Insider Review #38 – Eliane Rigby of Board Game Innovation

Insider Review is a podcast from Today in Board Games. Each episode looks behind the scenes into the board gaming industry as we interview a special guest. The podcast contains success stories and tips from publishers, designers, and many others as well as information on current games and projects.

In today’s episode I interview Eliane Rigby of Board Game Innovation – makers of fantastic acrylic overlays for popular games such as Eclipse and Through the Ages.

We would love your feedback on this episode! Please leave a comment here or visit us in ITunes and give us a rating and review!

Issue # 253 – Giveaway continues! Imperial Harvest

 

The Best in Board Games – In 5 Minutes or Less!
Feb 27, 2015 – Issue #253

Star Wars: Imperial Assault Giveaway!

We are re-launching the Today in Board Games newsletter this week with a great new giveaway! This week you can win a copy of Star Wars: Imperial Assault from Fantasy Flight Games! You can enter now on the contest page. The contest is open through 11:59 MST on Tuesday evening, March 3, 2015. You can come back each day and gain additional entries.

News & Announcements

Industry happenings & publisher updates

HOT DEALS

Giveaways, specials, and freebies

In the Game

Interviews, strategies, opinions,
reviews, previews, walkthroughs, and more…
Today In Board Games Is:Roger Hicks (Editor)
Charlie Ecenbarger (Contributor)
Michelle Mazala (Contributor)
Chris Meeusen (Contributor)
Diana Echevarria (Contributor)
Jessica King (Editor)

Imperial Harvest

Project image
Imperial Harvest is a 2-player pocket game and the premiere release from Broomstick Monkey games. In Imperial Harvest each player takes control of a team of three champions to raid (or protect) the Imperial strawberry patch. Players must synergize the moves and special abilities of their characters as they move about the map plucking strawberries and avoiding the dreaded hydras which inhabit the moats. The game moves quickly (~20 min playtime) while giving a great depth of strategic decision.
I got the chance to demo Imperial Harvest at BGG.Con 2014 and can fully recommend this game. The theme and playtime are lighthearted but the game provides many tactical decisions drawing in both casual and serious gamers alike. You can get your copy on Kickstarter now for as little as $15.
KICKSTARTER CORNER

Gondola

BOARD BUSINESS

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By |February 27th, 2015|Issue|0 Comments

Issue #252 – Star Wars: Imperial Assault Giveaway!

 

The Best in Board Games – In 5 Minutes or Less!
Feb 25, 2015 – Issue #252
Welcome to the re-launched Today in Board Games newsletter! Over the past month we’ve been hard at work developing new code that allows us to scour the internet for the best gaming articles and deliver them to your inbox. We are excited to roll out some of the new features and tools we’ve been developing over the course of the next few months to enhance your gaming experiences! – Roger

Star Wars: Imperial Assault Giveaway!

We are re-launching the Today in Board Games newsletter this week with a great new giveaway! This week you can win a copy of Star Wars: Imperial Assault from Fantasy Flight Games! You can enter now on the contest page. The contest is open through 11:59 MST on Tuesday evening, March 3, 2015. You can come back each day and gain additional entries.

News & Announcements

Industry happenings & publisher updates

HOT DEALS

Giveaways, specials, and freebies

In the Game

Interviews, strategies, opinions,
reviews, previews, walkthroughs, and more…

Titans of Empyrean

Project image
Take to the skies as fierce monsters of legend battle each other for supremacy. Titans of Empyrean from Nine Kingdoms (makers of ApocalypZe) is a tactical combat game where every decision counts! Each player takes control of a team of mythical winged beasts (Dragons, Pegasi, Manticores, or Griffins) as they battle it out against their opponent in a last-man-standing combat. Employ your advanced maneuver cards to outperform your foe and claim victory, but be careful – cards double as health – run out and your champions will fall to their doom.
I personally got the chance to demo Titans of Empyrean at Unpub 5 earlier this month and I wholeheartedly endorse this game. The combination of card management and board position made for a ton of interesting, strategic choices. You can back the game now on Kickstarter for just $39.
KICKSTARTER CORNER

Don’t Turn Your Back

Evil Hat Productions
Project image
See it now on Kickstarter

Designer Wisdom

Curated By Cardboard Edison

 

“The only way to make a game is to make a game. Then be horrified that it is awful. Then fix it. And repeat. The trick is to not give up, to explore false paths, to find dead ends – and then keep doing it.” – Rob Daviau
“Test as early as you can and learn how to ruin your game from the start. Test your game as you are forming the idea. Use a lot of thought experiments.” – Chris Renshall
“For early prototypes, use what’s on hand. Borrow art from the web, if you want art. Don’t spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel.” – Brett Myers

“It’s okay to not put a mediocre thing on Kickstarter just because you’ve spent a lot of time on it.” – Jamey Stegmaier

“Try the simple stuff first. Add complexity only when needed.” – Ed Marriott

“Absolutely love your design. Ask people to point out its flaws.” – Chip Beauvais

“Playtesting is the lifeblood of game design. It’s not just a way to make sure your game works, it’s a way to reveal questions that you can answer, even after you think the game is totally done.” – Dave Chalker
“The most important aspect of designing small, light games, is to make sure they have plenty of hard decisions to make in them.” –Nevermore Games
“Finish your designs. It’s fun to keep starting new projects, but only finished games are the best they can be.” – Andrew Federspiel

“Your job as a designer is not to please everyone. You can’t be everyone’s favorite game. Make a killer game for someone and you.” – Grant Rodiek “Get your ideas on the table. Do it every chance you get. Make new chances and test it then too.” – Kevin G. Nunn

BOARD BUSINESS

Articles for designers, publishers, and other industry professionals
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Today In Board Games Is:Roger Hicks (Editor)
Charlie Ecenbarger (Contributor)
Michelle Mazala (Contributor)
Chris Meeusen (Contributor)
Diana Echevarria (Contributor)
Jessica King (Editor)
By |February 24th, 2015|Issue|0 Comments

Interview with Ivan Turner designer of Titans of Empyrean

titanslogo

Today’s interview is with Ivan Turner designer of Titans of Empyrean now on Kickstarter!

Give us an overview of your game and how it’s played.

Titans of Empyrean is played on a hex board, but is very much driven by what we call maneuver cards.  You control 4 titans (dragon, manticore, pegasus, griffon).  Each titan is unique and has unique abilities.  You also have a deck of 28 maneuver cards, which you will deal out to your titans, leaving over some for a reserve stack.  Throughout the course of a turn, each titan can move, attack, play a maneuver, and/or place a card from the reserve stack under its own stack of cards (replenish).  Each titan can perform these actions in any order so there’s a high level of decision making throughout the course of the game.  The object is to simply eliminate your opponent’s titans.

 What innovative mechanic or creative idea distinguishes your game from others?

The game is actually chocked full of innovative mechanics.  Just being able to choose the order in which your titan takes its actions expands the decision tree exponentially.  The thing that really separates it from other games, though, is the maneuver stacks.  In a card game, the player has his or her own cards.  In Titans, the cards go to the titans instead of the player.  A card on Drake’s stack is no help to Barnabas.  In addition, the maneuver cards double as the creature’s life.  When a titan is attacked, damage tokens are placed onto it.  Each titan can hold a certain amount of damage and still function, but it must burn or discard maneuvers in order to get rid of the excess.  This brings in a real resource management side to the game.

Tell us about the spark or inspiration for this game.

I literally woke up one day and thought, “I want to make a game about giant flying monsters fighting each other”.

Let’s talk about the design process. Tell us a bit about the iterations the game has gone through and the refinements you’ve made along the way.

Initially, I wanted Titans to be a straight card game.  I worked out a system where you would place your cards in formation on the table and attack, etc…  That didn’t even get to the prototype stage.  I quickly realized that the best way to include a tactical side was to run it on a game board.  In early iterations, the game ran very much like a standard card game.  You drew a hand of cards and you played your maneuvers from your hand with whichever titans you wanted.  Each action had its own phase.  It was okay, but not terribly unique.  From there, I moved into giving stacks of cards to each titan.  Initially, players still drew a hand from the reserve stack and had many options for playing cards.  Only when I was testing with a wargamer friend of mine did we hit upon what was really holding the game back.  The phases.  Being forced to move before attacking or attack before moving really restricted how you could play your maneuvers.  We debated on which should go first, but couldn’t come up with a solution.  In reading over the maneuver cards, I recognized that there was no right answer.  Some cards worked better one way while others worked better the other way.  So I eliminated the phases and let each titan do its own thing in any order it wanted.  Each titan was given a unique initiative value so that I could mitigate the advantage a player might have by going first or last.  Ultimately, the game took real shape.  By the time we were testing it at Gencon 2014, the only changes that needed to be made were on the cards themselves.

What has been your biggest challenge in designing this game?

Randomness.  There are no dice in Titans of Empyrean.  Each titan has a strength characteristic and that’s how much damage it does every time it attacks.  It was my original intent that all randomness be eliminated from the game.  Even the card stacks were meant to be pre-arranged by the players.  One of my partners, Chris, was very against that.  He felt it required too much setup and he, personally, couldn’t get into the game without that small spark of randomness.  Ultimately, he suggested that we just shuffle up the maneuvers and deal them out to the titans.  I have to say he was 100% right.  Not only does it make for a more tactical game, forcing players to react to events, but it makes each game different, increasing replayability exponentially.  The best part about it is that that tiny bit of randomness doesn’t detract from the strategic impact of the player.  In all the games I’ve played and watched, I can only recall 2 instances where I could say that the arrangement of the cards was a key factor in the outcome of the game.

titans ksLet’s shift gears and talk about you. How did you get into game design?

When I was 12, my parents would not buy me a Gauntlet arcade game (the nerve!), so I set my sights on recreating that experience with miniatures.  30 years later, that game is still being developed.  A friend of mine and I were working on it and started playing it at conventions a few years ago.  One day, we decided to switch gears and work on a card game.  That was ApocalypZe, which was the first game 9 Kingdoms published.

What is your greatest moment as a game designer?

I like to design mechanics around a theme, and my mechanics are generally just slightly out of phase.  I do that to keep a game interesting and fresh.  There is nothing that gives me more pleasure and more satisfaction than when a player “gets it”.  When that light bulb goes off over a player’s head and he or she really understands and appreciates what the game is about, it makes the whole process worth it.

Tell us a little bit about your life outside of game design and gaming: family? work? other interests?

There’s a life outside of game design?  I’m 43 years old and I’m married with 2 children.  You’d think with a 10 year old and a 7 year old I’d start thinking about kids’ games.  My full time job is as a teacher.  I teach in a NYC public high school, primarily computer science.  It’s actually a really great job.  I love it almost as much as I love game design.  Oddly enough, I’ve lost a lot of my interests over the years.  I used to own a comic and game store.  During that period in my life, I was able to get into everything and had the time to pursue it because it was “work”.  Now, aside from my family, I like to focus one or two games, poker with my friends, and the Walking Dead.

Do you have any works-in-progress or game ideas you would like to share?

Our next project is a party game.  My partners and I have been wanting to do one because they’re light and fun.  We came up with something called Keep Calm, where one player presents a situation and the other players have to Keep Calm and respond to the situation.  The cards range from the mundane to the absolutely ridiculous and, in play tests, it has met with laughter and general merriment.

What games have you been playing lately? What have you liked, what have you disliked, and why?

I recently stopped playing Star Trek Attack Wing.  Part of the reason I stopped was because of time, but there were other factors.  I chose it over Star Wars X-Wing because, at the time, Star Trek provided a lot more options for customizing your ships and strategies.  I love options.  Unfortunately, I feel that the game grew too large too fast and the gameplay suffered for it.  They weren’t careful about how it expanded and there are too many elements that are useless and too many others that are all powerful.

Share your favorite game you haven’t designed and why?

I think my favorite game of all time is the Star Wars CCG that was put out by Decipher in the 1990s.  That game was so brilliantly designed and executed.  It held my attention for about 3 or 4 years (which is a lifetime for someone with my attention span) before they began changing the mechanics and adding new types of cards.

A word of advice to your fellow game designers?

There’s so much about the process that you have to learn for yourself.  There’s plenty of material that you can read online about best practices and such, and it’s all helpful, but you won’t really understand what you’re reading until you’ve experienced it for yourself.

Royalty_PrintSize smallAnyone you’d like to give a shout out to? (playtesters, design mentors, your friendly local game store, etc.)

We have had so much support over the years that I can’t even begin to list all of the names.  The standouts, however, are Jim, Jeff, and Matt of Not Just another Gaming Podcast and Vinny and Avi of Double Exposure (they run the Morristown, NJ conventions Dreamation, Dexcon, and Metatopia)

Tell us how (and where) we can find you (social networks, BGG username, website, cons you plan to attend).

Our Facebook page is facebook.com/ninekingdoms.  I tweet @igturner and the company tweets @NineKingdoms.  There’s a BGG page for Titans of Empyrean and another for ApocalypZe.  As far as conventions are concerned, we are always at Dreamation and Dexcon and Metatopia in Morristown, NJ.  We always attend Unpub in Baltimore.  We’ll be at PAX East in Boston, Phillycon in Cherry Hill, NJ, and Too Many Games in the Philadelphia area.  And, of course, we’ll be at Gencon 2015.

Don’t Turn Your Back Press Release

30d204599e25321b3d90031adb6834f4_original (1)Evil Hat brings great games to the table, and they’re proud to introduce the latest via their Kickstarter for Don’t Turn Your Back. With a unique combination of deck building and worker placement elements, and a design that creator Eric B. Vogel has called one of his best yet, this board game offers a fresh and exciting gameplay experience. Evil Hat has paired Eric’s amazing design with their Mad City setting — seen in RPG form as Don’t Rest Your Head and fiction as Don’t Read This Book — and combined that with lush, psychedelic, dark, wonderful art from master photomanipulator George Cotronis.
 
In Don’t Turn Your Back, players walk the twisted streets of the Mad City in a board game that fuses worker placement with deck building. Extract dreams in the City Slumbering and use them to buy favors from Nightmares. Procure special services in the Bizarre Bazaar. Score points through skillful play in Mother When’s deadly High School, and the sinister 13th District. Compete for the Wax King’s favor, and the ultimate prize…escape!
 
Kickstarter backers receive electronic access to the game, as well as options including electronic and print versions of Evil Hat’s other Mad City products. Back the project before March 4th to get in on the insanity. Can you outsmart your friends and win the Nightmares’ game? Whatever you do, Don’t Turn Your Back!

Interview with Eric Vogel designer of Don’t turn Your Back

30d204599e25321b3d90031adb6834f4_original (1)Today’s interview is with Eric Vogel designer of Don’t turn Your Back now on Kickstarter!

Give us an overview of your game and how it’s played.

Don’t Turn Your Back is set in the world of Fred Hicks’ RPG Don’t Rest Your Head, about insomniacs whose lack of sleep pushes them into another world called The Mad City, where they are pursued by nightmares.  It’s a bit like Lords of Waterdeep, or my last game Zeppelin Attack, in the sense that it is set in the world of an RPG, but the action takes place at a very different level within that world than the RPG does.  The players are competing for a boon from a powerful nightmare called The Wax King, and must manipulate the complex systems of the Mad City in order to do so.

 What innovative mechanic or creative idea distinguishes your game from others?

Don’t Turn Your Back is an unique integration of deckbuilding and worker placement.  So like all deckbuilding games, you have your own personal deck of cards that you add to and subtract from throughout the game, strategically.  However, instead of just playing those cards in front of you on the table, you have to play them into available slots on the game board, and cards have different effects depending upon what section of the board you play them into.  So each round, the players put one card onto the board: in one region, the card’s text effect activates, in another, the card generates the ability to buy new cards, in one the card gets trashed and contributes to an endgame bonus, and in two they contribute to majority control battles for victory points.

 Tell us about the spark or inspiration for this game.

The game really sprang from a single “ah-ha” moment.  I was thinking about how to really integrate deckbuilding and worker placement, when the idea just popped into my head “the cards ARE the workers!”  Everything distinctive about the game stemmed naturally from that idea: placement restrictions on the cards, different functions for cards in different board areas, etc.

 Let’s talk about the design process. Tell us a bit about the iterations the game has gone through and the refinements you’ve made along the way.

This game went through a lot fewer iterations than my last game Zeppelin Attack did.  I think I made something like 28 different prototypes on Zeppelin Attack.  For Don’t Rest Your Head I think I only made 9.  That’s because about 80% of the game was done almost after the first prototype.  It just game together almost effortlessly.  I usually find that kind of inspiration process is a sign that I am doing my best work.

 What has been your biggest challenge in designing this game?

It was easier than most design processes.  It was hard to come up with much in the way of bonus content for the Kickstarter campaign, because it was a fairly tight game.  There wasn’t a lot of slack between the number of cards the game could have and the number it needed to have.  Fortunately for me Evil Hat was willing to go forward with the game as I envisioned it, without a lot of promo cards or expansions.  I guess that’s the downside of making something you feel is perfect the way it is.

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Let’s shift gears and talk about you. How did you get into game design?

I am a clinical psychologist, and my first game was actually a psychotherapeutic game to teach cognitive therapy skills to children, called Land of Psymon.  It’s not a game any of your readers would want to play.  About the same time I designed that, I started getting back into board gaming, having given it up after High School.  So I became a pretty avid gamer about 12 years ago, and anything I enjoy a lot as an audience member, I eventually want to try my hand at creating.  So for a couple of years I designed lots of really terrible games and inflicted them on my friends, until finally I created a good game – an early version of what was eventually published as Cambria.  I got that game under contract to a publisher who sat on it for 3 years, and never published it.  So at that point I published it myself in a small desktop-printed edition of about 70 copies (this was before Kickstarter was a thing).  I later self-published Hibernia the same way, and Hibernia got me a couple of notable good reviews.  This attention, along with some help from my friends at Endgame got Cambria and Hibernia republished by Sandstorm – at which point I guess I was a “professional” game designer, whatever that means.

What is your greatest moment as a game designer?

There have been several of about equal excitement for me.  Unexpectedly discovering the review of the desktop published edition of Hibernia in Games Magazine was really exciting, and started to make the whole game design thing seem real to me.  Getting a really great review from Bruno Faidutti was really exciting.  I had a bit of a fanboy moment there.  The adaptation of Romans Go Home into an online game was also kind of a milestone for me.

 Tell us a little bit about your life outside of game design and gaming: family? work? other interests?

As I mentioned, I am a clinical psychologist.  I’m a professor in the doctoral program at John F. Kennedy University.  Aside from psychotherapeutic game development, I also focus on qualitative research and cognitive behavioral therapies.  I’m the primary caretaker of a parent with dementia, so that unfortunately dominates my family life these days.  I’m kind of a film buff.  I like arty movies and cult films.  The kind of things that dominated the midnight movie circuit back when there was one.  I studied film as an undergraduate, and worked in film and TV for a couple of years before I went into psychology.  Now I’m using those rusty skills a bit to make Kickstarter videos, which as been fun.  I even composed the music for the last two I did.

 Do you have any works-in-progress or game ideas you would like to share?

The next project I have in the pipeline with Evil Hat Productions is called Kaijuco.  It’s a tableau building card game, in which the players are multinational corporations rebuilding the world after giant monster attack.  It’s a really funny game, with hilarious art by Brian Patterson.  I think we are going to give a sneak preview of it to the backers of Don’t Turn Your Back at some point during the Kickstarter.

 What games have you been playing lately? What have you liked, what have you disliked, and why?

My favorite game so far this year has been Roll For The Galaxy.  I was a big fan of Race For The Galaxy, and I think the new game is just as good while being quite different from the original.  I’ve also been playing a lot of Splendor, and really like it as a filler.  I like elegant simplicity in design.  I just picked up the two new Martin Wallace games, and so I’m hoping to get those to the table soon.  Really liked Five Tribes and Masquerade, which are 2014 games I guess, but I only just got around to them.  I don’t know if I want to get into what I’ve disliked lately.  I already make too many enemies with my big mouth.

 Share your favorite game you haven’t designed and why?

Martin Wallace’s London.  It is easily the most-played game in my main game group, and we keep on finding new little strategic angles, even after all these plays.  Really has a lot of depth, in spite of having fairly simple rules.  I really feel like that was Wallace’s masterpiece.

 A word of advice to your fellow game designers?

Your local game store is one of the most valuable allies you can have.  Build that relationship.

 Anyone you’d like to give a shout out to? (playtesters, design mentors, your friendly local game store, etc.)

All my homies at my FLGS Endgame, who have been integral to the publishing of 5 of my games: Chris, Chris, P.K., Aaron, Matt, and Mike.  The king of French board game designers Bruno Faidutti, who really has been a patron for me.  Shannon Appelcline, who has always been an invaluable design consultant to me.  And my core group of playtesters: Jon, David, Michael, Carmen, Heather, Dan, MacKenzie, Jos, Jasper, Mak, Brad, Andrew, Eric, Hey and several others I can’t think of at this moment because it is late, and I’m getting sleepy.

 Tell us how (and where) we can find you (social networks, BGG username, website, cons you plan to attend).

I always like people to find me, and Vainglorious Games (my design house imprint) on Facebook.  On board game geek, I am “erichv” I’m on twitter, but I am not very active there. My website is vaingloriousgames.net, but I don’t update it very often.  The facebook page is more useful for seeing what I am up to.  My con attendance is a little erratic, because I only like to go when I have a publisher to hang out with.  I went to Gencon last year, because Evil Hat came out en-masse for it, and I had a game at the Asmodee booth as well.  However, I’m not sure if I’ll be there or at Origins this year or not.  I keep hoping to make it to Essen, but so far I haven’t made it.  I’ve been demoing at Big Bad Con in Oakland the last couple of years, because the con has an association with Evil Hat through Sean Nittner.

Stipulations – Is X-Ray Vision Worth It If It Only Works On Your Parents?

Image Credit: Black Light Games

 

A Review of Stipulations
Published by Black Light Games
Designed by Dustin Bluhm, PhD

Plays with 4-8 players
Variable playing time (depends on what the players want)

The game is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/814885430/stipulations-party-game-let-your-negativity-shine

The Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to end on March 4, 2015.

“Your imagination and creativity are the only limits on how you can ruin players’ announced superpowers, lifetime supplies, occupations, and fulfilled dreams. Your friend got a job as a motivational speaker? You can add “with an extreme stutter” or “who lives in a van down by the river.” Another friend has retractable claws? Stipulate them with “you constantly use furniture as a scratching post” or “they only come out when wiping in the bathroom.” Earn points for coming up with the best and funniest stipulations to win the game!”

 
Stipulations Overview

In Stipulations, players provide creative answers to disrupt the prompt, “I think it would be awesome to be/have/achieve X”, where X is a superpower, occupation, lifetime stock of goods, or dream. One player selects a prompt from a card; the rest of the players answer the prompt.

 

Image Credit: Black Light Games

For example, in one of our games we played with the prompt “I think it would be awesome to be able to have an unlimited supply of ice-cream.” The winning disruption, or stipulation, was “But the ice-cream is stored in war-torn Iraq in a region that only has power for 4 hours each day.” In another example, we played with the prompt “I think it would be awesome to be able to communicate with animals.” The winner was the stipulation “And now you are stunned to learn all mammals, reptiles, insects, and birds are constantly plotting to kill you.” Prompts are provided in a deck of 80 cards, each with 4 options. For an additional $6 added to your pledge, you will receive an additional 27 cards with NSFW (Not Safe For Work, or adult-humor) prompts.

 

Image Credit: Black Light Games

 
The player providing the prompt picks the stipulation they liked the best and award the prompt card to the author as a point. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins. The Black Light Games website offers several suggestions for varying the game. For example, in the scenario Closing Arguments, players get to read their stipulations out loud and defend them. Or, in the scenario Bonus Me, the prompt provider also reads a bonus opportunity card to the players before or after they submit their answers, like “Award this card to the player who wrote the most offensive stipulation” or “Award this card to the runner up”.

Image Credit: Black Light Games

 
Components

  • Deck of 80 Stipulations cards
  • Deck of 27 NSFW cards (for a $6 add-on to your pledge)
  • Deck of 24 Bonus opportunity cards
  • 8 small dry-erase boards
  • 8 dry-erase markers
  • 90-second sand timer (only if the $16,000 stretch goal is reached)
  • Game rules

 

Image Credit: Black Light Games

The gaming components are very similar to those of Say Anything. The deck of cards I received was professionally printed, featuring bright colors and an easily readable font. The cost of the components is $25 via the Kickstarter campaign (with free U.S. Shipping and variable international shipping). Additional copies are slightly less expensive. For those simply interested in the cards, a partial print-and-play set is available on the Black Light Games website (http://www.blacklightgames.net/) and the full print-and-play is available for $6 via the Kickstarter campaign.

 
Did I Like This Game?

I always appreciate it when a game offers players the opportunity to be creative and create their own jokes. I think games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity offer a little room for creativity, but not enough since the answers are provided by the designers and available from a limited hand selection. Stipulations is more like Say Anything, the party game by North Star Games where players answer prompts, combined with the intelligent debating style of Larceny, the party game by Waning Gibbous Games where players have to find ways to use random items to overcome random obstacles in a heist. When you give people room to be creative, entertaining and surprising things usually happen.

I also like that Stipulations is really easy to explain. Since the rules are brief – namely that stipulations must be relevant to the prompt and stipulations can’t be reused – the game is supereasy to teach and learn.

Finally, the game seems to adapt pretty well to different groups, including children and adults. If you have an imagination, you can play Stipulations. The obvious downside to the freeform answer format is that players who are not very creative will not enjoy this game, as they will struggle to find good answers. However, there is no correct/incorrect playlength, so the game could end at any point – once around the table, or first to 2 points, or whenever we get sick of playing are all reasonable ways to end the game quickly.

In short, I enjoyed Stipulations and my friends did as well. I would recommend Stipulations to any group of imaginative players looking for a fun and flexible party game.

By |February 17th, 2015|Review|0 Comments

FAITH: THE SCI-FI RPG PRESS RELEASE

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February 13, 2015 – London, UK – FAITH: The Sci-Fi RPG is now available to back on Kickstarter. This game is set in a Universe where two powerful species fight for supremacy while humanity struggles to survive. Players can choose to take part in this cold war, or explore the Universe through the Labyrinth an intricate web of wormholes that connects thousands of start systems.

During the game each player uses a deck of cards. Whenever they are confronted they can choose and play cards from their hand to improve their chances of success. They can be confronted by other characters, or the Game Master, to create dramatic tension.

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Create your character choosing one of the three playable species of the game, and use mutations, biomechatronics and divine powers to tailor your character to your liking. Use the gear cards to equip your character, and combine the to make your gameplay unique and powerful.

More information:

Kickstarter URLhttps://www.kickstarter.com/projects/burninggames/faith-the-sci-fi-rpg/dashboard

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Fujian Trader Press Release

fujian_kickstarterButtonFebruary 11, 2015 – Savannah, GA – Today Thinking Past launched its Kickstarter campaign for Fujian Trader, a gateway strategy boardgame based upon the recently re-discovered Selden Map.

The Selden Map dates from the 17th century and is the oldest Chinese maritime merchant map still in existence. It is a monumental find as it’s existence and revealed trade routes imply that London was influenced more by the East than previously thought, challenging a Eurocentric view of history. Thus, thousands of pounds have been dedicated to the restoration of the Selden Map. Fujian Trader’s co-designer Robert Batchelor, a professor of British History, is credited with finding the map in the archives of Oxford University’s library and bringing it to the attention of geographers, historians and the greater public after it had been lost for nearly 300 years. The Selden Map is currently touring East Asia and is now considered one of Oxford’s greatest treasures.

Inspired by the Selden Map, Fujian Trader has the capacity to inspire tangential learning and enrich players’ lives by presenting history in an interactive way. As Batchelor says, “I want to make the map and its rich history accessible and intriguing to a larger audience. I believe we can do this with Fujian Trader by getting players to learn about the map and experience its’ meaning through play.” By engaging in the mechanics of the game, players develop a sense of curiosity about the real life map and culture that inspired Fujian Trader.

Game Features

  • Theme and mechanics based upon the re-discovered Selden Map depicting 17th century trade in the East China Sea

  • Players take on the role of Ming-era merchant families who need to gain the most influence before the Manchu invade and the subsequent

  • Control ports to produce, trade, and sell the goods of iron, rice, and silk, earning you victory-points and influence

  • Strategize to receive the best exchange rate for your goods

  • Utilize fortune cards, create temporary alliances, and incite rebellions in order to gain more influence and victory-points than your opponents

  • Suitable for 3-5 players, ages 12+

We would greatly appreciate it if you would consider backing our project and spreading the word. Let any history buffs, boardgame enthusiasts, and eager learners know about Fujian Trader!

Support Fujian Trader!

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