- Organizational resistance to learning that includes game play is fading fast
- The growing availability of easy-to-use development tools
- Exponential innovation in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR, and Mixed Reality (MR)
- An upsurge of new next-generation educational games coming to the market
- The impending rollouts of very fast 5G networks and the Internet of Things (IoT)
LONDON (July 11, 2017) – Today, Sensible Object, a London-based game studio with a mission to create innovative hybrid games for a more connected world, is launching its second Kickstarter campaign for its award-winning augmented reality stacking game, Beasts of Balance.
Beasts of Balance is a game of dexterity, strategy and creation. Players take on the role of Divine Creators, tasked to play solo or with friends to build worlds and reach high scores by stacking magical Artefacts into incredible towers. But this is no standard dexterity game – everything added to the tower interacts with a world that evolves on a wirelessly connected digital device. To succeed, players have to keep their tower and the ecosystem of their world in balance, stacking all 24 pieces and caring for the virtual beasts they create.
Players of all ages have praised Beasts of Balance for its smart use of technology, its beautiful design, and its truly inclusive gameplay. It’s at the cutting edge of a new frontier in gaming – merging the sophistication of video games with the social fun of tabletop.
This year’s campaign introduces a series of expansions to Beasts of Balance, including a new competitive gameplay mode known as ‘BATTLES’ and gorgeous new physical pieces to collect. BATTLES gives players an adrenaline-filled new way to play with the 24 pieces in the core game, adding even more depth, variety and value.
Alex Fleetwood, founder and CEO of Sensible Object, says; “We had an incredible experience with Kickstarter last year. 18 months ago, we were a start-up team with nothing but a prototype. Thanks in large part to the support of the Kickstarter platform and its community, we were able to bring this ambitious, groundbreaking game to life. Having shipped the game on time to an amazing response, we’re ready to take things to the next level. Our players and backers have been hungry for new ways to play and new pieces to collect, and we can’t wait to share our work with them.”
In BATTLES, two to three players each take on the role of a Divine Creator of a single region: Land, Sea or Sky. The aim is to fill your region with powerful beasts while stealing and destroying those of your opponents.
“We are huge fans of cooperative gaming, but our customers have expressed requests for a competitive mode of gameplay, and so BATTLES was brought to life,” added Fleetwood.
The BATTLES expansion pack contains 16 augmented reality BATTLE cards – containing the same NFC technology as the physical game pieces. Each player wields a hand of these cards, enabling them to invoke a whole host of weird and wonderful effects on the digital realm. Some are focused on attack, some will aid in defense, and some will manifest in much more surprising ways! The BATTLES pack also contains a new Legendary Beast ‘Magmaaargh The Cantankerous’ that introduces some wild and hilarious action into the mix.
The More Beasts Pack introduces three brand new, beautifully designed beasts for players to collect: sassy Flamingo, impossibly cute Chameleon and slightly dopey Angler Fish. When played into the game, these new beasts can be crossed and evolved to create over 100 fabulous new digital hybrids.
Beasts of Balance was also featured on a past Boardgame Babylon Podcast – listen here (game had a different name).
In the world of Nevera, where once many diverse magics existed, now there is only necromancy. Nevera is overrun with necromancers and undead, fueled by corruption and ambition, vying for power and domination. With the game of Nevera Wars players become the necromancers and summon various undead minions to battle their opponents, using a vast array of abilities and ascending their minions into even more powerful forms. This is a Kickstarter Campaign to produce the core game, with expansion packs as stretch goals are hit.
Each player constructs a deck of 36 cards, all of which can be played face down as resources or face up as minions. This means there is no possibility of resource screw of flood. Players then tap resources to ascend their minions to more powerful forms and to activate their minions’ abilities. This means that players can have many options even with few or no cards in their hand.
A Pawn’s Perspective- It’s dark, brooding, and hauntingly morbid without being gory or violent… Nevera Wars feels a bit like a cross between [other deck construction games] while keeping the flow and tempo of the game moving along, by streamlining the resource building… Each Minion has a large set of abilities which also saves on having to use separate cards.
Cloak and Meeple- If you like [deck construction games], it does some of the things that they do in an interesting and unique way… this is fantastic, it’s really easy to play right out of the box… the art on this game is also fantastic.
Unfiltered Gamer- We really enjoy the dark artwork as well as the mechanic that makes energy a static form of currency preventing flooding.
Number of Players: 2
Average Play Time: 30-40 mins
Recommended Ages: 13+
The designer Daniel Bishop is available for interviews (here is a link to a presentation he gave on working with freelance artists at the Bay Area Tabletop Developers group as an example of his speaking).
TIGER CRAB STUDIOS
Home Page: www.tigercrabstudios.com
Design: Daniel Bishop
Illustration: Matheus Graef
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.