Episode #41 – Konstantinos Kokkinis (Artipia Games) / Project ELITE

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.

Today’s interview is with Konstantinos Kokkinis of Artipia Games. Artipia has partnered with DrawLab Entertainment to bring you Project ELITE, on Kickstarter now.

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!

Episode #40 – Brad Talton on Millennium Blades

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.

On this episode Brad Talton of Level 99 Games returns to the show to discuss Millennium Blades – Level 99’s latest Kickstarter project.

 

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!

Insider Review #39 – Justin Call / Broomstick Monkey Games

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.

Today’s interview is with Justin Call of Broomstick Monkey Games. Justin talks about Imperial Harvest, which is on Kickstarter now – have a look!

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!

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!

Cult of the New in Board Games

Cult of the New (COTN) in the Board Game world!

Big week on Kickstarter with the recent launch of several high expectation campaigns. The current successful theme seems to be projects continuing to hit specific niches within the board game community.

CROM!!!

Conan: Going on strong over a week into the campaign, already easily surpassing the $1.1 million dollar mark and escaping the gravity of the plateau/lull between opening and closing days that many high funded projects seem hit. Definitely strumming the strings of the nostalgic license market and two million doesn’t seem to be out of the question. More focus/scrutiny has come on the stretch goals with concerns about shipping/additional scenarios but that hasn’t slowed backers.

Tiny Epic Galaxies: Another multi-hundred thousand dollar hit from Gamelyn Games, emphasizing again their Tiny (pocket) empire as their corner of the market. Definitely continuing to strike while the iron is hot especially with end of year 2014 awards give more accolade to Tiny Epic Kingdoms. Not having played the game yet, is over 30 type of one card (planets) now achieved by stretch goal too much, not enough, or just right?

Cheesey puff colored explosions!

Exploding Kittens: The surprise of the week in the online community and not without its detractors or concerned citizens. The Oatmeal has marketed and manipulated its fan base into support this card game to heights that no other card game has been able to reach, however you feel about the game itself. Plus, who doesn’t like being able to put “NSFW” in their Kickstarter?

D&D character sheet in a deck

Epic PvP: Fantasy: It’s a game that takes character creation and melds it with deck building. Definitely going after the RPG market in the tabletop/boardgame world. Not overcomplicating it and adding decks with stretch goals, but I feel spoiled by other games and wish there were more decks being added for the price point. 5th edition what? (**Boston Globe article highlighting D&D’s resurgence due to increasing diversity)

Dice Dice Tower’ed

The Dice Tower 2015 Season 11: Overshadowed by the timing of the launches of the previously mentioned wallet-eaters, it has still managed to hit $160K+ as it nears closing time. Heavily promo based rewards with an arguably too high price point ($60 for one set), but the span of their reach to get as many from so many different games is impressive nevertheless.

Cones of Dun(ce)shire: A funding debacle from the usual sense, hitting at only 14% currently of their supposed paltry $300K goal. While I’m all for satire, I wonder how thought out this (alleged) PR stunt was.

Suppose you make even a semi-reasonable level for backers to buy the game combined with a reachable realistic funding goal. Mayfair and et al got their 15 minutes in the sun from this campaign from the Parks and Rec base and the mainstream media, but could they have managed to milk it for even more with a campaign that was actually designed to succeed?

Even with a limited supply, the thought behind this could be to create “grassroots-like” demand for a product on a show that likely could become revered about like Freaks and Geeks or even Community; one never given enough support by the parent company and critically acclaimed but never achieving mainstream popularity. Analyze the now success of shows like Firefly, Veronica Mars, etc. that now have a swelling resurgence within the next wave of consumers post cancellation. Why not play more to that strength instead and burn like a candle instead of a sparkler only to flame out quickly?

GAMING RELATED :

•With new BoardGameTables now coming to the dance with gaming tables at a price more can afford, how will this affect the perceived stranglehold GeekChic has on that corner of the market? Starting at roughly 1/3 the $price$ has to open some eyes to an alternative one would think…

COTN Question: How do you feel about incorporating board games + technology?

First was the innovation from Kickstarter funded Golem Arcana’s. With subsequent launches of big titles like Alchemists and X-COM (app based?) and their incorporation of apps/tech, which way will this trend go? Is this the evolution of where games are going to take us?

There’s been talk and discussion about why the “golden age of board games” is upon us; highlighted by the fact that people are trying to disconnect from the technology and reconnect in person in a culture that has rampantly diminished or destroyed our attention span (cell phones at stop lights anyone?). I know that some game groups even go as far as banning phones during game times. Your thoughts?

Specter Ops from Plaid Hat Games
-Potential hybrid of Letters from Whitechapel and Fury of Dracula from the recent hit publishers.

XCOM: The Board Game from FFG
-Based off the critically acclaimed video game series, will it be the crossover often desired but too infrequently capitalized upon?

Predictions? What do you think the next COTN games will be around the community? What am I missing?

Next issue I’ll hope to have a meta (re)view at the board game community’s 2014 games of the year selections.

Board Game Media Circus #1

I’m going to be trying out something new with this article, based off of a weekly sports article in my reading bin by Richard Deitsch over at Sports Illustrated who does a sports based media version.

Because like they say: “Who reviews the reviewers?”or something like that I think…

This article is geared towards a loosely mottled collection of topics including review of big trends, noteworthy contributions, news, and just plain interesting quality work from the past week or so in the world of board gaming and its enveloping media coverage. I hope to be able to do this on a somewhat regular basis even though I know that people have an oversaturation of information out there clogging up their feeds, but I hope to be able to highlight the bigger (or smaller and perhaps overlooked) comings and goings of the community and provide some color commentary to go along with it.

As a plus side, I’ll throw a few non-board game related links in at the end to spice it up so we all can feel smarter at the watercooler.

1a. Over at Board Game Geek, the hotness list accurately reflects the chatter than reviewers have been putting out. As of writing this, Plaid Hat Games’ Dead of Winter along with Days of Wonder’s Five Tribes are both in the top seven, and haven’t shown signs of slowing down yet. The impression of the community for the former has been as welcoming as any game of recent promotion or release.

1b. Let’s see how other big name releases, like:

D&D Attack Wing
King of New York
Machi Koro
Sheriff of Nottingham
Castles of a Mad King Ludwig
**insert your suggestion/nomination here fellas and ladies**

…fair in comparison over the course of the next couple months. Like Five Tribes, which may not have received as much fanfare prior to release, it’s always interesting to see what game (i.e. Star Realms, Splenor) relatively unexpectedly captures the community next by storm, regardless the size of the publisher.

1c.The later, Tribes, has some split in opinion, including the maestros over at Shut Up and Sit Down about it’s ability to be more than a…pile of cardboard rainbow emesis strewn about on a table (to paraphrase their thoughts somewhat slightly more eloquently).

1d. Esoteric Order of Gamers: while the name may not portray it’s content or usefulness, the product – concise rules/summary information for tableside use while navigating board games, is quite that. The latest includes the previously mentioned Dead of Winter, as well as the recently resurgent deck building Arctic Scavengers.

2a. The season of the German Grand Slam of Board Gaming, Essen Spiel, is upon us. Spiel, in the town of Essen, Germany, is host to a game fair including previewing, selling, publishers, designers and artists alike. Upwards of 150,000 are expected to wallow in those halls over the 4 day span of October 16-19.

The lucky few among the community are allowing us to live it through their eyes and cardboard hankerings as the rest of us get to salivate over what we’ll likely wait months for instead. The guys over at Board with Life offered up their most anticipated games of the show this year and is worth view if you’re looking for the long story shortened.

2b. If you’re looking for a particular game or are a completionist, check out the list that BGG user W Eric Martin has put together. With 22 pages and 567 items listed so far, it gives you a small glimpse into the enormity it must be if you were there in person to take it all in.

3. One of (my personally) most anticipated games from the early Kickstarter season of 2014, Arcadia Quest, is slowly traversing the pneumatic tube system of life, or postal system as well call it over here. Put out by the folks at Cool Mini Or Not, the Big Guys of Board Gaming (or BGBG as I’ll refer to them) are starting to get it to the table and Rodney (who needs a good nickname) from Watch It Played has his usual high production quality videos up and this one is so large it requires 3 parts to give you all the goodness.

4a. The Lagoon, Land of Druids review by the Tom Vassal of the Dice Tower (another one of the BGBG) is up. And similar to Five Tribes, the consensus is…that there isn’t a consensus. And this is a good thing. Designing your own game is a lot like testing a new idea out.

As noted by the Harvard Business Review:

“The reason testing is so vital is because it minimizes the investment required to eliminate uncertainty. In so doing, you increase the speed of innovation and decrease the cost of failure.”

And isn’t increasing the speed of innovation and minimizing cost of failure exactly what we’re looking to do in the board game world?

4b. The most interesting part, and the part to stimulate the most discussion, is that he doesn’t like it. To put things mildly, without quoting him, he uses the dreaded “H-word”. And as with influential negative reviews comes controversy. As one of the pillars of the community, agree/like it or not, he has a lot of pull for games they review, positively or negatively. That being said, he clearly states that they game itself is well made and does have multiple compliments for it. Check it out for yourself before weighing in with your own opinion.

4c. The negative review aspect of our industry and community is a topic I hope to explore at a later date in a column. If you have any thoughts, feel free to let me know or contact me with them.

5. I ran across these books a developer/designer needs to read, and although it doesn’t hit our usual geographic area of coverage and was done more for the video game medium, I thought the points retain all the same relevancy. I highlight this especially for the game designers among the crowd. It’s a little heavier reading than Jamie Stonemaier’s Kickstarter advise, but the principles behind it are just as important.

6a. In case you’re going through Wh-eaton withdrawal, the latest blog posting from our Tabletop Godfather is sure to cure what ails you. Our celebrity board game enthusiast has put out a partial listing of the games we’re to see played for Tabletop Season 3. The list found here includes Libertalia, Sushi Go, and Tokaido. No word on when we’ll see the life size Rampage game, maybe that should have been one of their funding stretch goals…

Also mum’s the word on what RPG’s we’ll see with the beyond successful Indigogo campaign but here’s the preliminary candidate list.

6b. Then again, for those looking for a quick laugh, there’s always this too. “Fat Wheaton Burger?”, though I wonder what “Wil Wheaton Seduction” smells like. Maybe a whiff of Trek with a smidgeon of Eureka?

7a. Sultaniya, a game on more outside of my radar, is up for review over at the League of Nonsensical (but totally sensible) Gamers. You may not agree with their decisions but their process is top notch.

7b. More mainstream pick-up via the AV Club who has their own round-up of action that went on at the recently departed Gen Con, including their list of must see games.

7c. Glad to see between this article and the Grantland spotlight on Diplomacy, that the outside world is starting to pick up on the slow moving, albeit miniature juggernaut of board gaming.

8. An interesting look at life in East Germany thru the eyes of a board game, where money means nothing and still can’t buy me love.

9. “Why I don’t let my kids beat me in board games” and why you should care. Poignant topic as we try to get the next generation indoctrinated interested in them.

10. Kotaku, of the Gawker dojo, has a post about the most satisfying board game feelings/moments, from the classic Americana games to some of the more recent Eurostyle, that’s worth getting nostalgic over.

11. Live in the New York area and have an overflowing closet of games that you don’t want or need? If this sounds like you, then maybe you could consider donating to help support our troops.

Outside, in the non-board game world but still worth taking a look at:

Let me know what you guys think of this article and what you’d like to see more or less of in the future. I left a lot out that could have been in here. And feel free to submit things that you think belong. I’m looking…

Episode #37 – Seth Hiatt / Mayday Games

Week in Review is a podcast from Today in Board Games. It summarizes the top news stories from the week and digs a little deeper with interviews, reviews, and more. In today’s episode:

I interview Seth Hiatt of Mayday Games. We talk about all of Mayday’s recent projects including Coconuts Duo which is on Kickstarter now.

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!

Episode #36 – Jason Huffman / 1750: Britain vs. France

Week in Review is a podcast from Today in Board Games. It summarizes the top news stories from the week and digs a little deeper with interviews, reviews, and more. In today’s episode:

I interview Jason Huffman of Battle Hardened Games. Jason’s project 1750: Britain vs. France is on Kickstarter now.

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!

Episode #35 – Chris Batarlis / Everything Epic Games

Week in Review is a podcast from Today in Board Games. It summarizes the top news stories from the week and digs a little deeper with interviews, reviews, and more. In today’s episode:

I interview Chris Batarlis of Everything Epic Games about his project Secrets of the Lost Tomb on Kickstarter now!

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!

Episode #34 – Davy Wagnarok / N30N City Rumble

Week in Review is a podcast from Today in Board Games. It summarizes the top news stories from the week and digs a little deeper with interviews, reviews, and more. In today’s episode:

I interview Davy Ragnarok about his game N30N City Rumble on Kickstarter now.

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!