Catan Dice Game Standard Edition now shipping; in stores April 21.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Catan Dice Game Standard Edition now shipping; in stores April 21.

(Plant City, FL) – Mayfair Games’ newest release, The Catan Dice Game Standard Edition (MFG3108), is off the dock and on its way to retailers and distributors.  The game, designed by Klaus Teuber, is expected to hit store shelves on Thursday, April 21, 2011 and will have an MSPR of $15.00.

The game comes with six (6) high-quality plastic dice, a set of rules detailing how to play two different scenarios for the game, and a pad of two-sided, full-color score sheets (with score tracks for the two different scenarios).

Mayfair Games, founded in 1981, is an independent publisher of high quality games designed for gamers and family play.

For additional information regarding Mayfair Games or this title please contact Bill Fogarty at:
813.707.6659    Phone
813.707.8791    fax
billf@mayfairgames.com

Bill Fogarty
Director of Marketing
Mayfair Games
P.O. Box 3815
Plant City, FL 33563
813.707.6659  phone
813.707.8791  fax
billf@mayfairgames.com

Interview – Meet the guys from Albe Pavo

Interview – Meet the guys from Albe Pavo

Another interview for your enjoyment. This time we talk to Matteo Santus and Jocularis from Albe Pavo, another fresh faced company from Italia!

Their key release in 2010 was Munera: Familia Gladitoria which is a simulation of the world of Roman gladiators and their first expansion about to be released is MUNERA: Ars Dimicandi

My review is here – http://bdg.ms/ae69

Hello Matteo and Jocularis,

Congratulations on the publication of Munera Gladiatoria and your first expansion – MUNERA: Ars Dimicandi

MS: Thank you very much Mark!
J: Hi Mark!

Can we start by having you tell us about the Munera Gladiatoria. What is the basic premise? Can you describe the general game play and objectives? Is it a family game or more for the hobby gamer?

MS: I’ve always loved history and I’ve always founded the gladiators’ world really interesting, so I’ve studied them and decided to make a managerial game, because there were none existing! We wanted to do a solid game that could be played by anyone (even the youngest) to learn something about the real history of gladiator and having fun doing this! We designed a game in which each player takes the role of a lanista, an ancient world entrepreneur who decided to invest his wealth in building a gladiator’s gymnasium to train the greatest champions of the arena, conquering eternal glory!

J: It is for sure a game for hobby gamers, not a family game. It is focused on a great historic research, and for this reason I think it could be a good game to have a new point of view from learning history, and a really enjoyable one!

Can you tell us the story about how and when the idea for the game came to you and the process you have went through to publish the game?

MS: The first idea came to me when I was studying the history and I thought it would be great to have such a game! Published games on the same topic had terrible historic flaws, so we decided to do it by ourself giving birth to ALBE PAVO! It was very difficult at the beginning, because we had no idea about how to do it, and the game passed continuous reviews because at the beginning we were designing but not taking a look at the production, but the very need of good production improved our game, pushing us to think it through again and again and to improve it in a more essential way.
J: the first ideas sometimes are good, anyway only with a lot of playtesting the game can be ready for publishing. It is like a good novel, some idea could be strong but only through  proofreading it could be a brought to a good point of equilibrium.

Your new expansion, MUNERA: Ars Dimicandi, changes things somewhat.  Tell us what players can expect.


MS: I think that Ars Dimicandi it’s a great improvement to Familia Gladiatoria. It changes the way in which the duels are resolved, it gives to the players a new Pugna (battle) deck and reviews the managerial aspects of the game. I think it is very fun and very tactical! Not just for the new way to manage duels, but also for the managerial choices it gives to the Players.

J: Simple change: cards are used instead of dice. This is one of the core parts of the expansion, but I think this can add a great level of depth to the game

What kind of research did you have to do for these games? How historically accurate are they and what is the balance you had to achieve to be faithful to the historical events and making a fun, playable game?

MS: I studied a lot of the history. Indeed I thought it is not absolutely difficult for a game to be historically accurate, because history is so full of interesting and logical things and you have just to portray them! You have to study the history, you need to find what existed and you only have to think about its purpose and its reason to simply integrate it into the game mechanics, and the job is done!

What were the main challenges in designing all the Munera series of games?

MS: The main challenge is to create games not completely independent from the others but also playable as a stand-alone. That’s our purpose for future projects on Munera, but it’s not an easy one, I know!
J: for this year we need to concentrate on some different projects but of course we would like to work again on the Munera series. It depends on the customers requests and feedback. We are very close to our community.
Have there been any particular surprises in designing the game?
MS: It surprised me how a game can be improved when you think there is no more chance of improvement. Never cease to playtest, always playtest with different people!
J: well, I was surprised about how many graphic changes a game could have!!! Even the smallest particular detail is important to comprehend a game deeply.  

How did you arrive at your key design decisions and mechanics?

MS: It was a clear path, right from the beginning. The game came out pretty much as it is now when I first designed it. Of course it took a long time to tune it, to make it smarter and easier!

What kind of feedback have you received?

MS: We’ve received two kinds of feedback. Those who said “We really love this game, it is great!” and those who said “The game is really interesting, but I don’t like the dice”. Now, with MUNERA: Ars Dimicandi the expansion could change their opinion… and that’s great for us!!

How long have you been gaming yourself? How did you get started?


MS: I cannot remember where it all started. Maybe with Risiko when i was a little kid.. Then came Hero Quest, then I discovered Battletech, then a whole world opened before my eyes when I started playing games from all over the world. It was great, especially because here in Italy gaming is not so developed as I see it is in many other countries!!!
J: I started with RPG games, but that was only the beginning. When I discovered the incredible variety of boardgames It was a real blast to my mind! I’ve always loved well illustrated games, and on board games this aspect comes to a greater level of complexity!
What type of games do you like to play? Any particular favourites? Any games or game types that you avoid?
MS: I love all games in which theme is strongly connected to mechanics. I love history games, war games and strategic games. But I also love other games. The only important thing is that they have to give me strong feelings and that they need to have funny and smart mechanics! I usually avoid abstract games or games that are too much in a “german-style” where theme is sometimes pasted on a good, but cold mechanic. Talking about titles I love, there are many. i can say for example the wonderful “Twilight Struggle”.
J: I need to play games where theme is the core part of the game, not only the mechanics. This can be done with a good illustration too, but the game mechanics are important: I usually avoid abstract games, but sometimes even the simpliest game can provide great surprises! (I recently bought “Dixit”, genius! )

How did you get into game design?

MS: I’ve always designed games for passion. Since I was very very young. I remember that my first game was about combat between aircraft on squared paper where you had to erase your plane and write it in another square to move.. When ALBE PAVO came to birth, we were already designing games together for many years! 

Do you have a specific design philosophy that you subscribe to?

MS: I would like to design something that players can feel, something with a strong theme that feed your minds and your feelings.
Do you have any particular game designers and/or designs that you admire?
MS: Not one particularly, but I admire good ideas and I love good games!

Tell us about your future plans? Will there be wider distribution of your games in Europe and the USA?

MS: We already have distribution in many countries. RAVEN DISTRIBUTION is our distributor in Italy, SPIRAL GALAXY GAMES in UK, INTRAFIN in Belgium, REBEL in Poland, these are just some companies in Europe, on the other side of the Ocean we work with MINDSPORT DISTRIBUTION in Canada and MAYDAY GAMES in USA, who  furnished us the card sleeves included in every MUNERA: Familia Gladiatoria box. About our future projects, we are planning to release two other games this year: WINTER TALES and SAKE & SAMURAI.. we will mail you soon information about that!!!
Any words of advice for others interested in design/publishing their own games?

MS: Three things to do! One: always keep an eye to production when you design a game! Two: go to fairs and have no fear to talk to any distributor! Three: playtest, playtest, playtest it!!!

J: oh, and forth: playtest it!!!

Tell us where we can meet you this year. Upcoming public demos, conventions? Do you have a website?

MS: Sure, we have a webiste. www.albepavo.com, both in italian and english language! Surely we will be in Lucca fair (around the 1st of November) and maybe our games will be in ESSEN (but I doubt we could be there in person.. Triste Emoticon).

J: thanks for your support Mark!!!


Amy’s Board Game Day Adventure – by my boardgame buddy – Alan Hatcher

Amy’s Board Game Day Adventure – by my boardgame buddy – Alan Hatcher

This is my second piece for Boardgames in Blighty about my gaming experiences with the kids, who continue their adventures into the world of board games. This time we head full throttle into a whole day of board game joy; although I have to say that it was with a great deal of nervousness that Amy, age six and three quarters, and I head to the Pasteboard and Plastic Games Day at the Saltdean Scout hut.

This was also my first time at this mini convention and I had arranged to meet a few of the gaming group there. We settled in quite quickly and first up was Forbidden Island; a great game for the family and gamers alike and we had a great time at it. Amy really gets this game and you can see and hear the excitement as she’s working out what to do and tells everyone where to go to save the sinking Island. When the flood cards come up we just love the tension of watching the Island sink away. This is a favourite in our house and both the kids throw themselves into it.

Next up was Antigua, which is one of the Adlungspiele big games in a tiny box. You each play a pirate ship captain navigating you way around a sea made of cards laid out in a grid. The game utilises a role selection mechanism that allows your ship card to move, explore the cards (if you turn over a card and find an Island you get to take treasure), attack another ship, recruit pirates or swap the roles around. The cards have a threefold purpose, they have a picture of a pirate with a coloured border to the card which donates its role, a number for treasure, and a number of cannon balls to donate its attack value. This is another game that the family and friends like, plays quickly and has loads of interaction; particularly if you do all the pirate voices. We get a lot of mileage out of the Adlungspiele games and they go past largely unnoticed on Boardgameek.com; if you want to drive yourself really mad, in a good way, try Spot but I’ll save that for another review.

The highlight of the day was the raffle because Amy got second choice at the prizes, to a round of applause from the crowd, which made her day. She chose a copy of Dungeon Quest, an old D&D basic role playing game with a huge map board. I never thought I’d find my self running a D&D game for a 6 and 9 year old but we have had great fun with it at home… my poor wife. Amy is very proud of her win and shows everyone her game when they come round.

In the afternoon we played Fresco again. Amy really enjoyed this, the collection of the cubes and the mechanism that determines order by what time you get out of bed. Colourful components and good game play.

Overall a great day and Amy amazed me by her patience and engagement with the games. Everyone was very welcoming and she was the only child at the day so she did great; considering we were there for five hours. I think the lesson for me is that our kids are capable of engaging with good games for long periods if they are the right games played in the right way. Admittedly Amy is very into her games but I think kids are capable of learning quite complex games if they engage with the theme and it can be a great learning experience they aren’t even aware they are having.

Alan

Review – Field Command: Singapore 1942 from Worlds Forge

Review – Field Command: Singapore 1942 from Worlds Forge

Designed by – Khoo Yik Lin

Note – Thanks to the folks at Worlds Forge for providing a review copy of this game

I’ve been really feeling a need to connect with my Grognard roots lately and thankfully I have been able to get my mits on a few very interesting war games recently which I will be reviewing here on Boardgames in Blighty.

To start with, I have been playing war board games since the early 1970’s and have seen many games and publishers through the years. I still even have some classic hex and counter games in my collection from the old guard of the 1st Golden Age of War gaming published by the giants Avalon Hill and Simulation Publications (SPI). I’ve followed many of the developments in war games through the years and am very happy to see that the standard and quality of war games has grown and flourished to the point where there are loads more options to choose from in terms of topic, scale of conflict, etc.

One niche within war games belongs to the Axis & Allies style of games which are mostly about area control and movement, come with miniatures which represent the military force involved and with combat results determined by a roll of the dice with the larger result winning the local battle.

These games have all been set in World War 2 and either been set in global, regional (Europe or the Pacific) or  campaign scales, all of which are pretty grand in scope.

Along comes Field Command: Singapore 1942 from Worlds Forge and another take on the A&A genre. This is a game for 2-3 players (the players taking on the roles of the British and/or Australian allies and the Japanese) aged 10+ which may be a little young without guidance from an experienced player (I’d say maybe 12+ was more appropriate). This being more an operational level campaign in a much smaller geographical area and covering a campaign in the Pacific theatre –  the conquest of Singapore, considered the worst the defeat in British military history.

If you are familiar with other A&A style games, you will have an expectation of the standard of components and this game will more than meet this. This is a high quality production.

The mounted map of Singapore is very nice with the regions clearly marked and in different shades of green. Along with key locations, airfields, and markings for supply locations. As has been my experience with these type of games before, I wish that there was more attention placed on topographic detail as although the map is very clean and functional, I always prefer game maps that show foliage, terrain types, etc. which adds to the theme and feel of the game. There is also a nicely done Combat Board which although looking complicated at first, facilitates all types of combat very well in a straightforward manner.

The miniatures are very well done and are clearly representative of the different forces involved. You get infantry, artillery, armour and aircraft. As with all games in this genre, minis add to the feel and aesthetics but tend to be fiddly to manage. But this is the price you pay for games with minis. There are also a number of well designed cards with various scenario instructions from short battles useful for learning the combat system if these kind of games are new to you, to Campaign cards covering the historical campaign which of course limits you to the strategies originally taken, a campaign that gives you more choice as to how you approach your strategy and a hypothetical “return to Singapore” campaign after the surrender of the Japanese government in 1945.

Gameplay

But first a few words about the rules… The original rules that came with the game were somewhat challenging, even if you were familiar with this type of game and I am very pleased to note that after much feedback, Worlds Forge has published an updated and significantly revamped rulebook which is relatively easy to use. It is also really helpful for those new to this type of game in that it takes you through a programmed learning process where you learn the combat processes and then move onto the full game proper. The structure is such that experienced players can easily skip ahead and get into the campaign without having to spend too much time. The basic rules are clearly marked and there are faq’s etc. as well as visual examples. All in all, the current version of the rules which can be downloaded from the Worlds Forge website (http://www.worldsforge.com/fieldcommand/sg1942_downloads.php) are much better and it didn’t take me too long to get what needed to be done.

Anyway, each turn is as follows –

Refuel Aircraft- aircraft are grounded on airfields for a turn to refuel so you have to think about how many you deploy and when

Deploy aircraft – in support of ground battles to deliver strikes but only once you clear the skies of enemy aircraft

Move units and declare attacks

Declare offensive artillery barrages (or strikes) – these can be quite devastating

Declare defensive artillery barrages

Resolve combat – All done on the combat board where you take the troops from a particular battle and line them up starting with point and support units, with reserves behind. You can also choose to flank or concentrate against your enemy which effects the dice rolled in the battle. Essentially battle results are resolved through rolling dice with the battle going to the side rolling the highest result. What is cool is that different types of units roll different types of dice to reflect their impact on the battlefield. Armoured units me likey!

Passage of time – After all three forces have done through the steps above.

Victory comes through taking objectives within certain indicated time limits.

Certainly, once you get used to the process, things move along pretty well but it will take a couple of turns to get into the flow of things. The rules are logical and easily understood in the new edition and it all hangs together pretty well. If this level is not as in depth as you’d like, you can add rules for supply logistics and best of all, Worlds Forge has published an expansion pack of event cards all based on historical events and this further enriches the game and brings more uncertainty and fog of war into the proceedings.

Did it work for me?

The historical game has its limitations to be honest as the Japanese land in the Northwest and all allied troops head in that direction to try and stop them. Its not a walk-over for the Japanese by any means. To be honest, if it was too one-sided then it wouldn’t be fun. The thing that is most impressive about the game is that it is a labour of love. Lots of effort has been put into telling the story of this great military disaster. I had no idea that the Brits and Aussies had such a falling out and the rules do not allow either army to be in the same spaces together which means you really need to be careful about unit placement and leaving space for retreats (called suppression in the game).I look forward to playing the scenario giving more options of deployment for both forces along with the event cards. I suspect that that will be the best and most fun way to play.

Yeah there will always be arguments about how historically correct certain design decisions are in any war game. This is NOT a doctoral dissertation and is NOT meant to be the ultimate simulation. My personal preference is to have games that give me a sense and feel of the main issues, objectives and challenges faced by the commanders and gives me a chance to see what I would do in hindsight without my head exploding or taking days to play. I’m just not interested in the minute details nor do I have the time or inclination. And most of all I want to have fun! Field Command: Singapore 1942 scores on each of these.

All in all, this is a good, playable and fun game (with the new rules of course) and worthy of purchase and definitely more fun than other A&A style games that I have played. This game should be of particular interest to UK, Australian and Japanese based gamers and I urge local distributors to pick this one up and make it available more widely, particularly in those markets.

I am excited to have heard that the next game planned by Worlds Forge is the Battle of Iwo Jima. I hope that the lessons learned about writing good, clear, well structured and concise rules will help them produce a great game.

Boardgames in Blighty rating – 7 out of 10

 

Family friendly?

Its not really meant to be a family game.

 

For more information about Worlds Forge Games go to – http://www.worldsforge.com/worldsforge/threshold.php