2015 Diana Jones Award

The Diana Jones Award for 2015 was presented to Guide to Glorantha, an RPG setting book. But more than the typical setting book, Guide to Glorantha is a two-volume, 800 page comprehensive encyclopedia for one of the oldest, yet still one of the most respected, roleplaying game settings. Glorantha is known as a setting in which cults and cultures are pervasive and driving forces.

Firefly: The Whole Damn ‘Verse Game Mat

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I’m a huge Firefly fan, but I’ve been holding off on snagging the board game for some time now. With the release of the Kalidasa expansion, and now The Whole Damn ‘Verse Game Mat, I’m thinking now may be the time to jump in. The mat covers all the systems of the base game and the Rim Space Expansion, Blue Sun and Kalidasa. The whole thing is a 50″x20″ vinyl beauty.

Of course it’s also $39.99 on it’s own, and you still need the base game and all the expansions to use it.

That’s ok, though. It’s so shiny.

Both the new Kalidasa expansion and The Whole Damn ‘Verse Game Mat will be available in August.

Flick em UpPretzel Games is a new company from F2Z Entertainment, which are subsidiaries of Z-Man Games and Filosofia. Before the end of this summer, Pretzel Games will launch the first in what the company hopes will be a long line of high-quality dexterity based games.

Flick ’em Up! is western themed game where players literally flick their way to being the fasted gun in the West. Set up an old timey town, made from high-quality wooden storefront facades, and grab your player token, which looks like a gunslinger with a removable cowboy hat, because this is going to be the wildest game you’ve played on your kitchen table.

Players build a town from the included storefronts and choose from 10 scenarios that give you the option to join forces with the town’s sheriff, or team up with outlaws for a good-time ruckus.

Using flick discs, players move around through the town taking down their opponents. When it comes time for a shootout, use special flick discs that are designated as the bullet to try to beat your opponents’.

Flick ’em Up! comes in a slick wooden box and features wooden cacti, barrels, town buildings, and cowboys. It is scheduled for a July release with a retail price of $70. It is currently available at Gen Con from the Pretzel Games booth where you can demo the game.

Magic Duels: Origins Now Available on Steam

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I would have posted this a bit sooner, but as soon as I heard about it I had to make sure to log into my Steam account and set it up to start downloading. That’s right. Wizards of the Coast’s Magic Duels: Origins just hit Steam, having been available for iOS for a few weeks now. The game is free to play with in-game purchases, though all content can be unlocked through play.

The game will be available for the XBOX One on July 31st, with a PS4 release later this year.

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.A few years ago, a tech professional created a simple card game where players try to beat each other’s hands by having a card with the highest value. The part that made CPU Wars Volume 1.0 unique was the fact that the cards were all pictures and specs of computer processor chips.

The game was popular enough to spawn a stand-alone sequel. CPU Wars Volume 2.0 covers 30 CPUs that focus on the history of servers dating back across the past 40 years. The game can be played by itself, or combined with CPU Wars Volume 1.0 for extended play (and more players).

CPU Wars 2.0 1Two tech-savvy friends played CPU Wars 2.0 with me and were immediately giddy over the game’s packaging, which is an anti-static sealed bag. They also enjoyed reminiscing over the status of some of the older computer companies, like SPARC and Sun Microsystems.

I know a thing or two about computers, but feel like I’m reading a different language when it comes to the details of processor chip specifications. However, I could still play this game just as good as my opponents.

The game supports two to three players. All cards are divided evenly amongst the players and each player picks one card from the top of their deck. The active player picks a category from the list on the card (like Max Clock Speed, or Die Size). Everyone then reads the value listed on their own card for that category. The player with the highest or lowest number wins. Whether high or low wins is designated by an up or down arrow next to the category.

CPU Wars 2.0 2You can also play an alternate version of the game where a D8 dice is rolled and the category is chosen at random. I highly recommend playing this version, since it adds an element of chaos to the gameplay.

You don’t have to know a thing about computers to play the game. All you have to do is choose a category and hope your number is higher (or lower) than your opponents’.

From a gamer’s perspective, the rules are a little too vague, which can be frustrating. The game is also a little unbalanced, especially if your card is from a few decades ago. Older processors have lower numbers for nearly every category except Introduction Year and Max TDP. Additionally, just like the traditional card game, War, this can last hours because a player may be down to only a few cards and suddenly end up with most of the deck after just a few rounds. We ended up just stopping after about 20 minutes.

CPU Wars 2.0 3Overall, we enjoyed how easy it was to simply sit down and play the game. It would make the perfect stocking stuffer for your hardware engineer friend or as a secret Santa gift for anyone working in the tech industry.

You can pick up each volume for only $10 or the double-pack for $17. You also can really make your computer tech buddy happy with an actual electrostatic-sensitive device component gift box.

Cards Against Humanity: The Design Pack

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It’s time for another Pack for Cards Against Humanity, The Design Pack. This time they’ve teamed up with some top-notch graphic artists to create fully-illustrated stuff for the game. For $10 you get 30 cards from designers like Milton Glaser (I <3 NY), Susan Kare (the Apple Macintosh), Erik Spiekermann (MetaDesign), and legendary printmakers including Jay Ryan, Yann Legendre, Olly Moss, Mike Mitchell, and Sonnenzimmer. I have no idea who most of these people are, but maybe you do. Maybe this is huge news for you. Awesome.

All profits made from The Design Pack sales are donated to the Chicago Design Museum.

Crowdfunding Highlights

Let’s start with a thing from Patreon, a website that does an absolutely horrible job for finding worthy projects to support: look in the Games category and you only get seven things that are featured. Search for the word “games” — heck, search for anything — and you only get twenty-three results, and those include creators that use the word in their Patreon username, backer posts, and project name. If you’re creating a gaming-related project and don’t use the word “game” in your project name, you will never be found. This is something that Patreon creators should know, so I’m going to bold this bit: If you’re running a gaming-related Patreon, the only way you’re going to get more patrons is to do a lot of the promotion yourself…so contact me at thomas@purplepawn.com if you know of something there that others should know about.

Like the Fate RPG? Mark Diaz Truman assembles and edits a mostly-monthly ‘zine containing three articles about the Fate Core game system  (and Fate Accelerated Edition) written by various game industry veterans, plus a quickstart adventure. Pledge levels start at $1.99 per issue, which gets you access to a PDF, epub, or mobi version of the issue. I’m the guy that does layout on the project — which is how I knew about it — but even if I wasn’t involved at all, I’d be recommending The Fate Codex. (Gen Con attendees: The Fate Codex Anthology, collecting the first year of the ‘zine, is on sale at booth 734!)

game tshirtsI know there’s more cool stuff on Patreon, but, alas. On to Kickstarter.

Hey, could these shirts be referring to your favorite boardgame? Why, I think they just might be! While it’s a bit odd to sell t-shirts through Kickstarter — oh hey, meeple ties! Anyway, $20 a shirt, seven bucks more for all of the stretch goals, including a coaster set, stickers, and tote bag. The Twilight Struggle-inspired design is pretty cool.

I’m really digging the retro 70’s art style on Roadkill Rivals, a lighthearted quick-playing card game about running over animals. It looks to have a lot of Take That! actions, including “lose a turn” cards, which might suck in a game that’s longer than the 15 or so minute play time this game has. Twenty bucks gets you a copy.

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I’m a big fan of the boardgame cafe concept. Over in Lancashire, UK, Dice & Donuts is trying to raise additional funds to improve their soon-to-be-opend boardgame cafe. While other funding is already in place, D&D is looking for backers to help them afford an additional draft beer line, extra beverage fridges, expand into their own coffee roaster, obtain a set of kits to make board games accessible to blind players, and add more games to the cafe. Special backer levels (all gone, unfortunately) include colored-piece deeds: always like to play red? At that level, D&D will award you and exclusive rights deed that ensures you get to play red in every game you play at the cafe. Clever.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesSmart Play Games has decided to up its sale discount to 25% from the 10% we reported last week.

Wargame Vault’s Summer Campaign sale has hundreds of titles at 25% off. In the Christmas in July sale at sister site DriveThruRPG, print-on-demand products are 15% off, while ebooks are 25% off.

Spin Master is taking a Paw Patrol Tour to visit state fairs and retail locations around the country August-October. The tour will feature a variety of activities and giveaways, mostly Paw Patrol but also Little Charmers, Chubby Puppies and Sick Bricks.

The Cardboard Republic is giving away Stockpile from Nauvoo Games.

Trunki is giving away a travel adventure kit that includes all Bananagrams games.

For those attending Gen Con this week:

  • Ad Magic/Breaking Games is raffling off an iPad, giving entries for each game demo.
  • Monte Cook Games has a coupon for $5 off purchases of $50, or $10 off purchases of $100.
  • Be one of the first to tweet or instagram a picture featuring Antidote from Bellwether Games. The first 15 or so will get one or more of the company’s other products, Drop Site and Swamped.

Second Look – Chew: Cases of the FDA

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.I’ve been waiting for my copy of Chew: Cases of the FDA to come to my local comic book shop for half-a-year. It finally arrived last week and I was able to play the game with two friends this past weekend. It is a crime-solving card game based on the popular comic book by the same name. Players find clues, partners, and other characters through a series of investigations that lead to tracking down the culprit.

The goal of the game is to create a path from your Case card to your Culprit card by connecting them through a series of clues that match by color. Clues are earned after playing investigation cards.

Each player is dealt one Case and one Culprit, plus five investigation cards and three “Chogs” to start. A Chog is half-chicken, half-frog and is used as payment to play investigation cards.

On your turn, you start by picking up investigation cards and Chogs. Investigation cards help you do things like, take an extra Clue card or double your Chog supply. There are Partner cards, which give you various bonuses. Bad Guy and Pain-in-the-@$$ cards are used against your opponents.

Chew Cases of the FDA 1After playing investigation cards, players choose a Connection from four available Clue cards laid out in the center of the table. Your Clue cards must match each other on one side. So, if your Case card has a red right side, the Clue card you put next to it must have a red left side. The only exception is a wild card board, which allows you to use any color. Clue cards have a point value, which is used to determine your score.

The game ends when a player creates a path with at least 20 Clue card points that also matches from the Case to the Culprit card. One game takes about 30 minutes to play.

The game is designed to be very simple. Investigation cards have specific actions on them that are easy to understand.

My friends and I really enjoyed this game for its simplicity and humorous content. One friend has never read the comic and commented on how he thought the flavor text was very funny and the artwork was appealing. He is planning on buying the Chew comic in order to find out more about the unusual story.

This game is great for casual gamers looking for a light, fun experience. Even heavy gamers can enjoy this title as an in-between snack. While the game is fun and easy to understand, it isn’t exactly family-friendly, depending on the age of your children. There are a few swear words and cartoonish violent imagery. Plus, it might be difficult to explain to a five-year-old why the game’s protagonist has to eat human flesh in order to solve a crime.

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You can pick up Chew: Cases of the FDA from your local board game shop (or even comic book shop) for about $30.

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I had previously mentioned Dungeon Saga: Dwarf King’s Quest back in July of last year when the game was about to hit Kickstarter. In August Mantic will be releasing the game in all its glory for $79.99. The game plays 2 – 5 players where one player is the overlord and the others are the heroes working to thwart the overlord and his dungeon. We’ve seen plenty of games like this before, but with Mantic’s reputation for quality, I’m really looking forward to this one.

Just looking at that pile of stuff is making me drool a bit.

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