Congratulations to the makers of Ice Cool for winning the Kinderspiel Des Jahres 2017! We love this adorable game and are delighted by its victory. Even our own Wish the Cat loves it very much, as you can see below.
— E.R. Burgess (@bgbabylon) February 19, 2017
This wonderful bit of flicking fun is available now on Amazon. We have had a terrific time with Ice Cool and look forward to additional games in the series that make interesting use of stackable boxes to expand the play area for the game. This “Russian Doll” aspect to the production is interesting in its own right, as it allows for some expansion on the amount of space a board can provide. Box within a box is a novel concept and I look forward to what it might inspire with designers that pitch to the publisher.
A Quick, Lighter Better Flicker?
While mechanically simple, Ice Cool is definitely good for both families and gamers who just like flicking games like Pitchcar or Crokinole. Ice Cool plays quickly, has a cute theme, and isn’t the heavy monster to transport that some might accuse Pitchcar of being…
Ice Cool plays in 20 minutes or so, with 2-4 players but it really shines with three to four. The wobbly penguins in the game (who are ‘too cool for school’ – ouch) remind me of Weebles, a toy that was popular when I was a toddler. The spin you can put on them adds to the game in a way that caroms you might use in Pitchcar, Crokinole or Catacombs just won’t. This little bit of uncertainty adds to the mix and if there’s a great way to control it, I haven’t figured it out. I look forward to trying more and more.
Get Ice Cool just in time for summer on Amazon.
Kickstarter is helping to launch a brilliant new project, DRINKAGON. Fully developed in Rijeka, Croatia, this addictive tabletop game has been thoughtfully designed as a mentally stimulating, strategic drinking game. Available to support NOW on Kickstarter.
The team behind the game is a versatile group called Exevio. They’re a small group of young entrepreneurs and are passionate about making fun and innovative products aiming to enrich everyday lives globally. The creativity and unlimited possibilities of the gaming world intrigues and inspires them.
Four months ago, they set down to brainstorm embryonic ideas for their first physical board game. They identified a lack of diversity in the drinking‐game types and decided on creating a specific game designed to bring something fresh and exciting to the table. Their basic motive was to learn from the experience of planning, creating, producing and hopefully sharing the fruition of their own board game with the masses.
In its testing phase, Drinkagon proved itself over and over again as a game that amplifies user enjoyment with each round and, upon completion, it begs for another dose. Designed to give the players the freedom of constructing each new round with a different arrangement of the playground tiles, it always leads to a different sequence of strategic moves and twists. To enhance the tactical part of the game and add chaos into the mug of logic, the package includes a free mobile app with many different sets of virtual cards that condition the opponents to either perform a challenge, answer a personal question or ‐ skip the revealing and embarrassment by drinking a specific dosage of an optional liquid substance.
Now, Exevio crew have everything ready for mass production. Boxed‐up, after many rounds of test plays, the final version of Drinkagon is ready to be shared with the world. The Kickstarter campaign will last for 24 days to raise the ini␃al $5.000 that would help them with the production and distribution. Hopefully, the campaign is going to end as planned, so the crowdfunding community will be the first to get their very own rustling copy of the Drinkagon box by the end of August 2017.
● PR Australia: Marina Lončarić
● PR UK: Mike Cheng
● PR Croatia: Antonija Zorić
● PR Global: Tamara Dika
Wizards of the Tabletop is a worthwhile addition to the non-game shelves of any passionate tabletop gamer.
Do people still read paper books much? I like to call them “dead-tree books” as sort of a poke at people who collect books like they are secret talismans that somehow makes them more powerful or more prestigious since they keep all that knowledge in their home. Don’t we all have that knowledge on our phones all the time, every day now?
While my attitude about this subject is somewhat informed by the fact that I was an early e-reader who pulled PDFs off the bibliophile’s version of the Dark Web, it also comes from being raised by a voracious reader who never kept books. As soon as my father read something, and he was an Evelyn Wood-trained speed reader who polished off a book and a half a day, he would get them into a bag to be sent off to his friends or the library for donation.
Amusingly enough, the reason my snarky comments stopped is because I started buying dead-tree books on Amazon at ridiculously cheap prices. I think the turning point was when I purchased a copy of Morrissey’s autobiography for eight cents plus shipping; that’s quite a bit less than the cost of the Kindle edition. Suddenly, these dead-tree bits were showing up on my doorstep and I ended up rediscovering the beautiful, tactile experience of reading a physical book rather than simply paging through it on an iPhone. It’s not the first time I found something that seems like going backwards is actually just a new path to happiness. I doubt it’s the last.
Wizards of the Tabletop: This is a review, right?
Yes, I was getting to that. So, when I saw that Douglas Morse, who has already made one of the best board game movies that we have yet to see (The Next Great American Board Game), has a new coffee table book on Kickstarter that included photos of game industry folks, I was intrigued. Certainly, I thought Wizards of the Tabletop: A Game Designer Portrait Book sounded like something that was worth a little space on my largely uncluttered shelves. I’m glad to say that I was able to obtain a preview copy of the book’s photos and accompanying text. In the book, Mr. Morse has captured some terrific photos of various game designers and industry luminaries at conventions or, in some cases, in an environment suited to the kind of games that they produce.
In his travels to put together his original documentary, Mr. Morse had an opportunity to visit many of the conventions that are the gathering places for our hobby, including both public and private conventions. He captured signature shots of great designers like Reiner Knizia, Friedemann Friese, Alan Moon, Steve Jackson, Matt Leacock and so many more. Frankly speaking, it’s just a lot of fun to see these creative, intelligent, and witty folks hamming it up for the camera. But Morse also captured the more reserved among them (that’s the minority, in my experience) in a manner that suits their personality. There’s just so much joy in this shots. And why not – game designers and people in this hobby are incredibly friendly. When you go to tabletop conventions, it is so easy to meet game designers, so simple to try out their new game, and even contribute to its development. Few other hobbies have such a close relationship between creators and enthusiasts.
I should note that Wizards of the Tabletop isn’t all pictures. Morse has interspersed text with the photos that lightly touches on the modern history of gaming, tying it to some key points in the last fifty-ish years that led to the current sustained renaissance in the hobby. To that end, he’s also included photos of a cross section of games that highlight key moments or movements within modern board game design. These complement the designer photos to tell a compelling story about how the hobby has crawled out of the college campuses, geek basements and back rooms of game stores into the charming board game cafes, libraries, and homes of regular folks everywhere.
It’s a wonderful tale that is well-told and one that is dear to my own heart; indeed, it should be for anyone who has a deep love for “These Games of Ours,” as they were often called in the past. I’m glad they aren’t just ours anymore. I love that I can’t contain the size of the board game night I started at work. I’m thrilled that board games are having their day and saving us from endlessly looking at screens. I still delight in seeing a big shelf of quality games at Target or Barnes and Noble. To commemorate how far the hobby has come, I think having this particular talisman in my home makes good sense.
Wizards of the Tabletop is live on Kickstarter and will close in just a few days. You can pony up $20 for the PDF but I can’t imagine not wanting to get the physical copy for another ten bucks. It’s worth a few more trees. Any gamer who enjoys this hobby should delight in the images and story contained in this fine book. While it won’t ship until next June but, in the spirit of the season, it would make a lovely gift to be enjoyed for years to come. After all, a printed out Kickstarter order confirmation email fits nicely into a stocking.
You might also want to read this other Boardgame Babylon article: Movie Review: The Next Great American Board Game
Disclosure: The publisher sent me an early-preview PDF copy of the book for independent review.
Company announces their first card game is color-blind friendly and features new “Ability” mechanic from creator Homar Herrera
Pittsburgh, PA – November 14, 2016 — Sortie — Today U-turn Games announced the launch of Sortie, a new color-blind friendly—card shedding game on Kickstarter.
Sortie is made up of three types of cards to help you evade and take advantage of different situations: Standard number/draw cards in four different colors. Event cards like ‘Zombie Horde’ and ‘The Big Dump’ can change the flow of the game in an instant.
Ability cards like ‘Raptor Attack’ and ‘Mind Control’ will give you the edge over everyone else. With 22 days remaining, backers can still pledge their support and bring this game to reality! Sortie was laid-out and designed over the course of a year (concept, art, play-testing etc.).
“I have a few color-blind friends, and I wanted them to be able to play too. I’ve created a compelling design/solution to make this game color-blind friendly and now I'm ready to put this game into production. I really hope more games consider designing around color deficiency going forward whenever possible,” said Homar Herrera, designer/founder of U-turn Games.
Sortie is 2-7 players, ages 8 and older and takes between 10-15 min to play. The original Sortie deck includes 118 cards, rules and a stylish box for safekeeping. Sortie Vice is for ages 21 and older and is available as an adult-oriented Kickstarter exclusive add-on.
For more information on Sortie:
One member of the award-winning gaming podcast “The Secret Cabal” hosted by Jamie Keagy exclaimed “Everything about this game gets me jumping out of my pants. They’ve got me frothing.”
Popular game reviewer Richard Ham of “Rahdo Runs Through” has featured Feudum on his top 10 most anticipated games list. On Feudum’s kickstarter page (www.oddbirdgames.com/feudum), Ham states in a video, “If I were ever to design a board game, this is the game I would design!”
Vlogger David Waybright of Man Vs Meeple said “It melts my brain in the most glorious way! The artwork and the whole style is so fanciful, lighthearted and fun that it begs people to play it!”
Feudum features the strategic complexities found in games such as Terra Mystica, Brass, Caylus, Dominant Species, Vinhos, The Gallerist, and Madeira but sets itself apart with its meticulously-drawn illustrations, interesting decisions and a fully-functioning economic ecosystem. It is this unique economic mechanic that allows players to facilitate the rotation of goods through different guilds, while competing for status within them.
The new game also includes action programming, area influence and hand management. These nuances are highlighted by Schultz’s artwork for the game.
“Designing a board game is a dream come true,” said Schultz, who is known for his eclectic works ranging from a logo for a tomato farmer to concert posters for Grammy award-winning band Wilco. “It reflects so much of what has inspired me over the years—from 60’s art like Steadman and Crumb to Anime and Saturday morning cartoons.”
The game is for 2-5 players, takes 80 to 180 minutes to play and will include rulebooks in German, French and English. Prospective backers, reviewers and retailers can have a glimpse of the game on its live Kickstarter page at www.oddbirdgames.com/feudum
Editor’s Note: As a kind of content geek, I try new formats. So, here’s a new interviewette for designers. We promise no TL;DR. Let’s see how Matt Austin, designer of Guild Masters (a game that just launched on Kickstarter) does, shall we?
BGB: Attention is money, my friend. What is the elevator pitch for Guild Masters?
Matt Austin: Guild Masters is a fantasy crafting board game where you play a guild leader competing to establish the most prestigious guild. You’ll gather resources to supply your guild, craft powerful items to send heroes on quests, recruit new workers with special abilities, and expand your guild by building new rooms. At the end of the game, the King arrives to judge all the guilds and the player with the highest prestige is the winner.
BGB: Making games is hard work, so you best have a great reason for making this thing. What inspired this game?
Matt Austin: I love fantasy RPG and adventure videogames, so I’ve always wanted to make a board game in that setting. The initial inspiration for Guild Masters actually came from a cute mobile game called Puzzle Forge, where you play as a blacksmith forging weapons for different people in town. I took that idea and ran with the theme, building a board game from that perspective. I love the twist on the genre, having you play as a guild leader overseeing everything instead of the hero going on the quests.
BGB: There are too many games out there. What hole in my game collection does this fill?
Matt Austin: Gamers come in all different flavors, and it can be challenging to find a game that fits everyone’s preferences. My goal with Guild Masters was to design a game that was very accessible and easy to learn, but also one that has tons of depth and replayability for dedicated gamers. Playtesters have been really happy with the result, picking up the game quickly but also wanting to play again and again to master the variety of strategies. I think Guild Masters is a great fit for anyone who wants a rich strategy game that is also tightly designed and full of theme.
BGB: This is Boardgame Babylon, so out with your dirty secrets. What DON’T you want to tell me about this game?
Matt Austin: I can neither confirm nor deny whether I’ve secretly been working on and testing rules for 6 players and for solo play. I would never tell you about that.
BGB: Thanks for telling us a bit about Guild Masters. Let’s wrap up with the key specifics (play time, number of players, and the link to the game) and also, since I think you can tell a lot about a person by understanding their sense of humor, what’s a good joke to close this interviewette?
Guild Masters is a 2-5 player game and plays in 60-90 minutes. You can check out the Kickstarter at bit.ly/guildmasters. And I’ll end with a funny board game joke I heard recently:
What kind of games do witches like? Anything hex-based.
DISCLOSURE: Boardgame Babylon is not liable for damage to your sensibilities from the jokes these game designers submit.
Unique tabletop card and dice game depicts battles between the gods
Charlotte, NC, October 18, 2016 – Excalibre Games, long-time publisher of high quality historical board games, is pleased to announce the launch of their first fantasy card game, Mythic Wars, on the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform.
Mythic Wars is a new tabletop game series designed by Eric Woodward, where up to 8 players can join in a battle between the gods for control of the universe itself. The first title in the series, “Mythic Wars: Clash of the Gods”, features 72 gods and goddesses from among 6 different pantheons, including such legendary figures as Zeus, Osiris, Amaterasu, and Thor, and is recommended for 2-8 players, aged 14 and up.
Plus, as a special bonus during the campaign, Excalibre Games will also be offering the first expansion set in the series, “Mythic Wars: Cthulhu Rises”, which adds 16 new cards based on the writings of HP Lovecraft. When combined with the Clash of the Gods base set, the expansion allows up to 8 players to join in a co-operative battle against such classic horror icons as Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, and Cthulhu himself.
“Mythic Wars will offer players a superb, action-packed, and playable game,” said Robert Mosimann, head of Excalibre Games, “while maintaining Excalibre Games high standards of quality, depth of play, and well-researched authenticity. It’s a new and major change of direction for us which will help bring us into the 21st Century.”
“Mythic Wars: Clash of the Gods” & “Cthulhu Rises” are on Kickstarter now at: https://www.kickstarter.com/
ABOUT EXCALIBRE GAMES
Excalibre Games has been in business since 1975, and has produced a number of award wining games including 2 GAMA Best Games of the Year (Ironclads and Wings), a Games Magazine Top 100 Pick (Trax) and a Fire and Movement 5 Star Game (Kaiserschlacht). The underlying philosophy for Excalibre Games has always been to maintain authenticity in the products they produce, an athenticity that this extends to this, their first foray into fantasy card gaming.
ABOUT ERIC WOODWARD
Eric Woodward is a software and web designer who lives outside Charlotte, NC with his wife and two children. He is an avid gamer and hobby game designer, and Mythic Wars is his first published game.
For more information, contact: Eric Woodward (email@example.com)
“Oh, the board game. I DO remember . . . ” —Chelsea Clinton, second time meeting a member of the American Dynasty team
AUSTIN, October 11, 2016 – After being forced to suspend a promising Kickstarter campaign earlier this year due to the threat of legal action, New Tectonics brings American Dynasty—the unsparingly irreverent board game about American Politics—back to Kickstarter. American Dynasty is a darkly satirical game of player negotiation and politicking at its most dastardly.
Assuming the mantle of either the Roosevelts, Kennedys, Bushes, or Clintons, players campaign their (in)famous family members in 5 key swing states as they vie to build the strongest legacy (through victory points) using every available opportunity to manipulate demographics, get family members elected to congress, pass bills, win the presidency, and completely dominate the nation. Over the course of the game, players may witness everything from Hillary Clinton passing an abortion ban, to the strategic waterboarding of Eleanor Roosevelt.
While many engine-building games see players spend the early game building their own momentum to make big late game plays, American Dynasty has a unique twist: players are all trying to manipulate the same system in their favor, providing abundant opportunities for unholy alliances and surprise upsets. The game features open negotiation of almost any game resource at any time (read: bribery will get you EVERYWHERE), and urges players to consider the political fallout of reneging on a promise, as all deals are non-binding.
American Dynasty is for 3-4 players, ages 35 and up (you’ve got to be eligible for the top position, naturally, though it’s suitable for ages 16+), and takes about 2-3 hours to play. The Kickstarter campaign asks $40 plus shipping for the game, available worldwide.
This is the debut game from Neil Zumwalde, a software engineer from Minnesota living in Austin, TX, and Scott Doughty, an Austin native and graphic designer for the game, and is being released by New Tectonics, Zumwalde’s LLC for his creative outlets. “This game is a classic labor of love project,” says Zumwalde, “it’s strategic but funny, modern but not obnoxious, opinionated but not preachy. It’s the game I want to sit down with my friends and play.” The Kickstarter is intended to cover production costs. All development, marketing, prototyping, and other preliminary costs have come out of Zumwalde’s own pocket.
Media Contact: Micah Mackert
Revealed at Gen Con 2016, this debut title by Incarnate Games is launching on October 20 on Kickstarter with two amazing products!
PUEBLO WEST, CO – October 10, 2016 – Jason M. Allen of Incarnate Games, will be launching a Kickstarter to raise money to publish a Limited Collector’s Edition of Ascended Kings, and the companion graphic novel, Ascended Kings: The Fall of Empyrnea
Ascended Kings has been play tested by over forty game industry and creative professionals. Now in its finished form, the game will launch with all the final artwork and design completed. Gamers looking for a socially engaging and competitive experience will be intrigued by this unique and satisfying game.
During the production of Ascended Kings, the backstory developed to such a detailed level, we developed a 60-page companion graphic novel. The graphic novel is an action packed, gripping read, and a stunningly gorgeous book by some of the best talent in the comic industry.
The Kickstarter campaign will feature the game at $85, and the graphic novel at $25, with a bundle offer for both at $100, and various limited offers to early bird backers, including signed copies of both the game and book. Ascended Kings is in pre-production with the manufacturer, Liya International, and the game comes with a money-back guarantee to all our backers. Prolong Press is ready to print the 60-page hardcover graphic novel when the campaign is completed.
The game was designed by Jason M. Allen with graphic designs by Anthony Benedetto of Humble Beast, miniatures by Andrew Martin of Monster Caesar Studios, and concept/illustrations by Dylan Pierpont from Elder Scrolls Legends and Assassin’s Creed Rogue.
www.LastKingStanding.com redirects to the Kickstarter on October 20.
About the Story: As one of the four Ascended Kings, you sensed this day was inevitable. The High King is dead. Your own immortality dissolves before your eyes as the power of the bloodstone rings fades.
A surrounding army of stone giants march from the oceans intent on laying waste to all Empyrnea. Only one hope remains. A single chance for the four kings to restore power to the bloodstones. The ruling power of Empyrnea’s high city, the Enclave, secretly summons forth the kings. In the immolation chamber high above the city streets below, the Enclave reveals the alarming news—The power of the stones may be returned only by blood… The blood of ascended kings.
About the Game: The thirst for power is never quenched. In the game of Ascended Kings, you have been set with an ultimatum; face each King in combat to the death or let Empyrnea and all you hold dear, fall. You and up to 3 other players take to the arena… prepared to decide the fate of all, on the outcome of a single battle.
The Ascended Kings board game is a high fantasy battle royal game with no player elimination. As walls of fire close in around the combatants, the Kings engage in free for all combat to the death—their sights set on taking the bloodstones from their rival Kings. As Kings fall, players are reborn in the fight as powerful entities known as Revenants. The Omega Stone, fabled to hold ultimate power, will be revealed only to the King or Revenant able to possess all four bloodstones.
Will you face the arena with shear force? Will you negotiate with your rivals to achieve dominance? Will you survive to become the Last King Standing? Discover who among you is strong enough to claim the Omega Stone, in the battle of Ascended Kings!
Number of players: 2-4
Time required: 60 min – 120 min (depending on number of players)
Recommended ages: 14+
About the Graphic Novel: Ascended Kings: The Fall of Empyrnea is a 60-page, fantasy graphic novel based on the arena combat board game centered around the four kings of Empyrnea. The graphic novel follows each king separately, before weaving the four story arcs together in an unforgettable arena combat climax. Each king originates from a completely different land and culture and has dominion over a unique form of energy. Multiple layers of detail and story lore make the graphic novel an extremely rich and engaging experience.
Conceived by Jason M. Allen and Nick Macari, written by Nick Macari and illustrated by Renae De Liz & Ray Dillon (artists from A Game of Thrones and The Legend of Wonder Woman).
Ascended Kings website: http://www.AscendedKings.com/
Incarnate Games website: http://www.IncarnateGames.com