not getting my hopes up too high, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed the Deckbound will deliver something more than just a gimmick.

CT FIG – Guardians Of AsunDur by DPH Studioz

CT FIGWith a beautiful design, and excellent cooperative gameplay, it’s no wonder Guardians of AsunDur was a runner-up for CT FIG‘s Best in Show award. While still unpublished, the game shows great promise, and is already playable and enjoyable.

In Guardians Of AsunDur players take control of six angels working together to restore Virtue in a world that’s being corrupted by Vice. All six angels are always in play, no matter the amount of players (the game handles 1-6 players). This means that angels are as evenly distributed as possible between all players. Players choose the order in which angels are activated at the start of the game, then move around the board trying to construct Light Strongholds in the spaces. If the players get to 7 points before the forces of Vice do, they win.

goe_setupOf course it’s not that simple. Dark Entities can enter the board through card draws, pushing the dark score up each time by the amount of previous Entities on the board. Also, each turn there’s a Vice stage where more corruption enters the board, and can spill over into other spaces a la Pandemic’s Outbreak mechanic. Thankfully each angel also has a special ability they can use once per turn. Actually, let me correct myself. Guardians uses an interesting mechanic where only another player in the same space as an angel can ask to use it’s special power. The player controlling that angel can’t activate their own. This really forces the players to interact, plan their moves, and work together towards victory.

Unfortunately when I played we lost, not paying attention to Dark Entities entering the board until it was too late.

I’m really looking forward to more games of Guardians of AsunDur, and I’m interested to see which publisher is going to pick it up. It was originally picked up by Game Salute under the name Feather and Flame, but the design is now back in the hands of Darrin Horbal, the game’s designer.

 

HoloGridScreens07Phil Tippett is no stranger to monsters. As a two-time Academy Award winning Visual Effects Supervisor and Director, he’s worked on projects such as Star Wars and Jurassic Park. One of his most memorable creations was the Holo Chess scene in the original Star Wars, also seen again in The Force Awakens.

Piggybacking on that, Phil teamed up with HappyGiant to create a new CCG with an AR element. HoloGrid: Monster Battle is a CCG with a miniatures and board element to it. With an accompanying app, creatures from the cards can be brought to life and battled. Don’t really care for the AR stuff? You can also play the game non-digitally with a physical board and minis.

HoloGrid is currently being Kickstarted, and is already off to a great start, but only time will tell how successful such a game can really be. I think the option to play completely offline with physical pieces will be a great help, as long as the gameplay holds up.

Second Look—Guildball

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.This one has taken me a bit to get written, mostly because I needed the time to get it to the table…and the table needed to be cleared off enough to have space.

Of course with most miniatures game, the miniatures need to be assembled before play. Guildball minis are excellent, finely detailed, and a bit of a pain to get assembled. Tiny pieces along with dynamic figure poses proved a challenge for me, as I’m not the best at getting these things together. One I did get them finished, I patted myself on the back and got to work learning the rules.

The rulebook is a gorgeous, full color book full of amazing art, world lore, and the rules of the game. This is both really awesome, and my one complaint about the game. The rules are sprinkled in with all the extra fiction, and at times I found myself just wanting the rules compiled without all the extras. It’s a minor gripe, but one just the same.

As far as the game goes, I was pleasantly surprised how uncomplicated it was. It’s not Dreadball level of ease, but it’s certainly a lot better than other miniatures sports games. Once you have the flow of the game down, it’s a breeze to play the game. That doesn’t make the game any less deep. There’s plenty here to satisfy both miniatures gamers and sports gamers. The sheer amount of teams and their miniatures already released is amazing, and there’s more on the way soon for Season 2.

There’s a lot of things to buy here, so you’re not going to hop into this game inexpensively, but everything I’ve seen so far is a worthwhile investment. The only thing I don’t have is a pitch, and I’m going to make sure I get one for future plays.

Steamforged Games is a fairly new company, but they’re already proven they’re a strong contender in the hobby. I can’t recommend the game to everyone, but if you’re a miniatures fan, a sports fan, or someone who’s looking to get into sports miniatures games, you can’t go wrong with Guildball. It’s a blast, and is quickly becoming one of my favorites, possibly knocking Dreadball from it’s high throne on my shelf.

The Guildhall rulebook, Butcher and Fisherman teams, and appropriate token/template sets were provided free for review by Steamforged Games.

Street Legal Backgammon Table

Automotive customizers Zorlu Oto of Turkey installed a picnic set and Backgammon table in the trunk of a VW Beetle.

Zorlu VW Beetle Backgammon

[via Jalopnik]

ft_thieves

Days of Wonder has just announced The Thieves of Naquala, a mini-expansion for the excellent Five Tribes. The expansion contains 6 Thieve Cards and 1 new Djinn Card. Thieves work similarly to Djinns, but are less powerful.

The expansion should be on shelves in June, and will retail for around $6. You can check out the rules for the expansion here.

 

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesMeeple Source has put a number of products on clearance, including Camo Meeples for 60% off, Giant Meeples for 20% off, Saxon Meeples for 60% off, and Meeple Earrings for 20% off.

For 6 days starting tomorrow, Gypsy Knights Games’ PDF products will be 35% off.

The News Wheel is giving away Monza and Crash Cup Karambolage from HABA.

Get a free gift with purchase direct from Set Enterprises when using promo code “FREE16”.

Bundle of Holding’s latest is for the dystopian superhero RPG, Brave New World.

Sahm Reviews is giving away 10 Down from CSE Games.

Cool Stuff Inc. is running a Mother’s Day Sale.

Diversions Puzzles & GamesThe city of Dunsmuir, California (population 1,500) has a new board game cafe called The Wheel House.

Columbus, Ohio is getting one this summer. Tabletop Game Cafe will specialize in Argentinian empanadas so gamers can play with one hand while eating with the other.

Recently opened Elm City Games in New Haven, Connecticut shares space coffee shop, The Happiness Lab.

The Game Chateau in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania opened in March a stone’s throw from I-81 and therefore a convenient rest stop on my next drive to Central New York. Brother-sister owners Chris Moore and Elle Hammond settled on the cafe concept while investigating the challenging economics of hobby game retail.

An Exeter, U.K. brother-sister pair had a pop-up over one weekend last month but were forced to close it for lack of financing. Now with funding through Kickstarter, they’ve been able to reopen their cafe, simply called “Board“, just a block down the road.

Card Table Republic, recently opened in Davison, Michigan, is a board game lounge, meaning it’s a pay-for-play-space with a 500 game lending library.

Ludorati Cafe in Nottingham, U.K. went for a sophisticated, modern style and hopes to become a tourist attraction.

Diversions Puzzles & Games shop of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is adding a second location, in South Portland, Maine.

Younger’s Turkish Cafe in Hull, U.K. has received permission to stay open until 4:00 AM so that it can host Dominoes and card games.

CT FIG – Brass Empire by Rock Manor Games

CT FIGI could have included Brass Empire in my Pax East 2016 coverage, but while I saw the game there, I actually got a chance to sit down and play the game with its designer at CT FIG.

Brass Empire is a deck-building game that bears some resemblance to Star Realms, yet takes the idea of starships and outputs a bit further using buildings, employees, and machines. While you’re building up your deck you’re also contracting buildings to give you more resources and power, and deploying units to attack your opponent and defend yourself. All of this is wrapped in the Steampunk work of Cobalt.

coverimage-366x366I’m a big fan of deck-builders, and Brass Empire definitely fits into my top 3 favorite deck-builders of all time. The theme is awesome, the gameplay is tight and tense, and the ability to play a solo variant against a boss card is excellent in a pinch when you don’t have another player.

Brass Empire is currently up for pre-order and is scheduled to be shipped in June, first to Kickstarter backers and then to pre-order customers. I’m eagerly awaiting mine so I can give it a shot with my 10-year-old.

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