Licensing Roundup

CMON is developing a miniatures board game based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire series (that’s the novels, rather than the A Game of Thrones television show). To make that game, CMON is of a fashion borrowing the A Song of Ice & Fire license from Dark Sword Miniatures, which has been producing related minis for some time (in PR terms, they’ve entered a partnership). CMON, though, is working on a complete tabletop game, which the company promises will handle scenarios ranging from small skirmishes to large-scale battles with hundreds of figures.

IDW Games has licensed three early video game titles from Atari: Missile Command, Asteroids, and Centipede. IDW says the line of board games will be “fun, intense and fast-paced.” The first out will be Centipede this fall.

IDW is also publishing a game based on the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie. It’ll be a cooperative adventure game in which players take on different aspects of Colonel Taylor’s personality trying to figure out the history of humanity.

WizKids has renewed its Star Trek license with CBS Consumer products. And with that renewal came several new product announcements. The company is launching two new products for Star Trek: Attack Wing—Card Packs that have just new cards and tokens for existing ships, and Faction Packs that include four ships at reduced cost. WizKids will also be offering unpainted Star Trek minis, an expansion for Star Trek: Frontiers, more Star Trek Tactics ships, and Star Trek characters for HeroClix.

Fragor Games has secured a license from Aardman Animations for a Wallace & Gromit game.

Cubicle 7 is releasing its licenses for the Yggdrasill, Qin, Kuro, and Keltia roleplaying games back to French publisher Le 7eme Cercle. Cubicle 7 said that the extensive work involved in translating the games prevented a reasonable economic return.

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Toy Fair 2013—R&R Games

Toy Fair 2013 Logo

R&R Games LogoDefinitely one of my favorite games of Toy Fair, R&R Games’ Qin is an Asian-themed tile laying game designed by Reiner Knizia. I can’t help but think of it as a multiplayer version of Knizia’s Carcassonne: The Castle, though there is more to it than that. When players lay tiles, they can place their pagodas to claim cities. And whereas it’s not uncommon to have one’s city stolen by an opponent, a city can be protected with a double-pagoda if it’s been expanded to cover five squares. Lost city spaces, of which several are printed on the board, go to the player with the largest contiguous city. Qin ends when either all the tiles are used or when there is no more open space on the board. The winner is the player with the most played pagodas (not the most claimed city spaces.) Qin retails for $40 and includes an advanced-play board on the reverse side.

Another Knizia-designed title being shown by R&R was Spectaculum, a game about competition among traveling circuses. From the design perspective it’s a stock manipulation game, because circuses aren’t assigned to players, rather players buy and sell shares in all four of the circuses throughout the game. As the winner is the one with the greatest net worth at the end, the goal is to buy shares low and sell high. What I found particularly interesting was that moving the value of the circuses was accomplished by placing travel markers on the board, indicative of sending performers to visit various towns and villages. The retail price of Spectaculum is $30.

Now a third game from R&R, Hey Froggy, from a distance looked only like a very simple kids’ game. The game has cards, dice, colorful plastic frogs, and a board made of lily pads placed in a circle (retail price $16). After getting the demo, though, I can see that there’s a bit of strategy and some other interesting mechanics involved. First of all, the goal of the game is not to get the frogs to any particular destination. The goal is actually to play cards from your hand. The more cards you can play simultaneously, the more points you earn—a 1-card play is worth 1 point, a 2-card play 2 points, a 3-card play 4 points, and a 4-card play 7 points. However, you can only play cards that match the frogs that are on top of the stacks on the lily pads. Manipulating which frogs are on top is where the dice-rolling comes in.

For more straightforward fun, R&R had AttrAction. This game involves flicking and sliding magnets across a table. On your turn you slide a magnet across the table and get to keep any other magnets to which it sticks along the way. If however, it sticks to nothing or falls off the edge, you lose it. When the table is cleared of magnets, the player with the most wins.

And then there was Home Stretch, a horse-racing game where players roll dice to move their own horses but can also bet on other horses. And Hanabi, a cooperative card game with a deduction element—cards are held backwards so a player can’t see his own cards. And four more planned for release further out:

Plunder—a pirate-themed deduction game.

Strike a Pose—an activity game, where the players pose in the form of letters.

Guess the Mess—which involves grabbing cards that give clues to a location.

Unnatural Selection—a party game in which the players pile on descriptor cards (e.g., “smelly” or “lonely”) to both their and their opponent’s personality cards (e.g., “dragon” or “little girl”) in order to convince the judge to choose their personality in that round’s situation (e.g., “the first to be thrown overboard”).

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