Monthly Archives: January 2019

PRESS RELEASE: Plan B Games Announces Century: A New World!

Plan B Games invites players to the conclusion of the Century series in Century: A New World! Created by acclaimed designer, Emerson Matsuuchi and illustrated by Chris Quilliams and Atha Kanaani, Century: A New World propels players to the North American continent during the 16th century.  Players serve as merchants seeking fortune in the bountiful American continent. Only the most shrewd merchants will strike out to explore the foreign land, trade with local inhabitants, journal their findings, and hunt and gather to survive.

Century: New World

Existing Century fans will be happy to discover Century: A New World is fully mixable with Spice Road or Eastern Wonders or both! This will provide the biggest Century fans even more ways to immerse themselves in the breathtaking Century universe! 

Century: New World

Century: A New World is expected to debut at Origins 2019 and was designed for 2 – 4 explorers aged 8 and older. While settling in the New World took at least a Century, a game of Century: A New World should only take about 30 – 45 minutes.

Ed. Note: I’m quite fond of the Century series and look forward to the completion of the trilogy. While I think the experience of the combined game might be slightly less appealing than the full game, the designer has done a wonderful job streamlining the games to work together. I’m excited to see the final combo.

PRESS RELEASE: Eggertspiele Announces Era: Medieval Age, a Roll & Build game!

Eggertspiele is excited to announce its next great game, Era: Medieval Age!  Designed by the world famous designer, Matt Leacock (Pandemic series, Roll Through the Ages) and illustrated by Chris Quilliams (Coimbra, Azul), Era: Medieval Age serves as a spiritual successor to Roll Through The Ages.  While Roll Through The Ages was a pioneer for Roll & Write genre, Era will serve as a pioneer for Roll & Build!

Era

In Era, your dice represent different classes of medieval society as players attempt to build the most prosperous city.  The “Build” comes into play as players actually build their cities on their boards – you will use beautifully modeled three-dimensional components, such as walls, keeps, farms, and other structures.  By the end of the game, each player will have designed their own unique city.  Get your cameras out for this one, you’ll definitely be sharing pics with your friends!  However, the most exciting news is that Era: Medieval Age serves as the first in a series of collaborative Roll & Build games between Matt Leacock and Eggertspiele!

Era: Medieval Age was designed for lords and ladies, aged 12 and older.  While building a domain often took several generations, a game of Era typically takes about 45 minutes.  Era is expected to debut at GenCon 2019 and should in retailers shortly after!

PRESS RELEASE: It’s Feline Feeding Time in Kibble Scuffle —Coming Soon!

Hillside, NJ – January 16, 2019 – WizKids is excited to announce that Kibble Scuffle, an adorable romp through feeding time with your mischievous feline friends, is coming soon!

In Kibble Scuffle, it’s time to feed your cats! Players compete to feed their cats the most points in food cubes by the end of the game. They will send cats to Food Bowls by playing cards, and resolve the cats’ abilities as they arrive. When there are at least 5 cats at any bowl after resolving abilities, the Feeding Phase begins. Players are able to feed their cats and collect food cubes, which are worth varying amounts of points. When a player reaches 20 points or more at the end of a Feeding Phase, the game ends and the player who has the most food cubes wins.
 
There are several different kinds of feline friends to feed in Kibble Scuffle—from the generous Mama Cat, who allows another cat at the bowl to feed, to the mischievous Trickster Cat, who exchanges food cubes between bowls. The game even features four adorable Kittens, who draw their fellow kittens to the Food Bowls. Kibble Scuffle’s innovative packaging doesn’t just hold the game—the box also doubles as the game’s Cat Food Box, allowing players to have the most immersive feline feeding experience possible! Kibble Scuffle arrives in game stores soon, so be sure to preorder it at your Friendly Local Game Store or online today!

What’s It All About?

Using the game box as a cat food box to store the food cubes, players take turns placing their cats at bowls and resolving their abilities. For example, the Pounce Cat removes a cat at a bowl. The Greedy Cat eats two food cubes. The Mangy Cat forces another cat to move away from their bowl. Once there are 5 cats at any food bowl, the feeding (scoring) phase begins, followed by a new round.

Kibble Scuffle is a tactical card game of area control to try and get the best food for your feline friends. With cards like the Robo-Vac and Laser Pointer, you can use toys to strategically distract your opponent’s cats.

Once a player reaches 20 points, the player with the most value of food cubes eaten at the end of the feeding phase wins.

Components:

4 x Player Decks of 20 Cards Each
5 x Advanced Cards for Each Deck
55 x Food Cubes
3 x Food Bowl Tiles

MSRP: $19.99
SKU: 73457

SOURCE: WizKids

Investment in Game-Based Learning Sharply Up in 2018: Metaari

LOS ANGELES – Jan. 7, 2019 — Investment in game-based learning companies was sharply up in 2018, according to leading serious games analyst firm Metaari. A total of $2.25 billion went to 133 companies. In contrast, less than half that amount, or $948.2 million, was invested in 150 game-based learning companies in 2017.

While the number of deals declined slightly in 2018, funding levels were much higher and investment more than doubled. Almost 100 companies reported raising substantial funds; 17 PreK-12 academic-facing companies obtained funding in 2018; 21 corporate-focused companies producing game-based training were funded. The most attractive category for investors was educational games or educational technology products for use in K-12.
China is the education technology center of the universe, at least for now, according to Sam Adkins, Metaari.

In 2018, 51 Chinese game-based learning companies garnered a combined total of $539.3 million. Nearly 50% of all ed tech investments made in 2018 went to Chinese companies. “This is the first time in the history of the industry that China overtook the US. A stunning $7.22 billion was invested in 207 Chinese learning technology companies in 2018,” Adkins said. In July, Metaari predicted a 37.1% CAGR growth rate for game-based learning products over the next five years. That growth would mean revenues for games-based learning will more than quadruple to well over $17 billion by 2023.

Metaari produces annual reports on the global game-based learning market. The reports, available from Serious Play Events, include an analysis of the catalysts driving the market as well as both a demand and supply-side analysis, providing publishers with the ability to choose high-yielding opportunities. 

Metaari’s Global 2018-2023 Game-Based Learning Market is available for sale from Serious Play Conference here: www.seriousplayconf.com/reports

Metaari also produces reports on the Mixed Reality Learning Market and the Market for Mobile Educational Games.

Award-Winning Strategy Game Evolution Develops New Traits on Steam, Mobile Feb. 12

KENSINGTON, MD. – Jan. 8, 2019 –Evolution, the strategy game of adaptation from North Star Digital Studios will flourish on PC, Mac, iOS and Android on Feb 12, 2019.

Inspired by the award-winning tabletop gameEvolution retains the elements which made the analog edition so popular with more than 1.6 million players worldwide, but offers a swift pace and features only possible in a modern video game. Meticulously designed so even those who are completely unfamiliar with the original board game can jump in right away, the digital release features a learn-while-you-play tutorial, exciting campaign mode with “Apex Species” to test your wits against, and cross-platform multiplayer that effortlessly matches players with others of similar skill. 

Create new species and adapt them for survival in an ever-changing environment, brought to life with a beautifully hand-painted, watercolor art-style and an earthy, contemplative original soundtrack. Combine different traits rooted in science, such as a long neck or a defensive shell, in limitless combinations to help creatures thrive in the fight for survival over scarce food resources and defense from deadly predators. Develop symbiotic relationships or even evolve carnivorous traits and feast on foes in this addictive turn-based strategy game.

Evolution brings stunning new artwork, animated cards, lush environments, distinct enemy A.I., and more than 24,000 possible species to the virtual table. The campaign presents varied scenarios and smart “Apex Species” requiring careful planning and strategy to survive.

Take the fight for survival online and square off against live opponents around the world in fully cross platform, skill-based matchmaking. Rank up from a field researcher all the way to a Nobel Laureate in the progression system. Test yourself against others in the ongoing seasonal tournaments. Turn-based and simultaneous play options allow for fast and fluid multiplayer games in under ten minutes. 

“The original Evolution tabletop game has developed a fanatical following among players since its release in 2014,” said Scott Rencher, president and co-founder of North Star Digital Studios. “With the Evolution video game, we’ve gone all out to make this not just a great board game adaptation, but a fantastic strategy video game in its own right.” 

Evolution will be available in English on PC and Mac via Steam for $14.99 on February 12, 2019. The game will also be released as free-to-try on iOS and Android with a full version available for $9.99 on the same day. Those who purchase the game in the first week will receive a 20% launch sale discount.

For more news about Evolution and other projects from North Star Digital Studios, follow them on Twitter and Facebook or visit the official website.

About North Star Digital Studios
North Star Digital Studios is a digital board game development house based in Kensington, MD. Founded in 2014 by parent company North Star Games’ Scott Rencher and Dominic Crapuchettes, the company is devoted to adapting North Star board games into digital versions that capture the heart of the originals while taking full advantage of what video games have to offer. Evolution is the studio’s first release.

New Year’s Resolutions and 2018 Snaps

Boardgaming has been in my blood forever and I’ve been in the hobby seriously since the early 80’s, but grew up on card games with the family even as a toddler. This deep into the hobby, exploring it further is part and parcel with staying engaged. All this time in, I’ve lost none of my love for the hobby but 2018 brought about some great things and lousy things, too.

In looking back, I usually like to review my resolutions and plays. I usually set two to three per year but take it easy. They are to direct things, not to be painfully rigid.

1) Play 100 New Games – I’ve done this for more than 10 years and it’s always fun. In the last two years, I’ve hit the number early on (game conventions help) and cruised well above the value while focusing on my other resolution. This will take place again in 2019.

2) Play 300 Different Games – Well, I failed at this one. I will end up topping out at around 240. But I will try again next year because I love a variety of games to play. With my 100 new ones, that means I can go 200 deep into owned games as well. This helps with managing the collection because some of those games get a final tryout and then off to the flea market or trade pile. So, I will attempt this again in 2019.

3) NEW RESOLUTION: Play all 100 of my top games. Late in December, someone started this funny thing of ‘If I could only keep 7 games.’ I don’t know what kind of crazy world that is, but I don’t want any part of it! Someone online asked me how many could I limit myself to…and I said 100. So, I tweeted out my 100 game list. I will play all of them this year to make sure they deserve their spot on the list.

Quick Review of the Overall Play List

Full disclosure: I record electronic plays, regardless of whether my opponents are carbon or silicon based. This is because the experience of the play still exists in my mind so trying to invalidate those plays like they don’t exist is not useful to me. If you told someone you’d never played Race for the Galaxy because you had never played it FTF, but you’d played Keldon’s brilliant app 1,000 times, that’s not an accurate depiction of your experience at all.

Quarters

Ganz Schon Clever – 32 plays (most iOS) – I hit the 300 mark on this meaty roll-and-write, then stopped playing. GSC has an addictive quality and I’ll admit many plays were after I said, “Oh, just one more play.” I narrowly missed acquiring the game over the holiday in a gift exchange so I’m not sure it will ever make the jump off iOS onto my shelf. What a year Wolfgang Warsch had with this game, The Mind, Illusions and The Quacks of Quedlinburg. Glad someone liked 2018!

Spite & Malice – 32 plays (all iOS) – A go-to train game while I am listening to books on tape. I can play this simple game with minimal attention and I haven’t truly tired of it yet. Spite is a perfect two-screen companion, I say.

Cribbage – 27 plays (most iOS) – Cribbage was the game I most played with my Dad and this year, I played it with my son (first time) and on iOS a lot because I lost my Dad in late January. I am writing up a separate note about Cribbage, my dad and me to come out in January.

Almost Dimes and Quarters

Glass Road – 22 plays (most iOS) – I love this Uwe Rosenberg game. In a fast-playing game that lasts 35-45 with experienced players, there is a lot of game. I have the out-of-production app on my old iPad but no longer on my phone so I expect my Glass Road plays will drop. I guess I will drop this number in 2019. That just means it will need to hit the table more often (it’s on my Top 100 Games List).

The Game – 21 plays (all iOS) – Another mindless game that I play on the train with an audiobook. That makes a 25 minute train ride feel like 5 minutes. Probably fewer plays in 2019 because Spite & Malice and Love Letter are more popular with me now.

Unpublished Prototype – 21 plays recorded (probably a lot more) – This tapered off in the latter half of the year due to sheer busy times. I expect it to pop back up in the New Year with some help from my buddy Ta-Te Wu.

Ascension – 18 plays – Another book companion that I can play on the train. The UGLY new update probably killed this one for me, which I’d say was an addiction before. While I deeply dislike what they did to the game’s UI, I’m kind of grateful so I could open up and play more different games.

Dungeons and Dragons – 17 plays – The headline for my 2018 gaming is my return to RPGs after nearly 30 years (last played seriously in 1989). This infringed on the board games a bit, but it made my son and friends very happy – and, thus, me. More on this in a separate post. Now is a great time to get back in, by the way, as Amazon has the $50 main books on sale for $20. It’s like the 80’s again!

The Mind – 15 plays – All in person and probably would have been higher if we’d not misplaced my copy. Will be high in 2019 as well. This game intrigues all of the people to whom I introduce it and I feel like it’ll get more attention in the future. I still agree that Azul deserved that SDJ win, but The Mind is a keeper.

Codenames – 14 plays – This might be higher because I tend to record for a session, but Codenames remains a wonderful pre-gateway party games. And with my homebrew holiday editions hitting (and one especially for my company), we’ll always play some number of Codenames games. My wife also got Codenames Harry Potter for Christmas and that will surely come out soon.

One Deck Dungeon – 14 plays (all iOS) – This is an attractive iOS game, much more enjoyable than playing the game in person, which I found fiddly. But I expect to buy the DLC for this one in 2019 and keep playing it as a pleasant second-screener. This is definitely the case (also with Friday, another high-play game for me) where I think the app experience beats the physical game hands-down – if purely on administration.

Azul – 9 plays – I’m surprised this isn’t higher. Azul is a wonderful old-school euro with gorgeous pieces that I’d always enjoy playing. No surprise it came from a master like Michael Kiesling, who also had one amazing year with the glorious Heaven and Ale. We also have the new version, Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, which is a pleasant variant but won’t replace the original.

Four Against Darkness – 7 plays – Another sign of the return to playing more RPG-style games. I was intrigued by this solo-style game that you play and also draw out as a kind of art project.

Terraforming Mars – 7 plays – Well, it’s just a great game. Yes, the graphics are wonky. Yes, it’s swingy on luck and the variants are too numerous. But is there any more compelling theme? Not for this lover of science fiction and space travel. I even read Red Mars, the book that inspired the game, this year, with plans to hit the other two in the series in 2019 (it’s really hard-SF for those who might consider it).

Simon’s Cat – 7 plays – This simple game caught my attention after buying it on clearance. I didn’t know the charming cat-based web series, but it had a cat and it was cheap. As a pleasant, light trick-taking game, Simon’s Cat is a winner. It helps that Liam, one of the charming sons of my good friend, took a liking to it and he’s made sure Simon’s Cat is on the list for each game day. That’s always a welcome request.

Summing it up

I’ll be honest – I wish I’d played more heavy games this year. I wish I’d played more games head-to-head with my son, who is now away at college during the week. I wish I’d had more time to spend on game design. But 2018 was the hardest year of my life, in terms of loss, profession, and immediate family needs. I’ve forgiven myself for those things I didn’t get done this year and achieving board game goals is the easiest of the lot. As I used to say on the podcast, it’s only a game. That’s one thing I really love about this part of my life.

Yes, board gamers compete and play hard. But considered how much of the rest of my life has stakes that are ridiculously high, this hobby (and my reading) is the place where I can just have fun and spend time with people I like. It’s the way I refuel for the hard stuff. It’s the best method of relaxation and while some might feel the stress of gameplay, this is all good stress for me. Thank goodness for boardgames, I say – and for a New Year in which to work, love, achieve and – definitely – play.

Happy New Year! May your 2019 be grand! – EB