Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.While Dice Masters has been around for quite some time I had never actually played it until recently. My interest in the game increased dramatically when I saw the TMNT and Heroes in a Half Shell boxed sets. Figuring now was the time to get in on the DM action I emailed WizKids to see if they’d send over a set. They were kind enough to shoot me over a Heroes in a Half Shell boxed set and I was off to the races.

Dice Masters feels very much like a Deck Builder, except you’re rolling dice to earn resources to buy new dice, activate cards, and put out combat units. Dice move through various pools as you spend resources, attack the other players, and block incoming attacks. It’s a great game and I’m sorry I didn’t start playing it sooner.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dice Masters: Heroes in a Half Shell boxed set comes with enough dice, cards, boards, and bags for 4 people to play the game. For $35 it’s a great way to get into the game, especially if you’re a TMNT fan. This set, unlike the previous TMNT set that focuses mostly on the new cartoon, has 8 different characters with artwork from the original cartoon. Being a Dice Masters game, this set can be combined with any other Dice Masters sets.

For an in-depth look about how to play the game, check here.

I’ve become an instant fan and am now ready to pull the trigger on the other TMNT boxed set. Maybe even some Marvel or Yu-Gi-Oh boosters…or dice lots on eBay.

I may have a problem.

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Crowdfunding Highlights

Well now, there’s a lot of stuff on Kickstarter this past week. Let’s have a little looksee, shall we?

7th-seaJohn Wick’s 7th Sea Kickstarter campaign launched this morning and it funded within minutes. The Restoration Era roleplaying game returns to the land of Théah, a world that looks an awful lot like our Europe of 1668, but different. It’s The Princess Bride, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Three Musketeers wrapped up into a roleplaying game of derring-do. $20 gets you the PDF of the main game, but $40 gets you PDFs of all stretch goal books plus the first edition books. (Full disclosure: I’m doing layout on the quickstart adventure for the campaign.)

The storyline of the Sentinels of the Multiverse game comes to an end in OblivAeon, and Greater Than Games has returned to Kickstarter with a huge game-ending campaign! You can get a copy of the last expansion for just $39 plus shipping, or you can add on $15 to get all the variant hero cards (with all new artwork ) you didn’t get from earlier Kickstarters, pre-orders, or convention appearances. Or up your pledge again to get shiny foil versions of every hero card! Or even more to get the collectors case to store every single expansion in one mighty mega-box!


IDW Games has launched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past board game and if they send a review copy to us, we’re probably going to fight each other to see who gets to play it first. It’s a story-driven adventure for players to fight their way through some of the comic book’s keystone moments. Stretch goals include hero packs based on April O’Neil, Casey Jones, and splinter; TMNT sculpts based on the original look of the turtles; and mousers! All this for $90 (or $150 for the earlier versions of the turtles).


Jeff Siadek of Gorilla Games has a Kickstarter campaign for Battlestations: Second Edition. This update to the classic game that’s a little bit of a roleplaying game and a little bit of a board game has your crew on a modular space ship taking on one of hundreds of missions — official and fan-made. Zoom out to the star map where your ship encounters other ships, zoom in to what’s going on board your ship — or the enemy ship. It’s a crazy fun ride. Think Star Trek meets Space Hulk. Get the game in PDF format for $20, get a physical game with miniatures and all sorts of goodness for $90.

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tmntKevin Wilson will be designing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles boardgame for IDW Games, based on the comic book series. TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman will be providing artwork for a special limited-edition format of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past. The game will be a scenario-driven campaign style game, similar to Kevin Wilson’s earlier work Descent: Journeys In The Dark. Players take the roles of one of the titular turtles, or Shredder. Expansions are planned based off of IDW’s TMNT micro-series, longer comic book story events, and characters from the IDW comics.

Nate Murray, the project manager for IDW Games, said the game will be available for preorder in October, with the game to debut in early 2016.

TMNTWizKids Games announced their partnership with Nickelodeon to produce several games based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The first two games will be TMNT-branded HeroClix and Dice Masters games, both of which are scheduled for release in 2015. The announcement made at Origins 2015 indicates that additional TMNT games will be coming from WizKids.

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Toy Fair 2014—Wonder Forge

Toy-Fair-2014-logo-150wideWith licenses for Disney, Dr. Suess, Marvel, DC, TMNT, and Star Wars, Wonder Forge had on display 13 new games for 2014.

Dr. Suess Charades ($14, July) takes the well-known game and makes it manageable for 3 year-olds. On one side of each display card are three choices for the one player to act out, and on the other side are six choices from which the other players can guess.

Meant to be played around the house, the Disney Sky Race Action Game ($24) mimics the air race of Disney’s Planes. Display signs representing waypoints in various countries are placed in different rooms. Then the players toss foam airplanes around the established circuit. During the course of the race, flight control cards set special conditions. For example, a wind card requires players to toss their planes with opposite hand. A turbulence card means the players have to toss their planes upside-down.

Jake and the Neverland Pirates Shipwreck Beach Treasure Hunt Game ($24, April) combines matching and action elements and includes components that will probably see just as much use as role-play toys. Looking through the included spyglass, children decode secret clues then run to grab matching treasures using a foam sword.

Another matching game with lots of role-play opportunities is the Doc McStuffins All Better Game ($24, April). It comes with a medical kit bag, spinner, cardboard medical instruments, and slap bracelet bandages.

Included in the Sofia the First Magical Tea Time Game ($25) are tea cup devices, which a player blows on (as if to cool the tea), spinning a piece that determines the color of treat that player is supposed to collect.

In the Disney Princess Palace Pets Pretty as a Picture Game ($13, fall), players try to complete basic puzzles of the princesses’ pets. Certain space on the spinner, though, allow them to switch puzzles with other players.

Pictopia ($24, fall) is a Disney roll-and-move trivia game that covers the whole range of Disney properties, including classic cartoons, modern animation, and even teen pop music. The game also incorporates a wagering element. Players can bet on the answers in order to move their tokens forward.

The Justice League Axis of Villains Strategy Game ($24, May) challenges players to defeat a range of villains before they blow up space mission control. This one is very card and dice driven. A six-sided die determines what type of card a player gets, while an eight-sided die is used for movement.

Marvel Avengers Slide Strike Battle Game ($13, fall) combines a Stratego-like game of hidden pieces with a sliding-block puzzle. Each piece, Marvel superheroes on one side and villains on the other, have different strength ratings for their front, left, and right edges. A die roll indicates how many slides a player may make to move pieces around the board. When a hero and villain come in contact, the winner of the battle is based on the strengths of those characters on the edges that touch. To show that the losing character is out of the game, its disc is removed from the sliding block.

In the Marvel Ultimate Spider-Man Trickshot Duel Action Game ($23, fall) players are supposed to take turns using these doohickeys to shoot plastic discs and try to knock top-like pieces from the opponents team out of a building-like pen. Supposed to take turns, I said.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Foot Clan Street Fight Game ($23, spring) has neat painted mini figures for each of the turtles and a board that varies with each game (the spaces are separate cardboard discs). In terms of play, though, it combines roll-and-move and matching.

Star Wars Spotcha! ($20, fall) is a grabbing game with small plastic pieces derived from the Star Wars universe: a speeder, C3PO’s head, Jabba the Hutt, and others. Someone drops all the pieces on the table and then the players rush to grab the ones that are lying in positions matching the players’ cards.

The Star Wars Rebel Missions Adventure Game is a cooperative, real-time, code-breaking game with an electronic device that acts as a timer and plays a soundtrack. The goal is to match the code and enter it on the device before time runs out. To collect pieces of the code, players visit Imperial installations on sabotage missions, using dice to collect the tools that will give them elements of the code.

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