MIND-The Fall of Paradise

Miniatures includes the miniature games and hobby, where detail of the figures and terrain are of primary importance. Many miniature gamers spend more time painting than playing.


BattleBots at Home

hexbug-battlebots-tombstoneIt’s robot fighting time at home with the new Hexbug BattleBots. These are miniature, licensed, remote control replicas of the ABC television show’s fighting bots, Tombstone and Witch Doctor, and are available individually ($30), paired in a Rivals set ($50), or accompanied by a BattleBots Arena ($80) complete with manual pulverizers.

Made of plastic and powered by AAA batteries, the Hexbug BattleBots are not going to produce the same armor-shredding and bot-flipping power seen on TV. However, parts of each robot are held together with light magnets, so the satisfaction of seeing one’s opponent fall to pieces is still part of the game.

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Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesTo celebrate the release of its 100th product, Schwalb Entertainment has everything for Shadow of the Demon Lord 20% off at DriveThruRPG.

Also at DriveThruRPG, Apocalypse World and Dungeon World titles are 40% off through the end of the month.

Polygon’s “big board game giveaway” is for Portal and open-box copies of Ghostbusters, Star Wars Risk, and Catan.

Tell Passport Games what you wish for a superpower. The wish judged the best gets the person who submitted it a copy of the company’s new game, 3 Wishes.

Subscribe to Osprey Games’ newsletter for a chance to win Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space.

Osprey Publishing’s September sale is 25% off aviation series books.

Casual Game Insider is partnering with Tasty Minstrel Games to offer free 1-year digital subscriptions.

The Cardboard podcast is giving away Covert from Renegade Game Studios.

Unfiltered Gamer is giving away Wits & Wagers Family Edition from North Star Games.

Everything Board Games is giving away Dr. Eureka from Blue Orange Games and a package of Super Hack Override and Ice Cool.

Giveaways by Sahm Reviews:

Retail Games

bonus-round-game-cafe

Otherside Games opened a few weeks ago in Edwardsville, Illinois with the usual assortment of games and play space.

Tabletop Game Cafe is soon to open in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus. Despite the name, the business intends to focus on the cafe aspect with games a nice accompaniment to the meal. There’ll be no cover charge or rental fee for games.

Monopolatte in Ottawa is closing. The owner said that despite the restaurant and game-space doing a brisk business, it wasn’t bringing in enough money to pay himself and the employees a living wage.

Drew Lovell and Courtney Hartley are raising funds on Kickstarter with the hope of opening Bonus Round as Chicago’s first board game cafe.

Toy Hub, a High Street toy shop in Dunblane, Scotland, is running weekly Game Clubs in local restaurants.

Zander’s Game House, a game cafe (minus the coffee) in Camarillo, California, is focused on providing a family-friendly venue (so also no alcohol).

A new Toys “R” Us store has opened in Huddersfield, U.K.

Kickstarter Preview—Box of Holding

The Box of Holding from Aaron Cain is a hand-crafted wood carrying case for dice and miniatures—perfect as a gamer gift or self-indulgence. High-end and expensive it is but also beautiful and built with quality.

Inside the box is a caddy with slots for holding dice sets. Underneath the caddy is what Cain calls the mini chamber, a section for storing two or three miniatures protected in foam. Holding the parts together are some very strong magnets. This will definitely not come apart in your bag!

The pieces in my sample fit together perfectly. And Cain has incorporated some extra nice touches beyond the basics. Both underneath the foam in the mini chamber and above it on the underside of the caddy are layers of cushioned rubber for a further measure of protection. The box lid, lined with felt, also serves a dual purpose. Turn it over to use as a dice tray.

Is it weird to say I love how the box smells?

If I had any concern about the Box of Holding, it would actually be that the magnets are VERY strong. You’ll have to get a good grip on the box to open it or to remove the caddy.

If you’re interested in getting one of these beauties, Aaron Cain is running a Box of Holding Kickstarter project for another 22 days. Prices run $150-305, depending on the type of wood chosen.

A complimentary Box of Holding was provided for review by Aaron Cain.

3D Printing Roundup

A number of sources are now offering 3D printing models (STL files) via DriveThruRPG or Wargame Vault.

dragonlock-buildingFat Dragon Games, a company that started with print-and-play paper models, has the Dragonlock line, which includes both monster figures ($5 for five figures) and dungeon terrain ($10-20 per set). The dungeon terrain sets include stone walls, pillars, stairways, natural caverns, and also hazards, traps, and accouterments such as a treasure chest and an altar. Dungeon levels are stackable and sections can be held together with printable clips. Fat Dragon Games, by the way, is also running a Kickstarter for Dragonlock models of above-ground buildings.

Dicey Ventures focuses on Chibi-inspired architectural terrain features in 28 mm scale. Prices range from $8 for the model of a small bubble-like Water Dwelling to $32 for a Fortification Bundle that includes tower, walls, and gate. My favorite is the Arcane Library ($15).

French minis manufacturer Via Ludibunda sells three different building sets: Basic Houses ($28), Specialty Houses ($28), and Drow Architecture ($30). The Basic Houses set includes models for a variety of components (floors, roofs, pillars) that can be mixed and matched to form custom buildings.

dicey-ventures-arcane-library      drow-architecture

Dozens of different monster figure models are available from mz4250 and all for free. Among the more impressive are a Manticore and a Hippogriff. There are also collections for Lycanthropes and Dragons.

Carnivorous Plants ($4) and Leeches ($6) are available from BSG Miniatures.

Rocket Pig Games offers a mix of monster figures, terrain features, and props. Example monsters include a Troglodyte and a Rust Eater ($1.50 for either). In the category of terrain, the company sells models for Marble Columns ($2) and Traps ($3.50). Among the prop models are Cage (50¢), Sundial ($1.50), and Cauldron ($1.50). But the best have to be the ones that combine prop with monster—the Mimics!

Axolite Gaming’s specialty is a system of interlocking tiles, walls, and doors. The company sells science fiction style and fantasy/dungeon style sets ($10 per basic set, $18 per expansion set). Also mini expansions for an inn and bar ($6 each).

rocket-pig-chest-mimic mz4350-dragon-model

Kickstarter Preview—Incantris

Heath and Seth Robinson are currently Kickstarting their miniatures game, Incantris, of magical combat for 1-4 players. Each player in the game takes control of a team of three wizards, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. What makes the game interesting right off the bat is how each team is balanced a bit differently, mixing up the combinations of the six types of wizards to change the team’s dynamic.

I had a chance to play a prototype of Incantris and put the game through its paces. While the components I played with aren’t the final pieces, they’re pretty close. The model sculpts were excellent, and the art very was well done. All the counters and modular board pieces were sturdy, the dice icons clean and legible. The 3D terrain was solid, stood well, and looked really professional. Overall this prototype felt very close to a fully manufactured game.

I was a bit worried when the game came in. The rulebook was thick. Never a good sign for a miniatures board game that claims to be simple to learn and play. A quick flip through them put my mind at ease. The rules were printed one-sided and had plenty of images, examples, and reference materials. The game really is simple to learn. There’s even a two-minute video that Heath and Seth created to lay down the basics.

There’re several different ways to play Incantris: Battle Royale, Crystal Sap, Capture the Crystal, and my favorite, Shifting Arena. Each scenario has it’s own victory conditions and special rules that go along with it. Shifting Arena, for example, has the same goal to defeat all the other players as Battle Royal does, but the board shifts as you play.

During each turn in the game, a player will move and attack, or attack and move, with one of their wizards. That wizard can’t be activated again until the player’s other wizards have been used. There’s a total of 25 spells spread out over the six types of wizards, and each has its own area of effect. Some spells target empty hexes. Others, another wizard. Some spells have an area effect that can hit more than one wizard at a time. There’s spells that do damage and spells that inflict status effects. The amount of depth provided with such a simple ruleset is astounding.

As I usually do, I played Incantris with my kids. This time around my 11-year-old, 9-year-old, and 6-year-old played the game with me. All were able to grasp the rules fairly quickly, and once they got the hang of the team they were playing with, had a great time playing the game. Even with a full compliment of 4 players we were able to finish the game in around an hour. Gameplay is fast, spells are satisfying, and between the modular board and different scenarios there’s a lot of replayability here. The one thing I wish I had is the Wizard Design Kit, an add-on available in the Kickstarter campaign that allows you to customize your own team of wizards and the spells they have.

Incantris is already fully-funded with 7 days left to go in its campaign. A pledge of $50 will make sure you get a copy of the base game, while $7o gets you the game and the Wizard Design Kit. The latter would be my suggestion to get the most bang for you buck. This is a great game, and I hope to see more released for it in the future.

A prototype copy of Incantris was provided for this preview by Heath and Seth Robinson.

galaxy-zegaGalaxy ZEGA is the toys-to-life category applied to head-to-head tank combat. On the toy side are futuristic-looking tracked vehicles in four designs. On the mobile device side, an app (iOS or Android) serves as a player’s remote control for movement and simulated combat.

That fighting, though, is more than simply taking pot shots at each other. Each vehicle has its own balance of attack, defense, and speed, as well as unique “skills” that provide speed boosts, HP recovery, an obscuring fog that partially covers an opponent’s screen, and other benefits. Additional skills are available as upgrades and in-game boosts. One even causes an opponent’s phone to vibrate while they’re trying to use the control panel.

Galaxy ZEGA ships in October. A set with just two vehicles runs $100. A starter set that adds a kind-of maze terrain kit is priced at $150.

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Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesSpend $50 or more at Victory Point Games and get a free copy of Dragon Master, while supplies last.

Everything Board Games is running giveaways for five different games, some though for only a few more hours.

Funagain, again, offers a special Essen preordering service that enables U.S. customers get games that would otherwise only be available in Europe.

A bundle of everything in ebook format from Lamentations of the Flame Princess is available from DriveThruRPG for $169 (that is 33% off priced individually).

Buy one Pokemon card pack, deck, or tin and get the second 40% off in-store only at Toys “R” Us.

The Army Painter is offering a special bundle including one Mega Paint Set, one primer, one anti-shine mat varnish spray, and one Quickshade for $151.

Online, Toys “R” Us has a nice clearance section of games, which includes Loopin’ Louie at 40% off and Star Wars Box Busters at 75% off.

Russ Morrissey is running an alien race design contest for his N.E.W. roleplaying game. The prize is a hardcover copy of N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game.

Get a free set of dice with the purchase of any Adventure Case or Dice Chest from Dog Might Games. Also 20% off all in-stock items.

All DramaScape print-and-play products are 50% off this month.

Subscribe to HarnQuest from Columbia Games and get 50% off all Harn PDF products.

Starting in October, “mini” versions of Hasbro board games will be available for AU$3.50 with the purchase of a Sunday Herald-Sun.

Man vs. Meeple is giving away a choice of game from Renegade Game Studios: Lotus, Clank, or Covert. Watch the video and comment to enter.

A new indie games bundle deal just launched on Bundle of Holding with a starting price of $4.95.

Apt to Game is giving away Scythe from Stonemaier Games (Canadian residents only).

The Giveaway Geek is giving away Mansions of Madness from Fantasy Flight Games.

Essex Mums is giving away Pickin’ Chickens from Drumond Park (U.K. residents).

The Reading Residence is giving away Countdown from Rocket Games (U.K. residents).

Chronicle Books is giving away a package of snacks and three party games: Get to the Point Poker, Listography: The Game, and Guilty as Charged.

Chic Geek Diary is giving away Googly Eyes from University Games.

Quillable is giving away a choice of two games, plus coloring books from Raincoast Books (Canadian residents).

Hasbro Gaming LabHasbro has launched its third game design challenge, this time with a focus on family games and a celebrity judge, Daymond John, founder of FUBU and one of the investors on the television show, Shark Tank. Interesting choice considering how poorly board game pitches usually do on such shows.

In any case, again, five finalists chosen by Hasbro will pitch their designs to the public with crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo. And again the ultimate winner will receive $25,000 and a trip to Hasbro headquarters.

The first challenge focused on party games and picked The Mister Toast Card Game as the winner. The second, which asked for games that would also be of interest to game enthusiasts, awarded Hex Casters the top prize. This time, the Family Face-to-Face Game Challenge will judge submissions on the following criteria:

  • 34%: Gameplay for All (cross-generational gameplay that’s easy to get and easy to get into)
  • 33%: Theme (excellent content, narrative, and conceptual visuals to match)
  • 33%: Viability and Potential for Success (ability to be created and delivered to gamers, potential to appeal to all levels of players, likelihood to be the next hit game)

Entries are due by October 23rd.

storm-kings-thunderThe latest story-line for Dungeons & Dragons saw its official launch this week with the full retail release of the Storm King’s Thunder adventure book ($50 suggested retail). Developed in-house at Wizards of the Coast, Storm King’s Thunder sees the player characters defending the Sword Coast in The Forgotten Realms against the depredations of ravaging giants.

The adventure covers character levels 1-11, for the first five in a more traditional progression and in the later levels with a modular approach. The book includes an adventure flowchart to help guide the dungeon master, as well as an appendix with suggestions for integrating it with other published adventures. Part of the story involves the characters making use of the giants’ own rune magic to craft new fantastic items.

For those playing Dungeons & Dragons remotely online, licensed versions of Storm King’s Thunder are also available in Fantasy Grounds ($35) and Roll20 ($50). The story line makes an appearance as an expansion to the Neverwinter MMO. And coming from WizKids are a Storm King’s Thunder Icons of the Realms miniatures series (later this month) and an Assault of the Giants board game ($100, May 2017).

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