Gran Prix International

Modern board games are games created after 1900 or so, including early games such as Monopoly and Scrabble, to the latest games from Europe and around the world.

KingOfNewYork_PowerUp_BoxAll the monsters in King of New York are about to get two new sets of evolution cards when King of New York: Power Up hits this October. A new monster, Mega Shark, also makes his appearance with this expansion.

This set will also allow owners of the new version of King of Tokyo to mix in King of New York monsters in Tokyo with Evolution cards.

You’ll need $20, and a copy of the King of New York base game to play.

Included in the box:

  • 112 Evolution Cards
  • 1 Monster standee and board
  • Assorted tokens
  • 1 Rulebook

Second Look—Dragon Run

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.This must be the week for dragons, because here comes a look at Blue Orange Games’ Dragon Run. I’ve actually had this one for a while, and now seemed the perfect time to post about it.

Designed by Bruno Cathala, Dragon Run is a push-your-luck game of escaping a dragons cave with the most treasure…and without dying. Each turn players can charge blindly into the dragons lair, sneak carefully in, or cry like a baby. Charging lets you grab the most loot. Sneaking gets you some, and calms the dragon a bit, and crying like a baby give you a pass, but you lose some loot.

Of course just running in and grabbing look would be too easy, right? Some cards give you treasure. Some let you keep drawing. One is the dragon’s fiery breath. Get that and lose one of your two hit points. Die and you’re out of the game. Have the most treasure when the dragon loses interest in everyone and you win the game!

t355_cdbb33bf3aa0d087c7662ef1bc9432deOf course there’s more to it than that, but not much. Each character has a special ability that’ll help them out in the quest for loot. Also, while there’s nothing like watching other people get toasted, if everyone dies then the dragon wins. So it’s not always in your best interest to leave the other players without a little support.

Dragon Run is light, fast, and a really fun time. While you’re not getting a ton of components for your $25, you’re getting a great game. I’m a big fan of Blue Orange, and this is one of the best I’ve played from them.

A copy of Dragon Run was provided for free for review by Blue Orange Games.

Second Look—Dragon Flame

Dragon FlameWhile Robert has us on the subject of dragons, let’s talk about Minion Games’ Dragon Flame. Similar in theme to Wrath of Dragons—you play the rampaging wyrms—Dragon Flame, though, presents a lighter but still strategically satisfying experience.

The first part of Dragon Flame has players seeding castles with treasures, one-at-a-time placing treasure cards on the central castles in combinations that they hope will maximize the value of the castle stacks for themselves and minimize their value for the other players. Some of the castles are limited in the number of treasure cards they can take. And depending on what a player accomplished on the previous turn, some number of the treasure cards they play will have to be face-up or face-down.

The second part of the game sees the players acting their parts as dragons, taking turns to attack a castle and grab the treasure cards there. Each type of treasure in a dragon’s hoard at the end of the game scores glory points in a different fashion. For example, jewelry cards are worth a straight number. Statues are worth five points each but only if there are no duplicates. Chests are each worth one point per chest of the same type (thus, their value increases quickly), but this only applies to the single greatest collection of chests. Each chest of another type in a dragon’s hoard results in a penalty of one point.

Dragonflame cards are special. Any in a player’s selected stack gives them a run at burning villages. For every icon on the cards, they can place a flame token on one of a set of village cards. At the end of the game, the dragon who’s contributed the most to burning down a village scores its points.

For me, Dragon Flame’s fun comes from quick but strategic play with a fair amount of back-and-forth positioning player against player. Also, though there may not be dragon meeples, it does come with wood fire tokens to light up pesky human villages.

Dragon Flame Castles

Dragon Flame Villages

Dragon Flame Burning Tokens

A complimentary copy of Dragon Flame was provided by Minion Games for review.

Crowdfunding Highlights

Outdoor games! Kubb is a lawn game that dates back to the age of Vikings, where you toss batons and blocks to knock over other blocks. Wait, no! Don’t leave! It’s actually a cool game that Downtime Manufacturing Co. is making: Beautiful, solid, hand-crafted wood, with several different designs. Check out the video at the campaign page. They’re just under two thousand dollars away from funding and have a few days left!


Daniel Solis makes small games, and Pod-X is his latest game to hit Kickstarter. The seventeen-card game features a doomed spaceship and a frantic search for the last escape pod. The dealer knows the location, but can she misdirect the other players into giving her the win? A deductive game, this is one of the Button Shy Games’ Wallet Games. Already funded, you can get a copy for a $3 pledge.

Interested in a five-minute cooperative real time fantasy adventure game? Sure, how about Dungeon Time by Ares Games? Gear up, go on a quest, and when the timer runs out, go through the deck to see if you’ve actually completed the goal. This card game seems like a fantasy version of Space Alert (without the soundtrack) or Ticket to Ride: The Card Game (but fun). A $25 pledge gets you a copy.

Maybe something bigger. Far East 1592 is a strategic war game depicting the Seven Year War, where Japan invaded the Korean peninsula. Your troops are modified by thirty different generals. Far East 1592 looks beautiful and, with just four days to go, needs a push to get to the funding mark! The game is available to those that pledge at least $60.

far east war

not cahThis week in the “we can make a Cards Against Humanity knockoff” category is Pick Your Poison, which just looks like CAH, but isn’t as awful or mean-spirited. It’s more of a Would You Rather… game where you choose one thing that’s cool, but are saddled with something that sucks. You’ll get combinations like “Win the lottery, twice, but never be trusted again” or “Go anywhere in the world for 3 weeks, all expenses paid, but never eat another slice of bacon again.” The judge chooses the one he or she would rather. It’s surprisingly refreshing in a field of CAH-“inspired” games. We’re actually looking forward to this one succeeding! If you want a potty-mouth version, there’s also a Toxic NSFW expansion.

Previously, on… Did Drawing Without Dignity, the potty-mouth Pictionary, make it? Nope, they cancelled the project with 37% funded. They’re going to relaunch the campaign with a slightly more sane funding goal ($5k instead of $10k) and trying to market the game.

Second Look—Wrath of Dragons

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.Wrath of Dragons is a Resource Destruction game by Catalyst Game Labs. I first got a chance to play at PAX East this year after seeing the dragon on the box and immediately requesting a demo. Filled with crunchy bits and amazing art, the game uses several popular Euro mechanics to provide a fun and satisfying gaming experience.

Played over the course of 6 centuries (rounds), players will place their dragons on actions, draft cards, and head to various areas of the board to pillage and destroy. The game has a great mechanic where one player will get the First Action token, while another gets a First Attack token. Both have their advantages, and no player can hold both at the same time.

Through clever play, proper resource management, and manipulation of the central action wheel, players will move around the board capturing nobles, burning crops, destroying cities, and eating livestock. Dragons can also level up, allowing them move flexibility over the course of the game. At the end of 6 centuries players will tally up their victory points to determine the victor. Conditions like having the most of a certain resource, having a full set of colored buildings destroyed, or owning the Terrorize Tile will add to your total.

dragonsIs Wrath of Dragons worth the $60 price tag? I think so. I’m a huge fan of dragons, so that’s a win right there. Combine that with a small learning curve, lots of choices, may paths to victory, and some really great art and bits and you’ve got a solid Euro on your hands.

It’s not a game I would have expected to come out of Catalyst, but I’m sure glad it did.

A copy of Wrath of Dragons was provided free for review by Catalyst Game Labs.

Game Blotter - A roundup of crimes, legal cases, and when "the law" gets involved with gamesProfessional Magic player Fabrizio Anteri was suspended for 18 months for failing to properly shuffle his cards. In his defense, Anteri says he simply forgot.

The corner jail space of a Monopoly board recently painted on a Jersey City, New Jersey street was covered over with solid orange after complaints that the image promoted racial stereotypes. Expressing his disappointment to a local newspaper, the artist said that critics were projecting their own racial biases. The image, in fact, was a self-portrait (he is of Puerto Rican and Italian descent).

A visitor from mainland China was attacked and beaten by Hong Kong villagers who accused him of cheating at Mahjong games played in a local grocery store. Allegedly, the Mahjong tiles were marked with invisible ink, which the visiting player could see with special contact lenses. Police called to the scene found marked tiles but were unable to find any special glasses or lenses.

Neelash Saha, who won the National Chess Championship of India by half a point, has been banned by the All Indian Chess Federation (AICF) after one of his opponents in the tournament admitted to feigning illness to withdraw from a match and give Saha a full point for a win. The ban, though, has been stayed by a Madras High Court judge pending a further hearing.

One of the trains involved in a head-on collision in Texas was carrying product for WizKids. As a result, the company has had to cancel all pre-release events for Marvel HeroClix: The Superior Foes of Spider-Man.

A group of Cambodian husbands, angry that their wives were playing dice instead of doing housework, snitched on them to local police. When officers attempted to raid the game, however, the players were able to escape with their money, perhaps because one of those playing with them was the wife of a police chief.

The Chess courtyard of Woodruff Park in Atlanta was closed indefinitely after gangs moved in and started taking over the Chess games.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service rejected the $5.2 million refund request of Irish businessman John P. McManus. The money was withheld by his opponent from $17.4 million won in a Backgammon game. The IRS says McManus doesn’t qualify for a refund under a treaty with Ireland because he’s actually a resident of Switzerland.

Professional Poker player and osteopathic doctor, Jaclynn Moskow, has begun speaking out against sexist and anti-Semitic attitudes, as well as actual sexual harassment, in tournament Poker circles. She claims a prominent commentator thrust his face, without consent, in to her chest at an event connected with the recording of a Poker television show. She provided the NY Daily News with a recording of another commentator saying, “The thing about ‘Poker Night’ that makes it so great is that there are no Jews. Every other show on TV has Jews.”

Cyber Bunny was dropped from the new version of King of Tokyo because of “legal technicalities.”

Hasbro won Best Legal Department in the Consumer Goods & Retail category of the 2016 International General Counsel Awards.

Game of Life trademark pendingA Mr. Jonathan Scott applied to register a trademark for “Game of Life” apparel. I gather the logo is supposed to look something like a baseball diamond. Hasbro, though, thinks it’ll be confused with The Game of Life board game and has filed an opposition.

Hasbro filed its own trademark applications for “Hascon” and “Hasbrocon“, for the purpose of “organizing and conducting conventions, exhibitions, fan clubs and gatherings for entertainment purposes and in the fields of toys, animation, comic books, fantasy, gaming, popular culture, science fiction, television and film.”

Hasbro continues to hold the upper hand defending against a claim that it misappropriated the idea for My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop toys filled with glittery liquid. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that the company had developed the same idea independently and that the trade secrets claimed by Elinor Shapiro were in fact in the public domain.

Primary election results in Oregon were decided by the roll of dice. Both Republican Dan Mason and Democrat Janeen Sollman each received 41 votes in the Independent Party primary for State Representative in District 30. State law requires that ties be decided by a game of chance. Mason’s roll of six beat Sollman’s three.

Four individuals were shot while playing street dice games in Brooklyn, Clairton (Pennsylvania), Baltimore, and Natchez (Mississippi). Two of four died from their wounds.

Game Bandit

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesThe Cthulhu-and-bureaucracy Laundry RPG is back on Bundle of Holding. The $9 Starter Collection includes the Core Rulebook and Agent’s Handbook. The Bonus Collection, at the threshold price of around $25, includes five additional supplements.

Rogue Genius Games has put $600 of Pathfinder PDFs up in a bundle deal for just $30. That’s 95% off.

Paizo is having a summer PDF sale with 25% off select products.

For 20% off two or more organizing box inserts from Insert Here, use coupon code “2016happyih4th”.

Mutant Crawl ClassicsGoodman Games is doing for the post-apocalyptic genre what it did for fantasy with the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. Mutant Crawl Classics, inspired by Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha, is stand-alone but still fully compatible with DCC. Characters can be human, mutant, manimal, or plantient and in a typical adventure venture the wastelands to collect lost super-science.

For a system that’ll allow gamers to make their own mutants, Weapons Grade Funk is working toward a line of customizable anthropomorphic miniatures. The current round of fundraising will support sculpting of all the various body parts. These will then be incorporated in to an online application with which users can mix-and-match for 3D printing.

Game of Blame combines be-the-first-to-dump-your-cards game-play with a kind-of hot-potato mechanic for a light card game of courtly intrigue. As the queen’s advisers, the players know that personal success isn’t really about fixing the kingdom’s problems but instead about making sure someone else takes the blame for the things that go wrong.

Planetarium CardBeautiful and with a unique theme, Planetarium from Game Salute has players forming the planets of a new solar system by colliding matter on board orbits, and then further evolving those planets through the play of various cards.

Back on earth, players operate ice cream trucks in Rocky Road a la Mode, Green Couch Games’ tribute to the summer season. Cards in the game serve either as music to attract customers or as frozen treats to relieve the heat. With the right customers, players can also lay claim to summer hot spots, such as the pool, park, or ball field.

For the more sinister players, there’s Mr. B’s Madness at Midnight, a cultists-side Cthulhu game. This one combines worker placement and action-dice mechanics as players fulfill sinister plots and work to control key locations in Arkham. The first to 13 victory points is the winner, that is as long as they manage to keep the investigators at bay.

Game Bandit - Scouring the net to find the cheapest discount boardgames and best free boardgame prizesDigital Days of Wonder games are on-sale, including Splendor, Ticket to Ride, and Small World—Android, iOS, and Steam—for up to 70% off.

Retweet and follow Playopolis Board Game Cafe (UK) for a chance to win either Pandemic or Cards Against Humanity.

Get 35% off games or magazine games from Compass Games when using coupon code “paperwars” along with the purchase of an issue of Paper Wars magazine.

Promo code “JESTERJULY” will get you 20% orders direct from Gamewright.

Steam’s Summer Sale includes Fantasy Grounds virtual tabletop for 25-44% off, Talisman games for 50% off.

Strat-O-Matic Basketball, Hockey, and Football games for Windows are 25% off through Thursday morning. A coupon code, “BHFROSTERS”, is required.

July 1-5, Wild West Exodus will be 35% off from Outlaw Miniatures.


Arriving August 1st, Arena of the Planeswalkers: Shadows Over Innistrad is stand-alone set instead of just an expansion to the popular Arena of the Planeswalkers game. While the box image isn’t clear, we know we’ll be getting 5 Planeswalkers: Sorin, the Innistrad version of Jace, and what possibly looks like Arlinn and Nahiri. I can’t really make out the fifth one.

MSRP will be $29.99.

I’m really glad Hasbro is still supporting the game, though I miss the wave-style releases of figures that Heroscape used.

UPDATE: It’s been brought to my attention that both the 4th and 5th Planeswalkers in the box are Arlinn in her human and werewolf form.


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