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.


PAX East—Aviary Games

header_imageAviary Games was showing off two games at PAX East this year, Alchemy and Interregnum. Interregnum will be coming to Kickstarter soon so I really just focused on the former.

Alchemy is a game where players are young alchemist apprentices trying to master the craft. Everyone is competing against the others to craft potions while fudging other players’ crafting. The trick here is that each potion can only be crafted once. You need to see what everyone around you is doing so as not to get too far in only to have another player complete a specific potion before you.

CameraZOOM-20150306112939373Alchemy handles 2-5 players, and you can check out the rules here to find out more about how it plays. Having been successfully funded on Kickstarter, backers should be getting their copies shortly. You can also preorder the game here.

PAX East—Robot Entertainment

header_imageSecured in a glass case, almost forgotten by those around it, Orcs Must Die the board game sat. Shadowed by its video game counterpart, I was still able to snag someone to get more info about it. It’ll actually be two board games, Orcs Must Die: Order and Orcs Must Die: Unchained. Each can be played on it’s own as a cooperative tower defense game, or the two can be combined as a Player vs Player game.

Orcs Must Die

Order will have the players playing as the heroes, while Unchained will be the Orcs. Each version of the game will support 1-4 players, and will handle a full 8 when combined. The game is currently still in development, and just like everything else, will be hitting Kickstarter soon.

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.The Phantom League is a space exploration game that’s been out since 2010. Since then it’s seen some expansions, rules rewrites, etc… Now Arctic Union is planning on coming out with Phantom League v2, Dangerous Edition. The new edition will take all the rewritten rules, with some new updates, and compile them for ease of play. I had a chance to sit down with the game, expansions, and proposed updates to give it a whirl.

First off let me say this. This game is a time investment. If you want to play it, you’re going to need to delve in. The learning curve is a bit steep, but the game is actually really fluid once you get going. Actually, it’s the combat system that takes a bit of getting used to, but the newest rules make things a lot more clear than previous versions.

phantom-league-coverYou can play Phantom League solo, or with other players. The game, while having a set goal, let’s you experiment and think outside the box when playing. It takes about 2-4 hours to play, and is extremely thematic. This is one to really get into and enjoy the story while playing. It almost feels as the game is as much role-playing as it is board game. This is sci-fi indulgent, and my son and I really had a great time with it.

Arctic Union is still polishing the new rules, taking suggestions from play testers, and getting everything ready to launch on Kickstarter soon. If you don’t to wait for a newer version, you’ll be well off to purchase the base game and Mostly Harmless expansion, grabbing the consolidated rules off BoardGameGeek, and delving into the deep dark of space. You won’t be sorry either way.

A free copy of The Phantom League, Mostly Harmless, and Pilot Academy were provided by Arctic Union for review/preview.

header_imageI stopped by the CritSuccess booth to see what was new. I’m a huge fan of my r20, and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of something special.

Indeed I did. I present to you, the Chainmail Dice Bag.

Chainmail Dice BagThe picture doesn’t do it justice. This thing is a beauty. It’s 100% stainless steel, and it’s tough as nails. They let me tug on it, stomp on it, and try my best to break it. The bag held up to it all. Not only that, but it’s actually a really good size. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for dice bags, particularly leather ones. This bag has me rethinking my loyalty.

CritSuccess ran a Kickstarter with a goal of raising $500 to get the bag made. They raised almost $50,000.

While these bags are amazing, they won’t be cheap when they’re available to the public. It looks like you’ll need to shell out $50 for one, but it’s worth it in my mind.

PAX East—Lay Waste Games

header_imageLay Waste Games was showing off Dragoon, a game that’s currently in the Kickstarter process. The game is already funded, but there’s still stretch goals to unlock.

The game is beautifully minimalistic, and it’s an art direction that the team originally wasn’t going to go with. It’s a good thing they did, because it really is something to see. The pieces are pretty amazing, too. While the dragons look to be wooden or resin, they’re actually pewter. Solid, heavy, and totally amazing feeling.

DragoonThe goal of Dragoon is to amass 50 gold in your cave before the other dragons do. You get gold by destroying villages, forcing villagers to pay tribute, or by stealing it from other dragons. The whole game is supposed to last 30-60 minutes, and should be easy to learn. I was really impressed with what I saw, and am eager to try my hand at the game.

PAX East—Momentum Volsk

header_imageI always love it when I stumble across a booth when just walked randomly around a convention. Tucked away along one of the walls at PAX East was the Momentum Volsk booth. Here I got a change to see and play Castle Assault, a game that’s currently up on Kickstarter. The game plays very similar to a MOBA, with 3 lanes that players fight through to attack the other player’s castle. Chip the castle’s health down to zero to win. It’s not as simple as it sounds. You’re constantly playing a game of tug of war in each lane, trying to get the upper hand to make it across the board.

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Castle Assault has several different factions that all play differently. There’s also hero cards that let you, the player, act as a character in the game. The cool part about heroes is that they can be permanently upgraded between games. Another cool thing about them is that if you summon them in game and they die, you instantly lose. There’s also a Momentum meter on the board that bounces back and forth at the start of each player’s turn. When it’s in the upper ranges for a player it provides certain bonuses, and certain cards are more powerful if your momentum is maxed out.

I played Castle Assault with TJ, the designer of the game, and lost horribly. That’s OK though, because I had a great time. TJ sent me home with a few factions decks, a hero, and a board so I could play the game a bit more with my kids. My 9-year-old son is a big fan, with a healthy love of the Orcs.

The game is definitely worth a look, and if you’re into fantasy games, tactical games, etc… then I’d pledge to see it get out there.

 

TEKHeroesCallJust announced, Tiny Epic Kingdoms: Heroes’ Call will expand the base game with new factions, new regions, new mechanics, and new components. The flavor text from the expansion is as follows:

The war continues and spreads further and further. New factions have arrived from the north igniting more epic battles than before. Heroes rise over the fallen bodies of their enemies. Kingdoms spread across the frozen wastelands in search of resources. War towers grow taller than the trees. Who will be victorious in the end?

Currently still in development, the expansion is expected to hit Kickstarter in 2016.

PAX East—SFR, Inc

header_imageI made sure to see what SFR was up to this year, as I was excited to find out last year that Dragon Dice was still in production. This year they had 2 new products to show. The first was a new Daemon type for Daemon Dice, Fester. The dice are yellow with red ink, and allow you to mix things up a bit more in the game. I actually have some bagged, early-release Fester dice from last year, but now they’re boxed and ready to hit shelves. There’s 13 dice per Fester Booster, and they retail for $12.95.

On the Dragon Dice side, there’s now a new Amazons Kicker pack. This set contains the never-before-see Nightmare die, and each Kicker pack contains: 7 6-sided dice: 4 16mm commons, 2 18mm uncommons, and 1 20mm rare. They also include 1 random 22mm 10-sided monster die and a rules sheet. Retails is $9.95.

While I was at the booth I was also able to snag a Firewalker/Treefolk starter to get back into the game and start posting some reviews.

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The latest nostalgic trigger overfunding on Kickstarter is the Thunderbirds Co-operative Board Game from Modiphius Entertainment. Designed by Matt Leacock of Pandemic fame, the game has players taking on the roles of the individual Tracy family members, completing various rescue missions around the world, and most importantly, piloting miniatures of the beloved Thunderbirds vehicles. The project is currently working toward a stretch goal that would allow a fifth player to act as the evil Hood.

Thunderbirds Co-operative Board Game

If for no other reason, I would have had to mention Bad Medicine for best integration of a gorilla suit in a project video. Fortunately, though, this party game that bucks the recent trend of simply being crude has more to offer than that. In Bad Medicine players identify maladies, concoct remedies, and argue over side effects. Sounds like a visit with the grandparents.

RPE Miniatures’ Phroggs project is for 28mm metal figures of science-fiction amphibians. They’ll be produced in Poison Dart Frog, Fire Bellied Toad, and Bullfrog versions, each with futuristic uniforms and weapons.

Another minis project is the one for cast resin terrain by THMiniatures. It features unpainted elements in two groups: fortifications and ruins.

Tesla vs EdisonI’m a very geeky geek. Besides the obvious focus on games, I have a real fascination with the history of electric utilities (it’s the engineering background, I guess). So Artana’s project for a board game on just that subject hooked me on two fronts. Tesla vs. Edison has the PR antics, stock shenanigans, and business chicanery that was a real part of the industry in its early days. My only beef (without having played the game yet) is Artana’s assumption that all geeks will side with Tesla. You can count me in the Edison camp.

Nova Aetas is a tactical combat board game set in Renaissance Italy. Nova Aetas can be played single-player, cooperative, or competitive and includes 50 miniatures, 3D terrain, and a campaign of 30 scenarios. It also promises tough enemies controlled by an aggressive AI and a time-based action management system.

header_imageEverywhere I went in the tabletop floor booths had beautiful, wooden accessories to accent the games being shown. Everyone said the same thing, “Wyrmwood Gaming provided these excellent products.” Be it dice trays, towers, or wooden dice. Wyrmwood had the right idea by making sure at least one of their products were in as many tabletop booths as possible. I was blown away by the quality of what I saw, but it was nothing compared to what I saw at their own booth.

Wyrmwood CrokinoleThe first thing that hit me was this awesome Crokinole board. Not a normal product they sell, but a custom piece. If you’ve got something in mind you want, you can always email Wyrmwood to get a quote for them to make it for you. Their actual product line consists of dice trays, vaults, towers, and deck holders. They even have some non-wooden materials like card sleeves and polyhedral dice.

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Their products are bit pricey, but are built to last. There’s no denying the quality of the workmanship, the beauty of the products, and the absolute wow factor each pieces possess.

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