“Who are we? Where are We from?”
I first saw Aurora at CT FIG 2016 while playing Elements at the Rampage Games booth. Not having time to play that day, Rampage sent me a copy of my own to checkout. I finally had a chance to sit down and play with my kids, and was surprised what a competent little set collection game it is.
Aurora is a game about creating star systems that can support sentient life. It was a submission to The Game Crafter’s Learning Game Challenge, and made it to the finals.
Each round you’re creating or expanding star systems trying to meet all the requirements for intelligence. Every card in your star system also provides a certain amount of either Water, Carbon, or Oxygen. Building your levels of these resources earn you bonuses throughout the game. There’s also event cards that can be played to help yourself or hinder other players. Once a round is over you can save up to three cards, pass the rest to the player on the left, then draw up to 6 cards for a max hand size of 8. Play continues until either one person develops intelligence, has life in three star systems, or maxes out their resource tracks. It plays in about 30 minutes, and the kids and I had a blast while playing.
There are a few pitfalls, though. The rules aren’t as clear as they could be, and make the game seem a bit more complicated than it really is. Also, the colors on some of the components, especially the reference guide and rule book, blend a bit and make the text hard to read in some areas. Overall these aren’t really deal breakers, but are items that can be fixed to make Aurora a much more solid package.
Aurora packs a lot of game into a deck of cards. Between the multiple paths to victory and drafting mechanics, it provides a good amount of depth is a short period of time. It’s also easy enough to play with kids. My 6-year-old was able to grasp the game well enough to play on his own after a few rounds, and my 9-year-old pulled out a surprise victory by developing intelligence on our first play of the game.
A copy of Aurora was provided free for review by Rampage Games.
TOR is giving away a Pathfinder Tales novel, Starspawn by Wendy N. Wagner.
With every episode, Man vs. Meeple gives away a copy the game they reviewed. The latest is Vast from Leder Games.
Retweet by August 7th for a chance to win Grimtina’s Guard, a Tunnels & Trolls adventure from MetaArcade.
Steve Jackson Games is giving away a bunch of stuff over the next week, some at Gen Con but much of it via social media.
Bitbox is a game storage system for taking the components for your game — boards, rulebooks, and all those little pieces — and storing them, cutting down on the space required for all those game boxes. A unit fits within an IKEA Kallax cube space, and the video shows fourteen different games (Stone Age, Concept, Reverse Charades, Splendor, Power Grid, Telestrations, Machi Koro, Survive, The Lord of the Rings TCG base set, Ticket to Ride, RoboRally, Codenames, 7 Wonders, and Kingdom Builder were shown) stored in that single Bitbox. $50 gets you a Bitbox and a carry-to-game-night box. If we knew about this thing before it launched, you could have had that for $30.
The Prince Valiant RPG just came on Kickstarter last week. This game, set in the time of King Arthur and designed by Greg Stafford, is a storytelling game designed to be accessible to younger players. If you’ve wanted to tell stories about noble knights, you can get a physical copy of the game book filled with gorgeous full-color artwork from Hal Foster’s comic strip for just $30.
Well, after our last look at Crowdfunding Highlights, I think we’ve covered all the modular-board scenario-based standalone miniature battle games up on Kickstarter and — are you kidding me? There’s The Warriors: Turf War, based on the 1979 movie where a gang is set up for murder and all the gangs in New York City are hunting them down. Included in the base game are several miniatures, including the comical Baseball Furies (just called “Furies” here). Let’s do the rundown from last time: “early bird stretch goals not completely sold out (hurry!), more than three dozen miniatures (46!), second-ever KS from the company, $105 normal price tag. Come out to play.
Jackson Robinson does cards. You’ve got less than 19 hours to get some awesome currency-inspired playing cards. The cards are based on American and Chinese currency. (I’ve got one of his Wasteland decks and they’re really fantastic.) $14 gets you one of these decks, $28 gets you two. Stop reading and go now! There’s just *gasp* 18 hours left now! Go! Go! Go!
Honestly, I can’t wait for the US Presidential election to be over. There are soooo many Kickstarters that are trying to capitalize on Trump or Hillary that we just know aren’t going to fund or, god forbid they actually do fund, won’t be fulfilled any time before the election. Case in point: What the Drumpf, which is Apples to Apples with questions and Trump-like quotes “and the debate leader picks the funniest, most racist or most insane answer”. They want 3500 GBP for this thing.
Last week: People Vs. Politics, the “CAH with uncomfortable political discussion” game — how did it do? Unsuccessful, with just under half of the $4800 goal made.
Posted by Robert C Kalajian Jr as Modern Board Games
Haru Ichiban is a two-player game where gardeners compete to become the Imperial Gardener. It’s been out since 2014 from different publishers, but the new print will be available from Surfin’ Meeple this October for $19.99.
While thematic in look, the game is actually an abstract strategy game (and a 2014 Golden Geek Best Abstract Board Game Nominee in that category) where players are trying to create patterns of their blossoms to score points on a 5×5 board.
Would you like to be the primary person responsible for the Monopoly brand or help preserve games for museum archives or develop the digital version of a popular card game?
At Hasbro, the numerous open jobs include Senior Director of Global Marketing (“define and drive the global strategy for Family Gaming”), Design Manager (supervise technical design development efforts for a games category product line), and Product Designer (for “Phygital Games” combining physical and digital products). Subsidiary, Wizards of the Coast, is looking for, among others, a Director of Competitive Gaming and eSports for Magic: The Gathering, a Game Designer fluent in Japanese for Duel Masters, and a Principal Product Designer to oversee MtG R&D efforts and “develop strategic direction for block environments.”
Mattel has three Senior Designer positions open in the Boys Toy Box team for people with “a passion for action figures and/or game design.” Also positions for a Sr. Manager Digital Marketing and a Digital Producer.
ThinkFun is looking for a Product Manager and a Senior Product Manager to help organize the company’s projects, keep them moving forward, and manage quality.
Among the people that The Strong (National Museum of Play) is looking for are a Director of Conservation (to preserve games and toys in its collections), a Project Cataloger (to digitize and inventory games and puzzles), and a Teaching Host (to work with visiting school groups).
Ceaco (A.K.A. Gamewright) needs a Sales & Marketing Coordinator to assist with accounts, prepare marketing materials, and analyze sales data.
White Wizard Games (Star Realms) has an opening for a Digital Deckbuilder, that is, someone with experience in server-side apps and “a passion for card games.”
Thames & Kosmos needs a Purchasing & Planning Coordinator for analyzing sales data, managing inventories, and working with suppliers.
Toobeez (U.S. distributor of Funskool games from India) seeks a Junior Sales and Marketing Executive to help with social media, email marketing, and specialty retailer support.
Toyjobs is a specialty recruiter for the toy industry.
Accessory retailer, Top Shelf Gamer, is going to give away $100 of goods when its Facebook page reaches 500 likes.
On the occasion of hitting 2,000 likes, EverythingBoardGames.com is doing a Mega Colossal Giveaway—nine different games, dice, posters, and dice towers.
To clear out some of its older titles, Avalanche Press is offering ten of them at major discounts, some in excess of 50%. The Gold Club member discount of 20% can be had in addition.
Paizo’s web store, also hoping to clear out some old products from the company’s warehouse, has opened up a new Golem Clearance section, and it really does have some old stuff. I see there’s even a bunch of TSR books in there.
Spartan Games is running a miniatures painting contest with Halo game prizes in a variety of categories.
Deposits with Geek Chic by August 31st qualify for a free game accessory held snug with the company’s new silicone bands.
Dog Might Games’ Dog Days of Summer Sale means 25% off everything, except Dragon Sheaths. On the other hand, the company is giving away three Dragon Sheaths, each filled with a set of metal dice from Easy Roller Dice.
There’s a Humble Book Bundle featuring puzzles, mazes, and games.
Flying Pig Games is selling Night of Man direct for 30% off.
Posted by Robert C Kalajian Jr as Modern Board Games
Since we’re talking about Target exclusive games, let’s not forget about the exclusive King of Tokyo edition coming to Target on July 31st.
This edition replaces Gigazaur with Baby Gigazaur. As you can see, it’s extremely cute.
Other than a monster swap, this is the same King of Tokyo 2016 that we’ve previously posted about.
MSRP will be the same.
Pressman Games is releasing The Oregon Trail Card Game as a Target exclusive next week, but like Codenames Deep Undercover, Ticket to Ride First Journey, and Machi Koro: Bright Lights, Big City, the game has been showing up on shelves in some stores. The Oregon Trail, based on the video game, contains a laminated card where you can list the names of the members of your party and a card where you can transfer them to the tombstones when they invariably die on the journey. Fix a broken wagon wheel, obtain 200 pounds of rabbit meat, and try to ford a river by discarding sorely-needed supply cards or hope you roll well on a die or everyone in the party will DIE.
Codenames Deep Undercover is described as an “Adults-only” version of Codenames, geared towards the Cards Against Humanity crowd (with agent names like “Motorboat”, “Keg”, and “Commando”). Ticket to Ride First Journey appears to be a kids-friendly version of the popular rummy variant.
According to images posted on imgur, Codenames Deep Undercover retails for $19.99 and the new Machi Koro retails for $29.99.
Image from reddit user dwboso. Full gallery of The Oregon Trail images can be found on imgur.
Knight Moves board game cafe of Brookline, Massachusetts opened a second location in Sommerville, serving coffee, tea, Nutella shakes, paninis, and cheese plates.
Newly opened in Barrie, Ontario, Perplexcity serves as board game cafe and host to four different escape rooms.
Board Game Republic is a new game cafe and bar in Denver.
Laura Briggs and husband are raising money on Kickstarter to open Jack Straws as Belfast’s first board game cafe.