10568907_703975039651534_1193262386086644752_nBCW Supplies has just released a new line of card gaming products in blue, green, and red. The new items are as follows:

  • Deck Guards – 50 glare resistant sleeves per pack with double matte finish
  • 4-Pocket Pro-Folio – Rigid front and back covers with flexible closure, 20 durable pages to hold 160 cards
  • 9-Pocket Pro-Folio – Rigid front and back covers with flexible closure, 20 durable pages to hold 360 cards
  • 9-Pocket Pro-Folio LX – Premium leatherette cover with flexible closure, 20 durable pages to hold 360 cards
  • Deck Case – Durable case holds 80 sleeved cards with attractive dragon graphic on the lid
  • Deck Case Large – Durable case holds 100 sleeved cards with attractive dragon graphic on the lid
  • Deck Case LX – Premium leatherette Deck Case holds 80 sleeved cards with magnetic closure and embossed dragon graphic on the lid

Prices seem to be a bit lower than Ultra Pro items, but I don’t the quality. I’ve reached out to BCW to see if they could supply some review samples so I can accurately compare the two brands. If the quality is up to snuff, this could be a very good thing.

Pokémon TCG: Battle Arena Decks: Xerneas vs. Yveltal

PKU10944Mark your calendars for October 22nd. That’s the day these two awesome looking Pokemon decks are hitting shelves. These Battle Arena decks have new foil promo versions of Xerneas and Yveltal, and a slew of support cards to fuel Yveltal’s attacks and Xerneas’s defenses.

The set will be around $30, and contain the following:

-Two 60 Pokémon card decks
-20 foil cards in all
-2 metallic coins
-2-player playmat and rulesheet
-1 code card to play these decks online
-2 deckboxes
-2 sets of damage counters
-1 Quick Guide

Note that these are 2 completely new decks, and not a re-release of the Xerneas and Yveltal theme decks that were released a while back.

Gen Con 2014—Syrinscape

Gen Con logoI’m really glad I took that appointment with Syrinscape. To be honest, I had dismissed the company as just another producer of ambient-sound tracks. But Syrinscape is much more than that.

While other purveyors of background sounds for tabletop gaming offer fixed tracks meant to be played on loop, Syrinscape’s sounds are generated on the fly with tremendous customization potential. The company offers two players, one for fantasy settings and one for science fiction. The Syrinscape Fantasy Player so far includes about 30 sound sets, each with 5-15 sound elements. For example, the flooded cavern set includes “drip”, “toss a rock in”, “passing waterfall”, “distant wind”, “what was that?”, and ten other components.

With Syrinscape’s players, gamers are not only able to make live adjustments to the balance and intensity of sound elements, they can also combine elements from different sets to fit the unique environments of their games.

Players, which can be downloaded for free, come with two sound sets and run on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Additional sound sets can be purchased for $4 each. Another option is the subscription rate, which at $6.50 per month includes permanent access to all new releases, as well as the entire back catalog.

Syrinscape releases new sound sets about once a month. The company is also working with Paizo to release custom sound sets for the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path, one for each chapter. Several of those are already available and new ones come out every other month.

Syrinscape Screen Capture

Wizards of the Coast Discontinuing Kaijudo

Kaijudo logo 2Today is a sad day for Kaijudo fans as Wizards of the Coast announced that Vortex will be the last release for the paper TCG.  Due to the lack of a strong player base, they just couldn’t justify keeping the game alive. Vortex is due out August 29th, and WOTC is still planning on Winter Championships on October 10th-12th

If you’re a Kaijduo fan, there’s at least a bit more good news. All retail stores reporting August Duel Days will be given special Thank You  kits featuring unreleased and limited-release promo cards.

Iello at Gen Con

Gen Con logoI didn’t count them myself but Iello’s Matt Bonin told me that the company released 20 games since last Gen Con!

Among the newest making their appearance at this year’s show, the most anticipated had to be King of New York. I expect it would have made a bigger splash if Iello had more than just 200 available to sell.

Also designed by Richard Garfield, King of New York borrows a lot from its predecessor, King of Tokyo, yet presents players with a few more interesting choices and alternate strategies. For example, in the new game players must not only consider the risks and rewards of entering Manhattan (which replaces Tokyo) but also a location from among New York’s other four boroughs while outside the city center. In each borough, destroying buildings (achieved with certain dice results) earns a player benefits like victory points, energy, and health, but turns those building tokens in to military units, which may later attack the monsters.

King of New York should be available at retail outlets in September for $50.

Night of the Grand Octopus ($40, available October), which we previewed at Toy Fair, is a bluffing and negotiation game with a Cthulhu-like theme. Players move their cultist figures simultaneously around the board trying to collect ingredients for a summoning. Whenever two or more cultists end up in the same location, the players must agree on who will get the ingredient or all suffer a penalty.

The latest in Iello’s Tales & Games series, The Hare & the Tortoise ($30, available now) has players wagering on the result of a race among five animals. In general, card play advances the animals, but not always in a simple relationship. Depending on the talents of a particular animal too many cards could freeze it (when ahead, the hare may decide to take a nap) or it may move forward even if no cards are played (the tortoise is a slow but steady racer).

Friday the 13th is a new version of Reiner Knizia’s weird trick-taking card game, Poison. The game includes three suits: mirrors, black cats, and ladders. Collected cards are negative points, except for the player with the most of each suit, for whom that suit counts as nothing.

Friday the 13th

Looking forward, Iello will be distributing in English several games from French publisher Serious Poulp: Steam Torpedo, a two-player game of tactical submarine combat, 8 Masters’ Revenge, a card game of Kung Fu fighting, and 7th Continent, a solo or cooperative game of adventure and exploration.

Also planned for 2015 are The World of Yo-Ho, a board game about animal pirates that uses smartphones as playing pieces, and a game without a title yet, which features cooperative play, deck building, and fighting monsters.

Niya

inlineImages0Bruno Cathala’s Niya is a new 2 player game that takes place in the Imperial Gardens of Japan. Players take turns putting their clan’s influence token in place of a garden tile, but only one that matches the element of a previously chosen tile. The first to create a block, blockade, or row of their clan tiles rules the gardens, and takes power at court.

It’s a beautiful looking abstract strategy, and it also looks very portable.

Niya is for 2 players, ages 7+. It plays in 10 minutes.

Gen Con LLC released attendance numbers for Gen Con 2014, revealing that this year’s gaming convention is not only the largest of any convention held in Indianapolis, but it has also grown to be the largest (non-electronic) gaming event in the world.

In 2014, Gen Con’s turnstile attendance grew to 184,699 with 56,614 unique attendees. Internationale Speiltage SPIEL (often referred to as “The Essen Game Fair” or “Essen”) had 156,000 turnstile attendance in 2013, which was the trade show’s highest-attended year. Gen Con surpassed this mark that year with a turnstile attendance of 159,364.

Gen Con 2014’s unique attendance numbers are slightly higher than the Future Farmers of America’s last convention in Indianapolis. With FFA’s 2012 convention’s 56,176 attendees, Gen Con had just over 400 more unique attendees. FFA’s 2013 convention, held in Louisville, KY, had 62,998 unique attendees. In 2012, the Future Farmers of America’s last appearance in Indianapolis, they added $38 million into the local economy, compared to Gen Con 2013’s $47 million. The next largest convention in terms of economic impact to the city in 2013 was the FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference), with $35 million.

While the actual economic impact of Gen Con 2014 will not be known until later this year, the increase of 14% in growth may reach past the $50 million mark.

 

This article was edited to clarify that Gen Con has grown to be the largest non-electronic gaming convention. 

Samurai Spirit

samuraispirit

Another game by Antoine Bauza, the mastermind behind the 7 Wonders series, Samurai Spirit is a cooperative challenge for 1 to 7 players in 20 to 45 minutes. Everyone takes the role of a samurai, who needs to protect a village from a horde of blood-thirsty bandits.

To survive all 3 assault phases, the samurais have to make quick decisions and plan their defense accordingly. Not much have to be worried though, as each of them is equipped with a unique talent, and can attempt to trigger the superpower “Kiai”. In dire needs, their skills can even be transcended by animal spirits to fight injustice.

English, German and French versions of Samurai Spirit are now available for Essen 2014 pickup pre-order. Each costs 18 Euros and includes a bonus Essen promo card “The 8th Boss”.

Epic Resort

epicresortHeroes have a hard time exploring dungeons and fighting monsters. That’s why you’re here to make sure they have the best damn vacation possible. It’s your job to build and epic resort to draw heroes and tourists in. Be careful, though. The more awesome your resort is, the more likely it is to draw pirates and other nasties. Worse yet, sometimes the heroes you draw in won’t even protect you!

Epic Resort will be out next month for an MSRP of $44.95. It plays 2-4 players, ages 12+ in 1-2 hours.

Second Look—Knee Jerk

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.“I get nervous at the prison because some was…”

That’s pretty much Knee Jerk in a nut shell. Launching on Kickstarter on September 16th, Knapsack Games has created a simple and chaotic party game that fits in a small deck box.

The moderator for the turn puts two cards down, lining up the arrows appropriately. They then draw 3 cards, and fit the last piece of the sequence with the card of their choice. First person to blurt out something that completes the statement gets the first card as their point, then play continues. It’s simple, and causes a ton of ruckus as the players try to come up with something on the spot before the others do.

SituationExample_largeThis game has done a bit of travelling with me lately.

The deck has 55 cards, and the game suits 4-8 players ages 9+ with a playtime of 10 minutes. If this ends up getting priced right, I can see it becoming a pretty big hit.

A preview copy of Knee Jerk was provided free for review by Knapsack Games.

 

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