European Game News – Press release: New blog from White Goblin Games

White Goblin Games starts blogging

 

 

2e Exloërmond, The Netherlands – Dutch publisher of board games and card games White Goblin Games has started blogging. As of today, the brand new blog from the publisher has officially opened on

www.whitegoblingames.com/blog. For now, the blog will only be in English, to focus on the international market where White Goblin Games is rapidly growing at the moment. The main functions of the blog are to share information with the readers, as well as to offer an entertaining read. Currently, the first three blog posts are a fact – including the first part of a series “Designers Passports” – while the goal is to offer new content each and every week.

White Goblin Games

White Goblin Games is an international publisher of board games and card games, based in the Netherlands. The company is well known for co-developing titles like Rattus, Panic Station, Revolver, Lost Temple and Crooks, all being 100% White Goblin Games releases. While the company sold licensing rights to for example Stronghold Games, Z-Man Games, Arclight, Pegasus Spiele and Rexhry, White Goblin Games also publishes games under license in the Netherlands and Belgium (like Forbidden Island, Mondo and Jambo). Under the moniker ‘White Goblin Distribution’ the company also distributes games throughout the world and also operates as a distributor for Cwali, Redakai / Spin Master and Pearl Games in the Benelux.

More information:

www.whitegoblingames.com/blog

www.whitegoblingames.com

www.facebook.com/whitegoblingames

www.twitter.com/white_goblin

Review – Richard III: The War of the Roses from Columbia Games

Review – Richard III: The War of the Roses from Columbia Games

Designers – Tom Dalgliesh and Jerry Taylor

Art – Tom Dalgleish, Mark Mahaffey and Leona Preston

Thanks to Columbia Games for kindly providing a review copy of this game

I’ve been clearing the decks and making time for war gaming lately and I have to say that Columbia Games has moved firmly onto my radar as their games seem to meet my “limited schedule and ease of play/learning” criteria. Living in the UK, hence the name of this blog, I thought it would be very interesting to try out Richard III: The War of the Roses as I’m interested in British history and also had played Avalon Hill’s Kingmaker back in the day.

A 2- player game for age 12+, this is a “Block War Game”.

From BGG – Richard III: The Wars of the Roses (formerly known simply as Wars of the Roses) is an epic two-player game concerning the long and bloody dynastic struggle between the houses of Lancaster and York for the throne of England. The game depicts both the vicious military campaigns and the rich political struggles that surrounded the late rule of the mad-king Henry VI, the Yorkist usurper Edward IV, the bloody rule of Richard III, and the early years of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. Also strutting across the game’s stage and toward the throne is Richard of York, the patriarch of the house of Plantagenet; Richard Neville, the notorious “Kingmaker”; the iron-queen of Lancaster, Margaret of Anjou, and the would-be Lancastrian king Edward, the Prince of Wales.

Unboxing

First and foremost, the artwork is rather choice. The cover has, I assume, a period image of Richard III and is quite eye-catching. The map, which comes on cardstock, is absolutely stunning and I would say its suitable for framing. Have a look –

The geographic areas are clear and have plenty of room for your Blocks. Its nice to see the extra detail of the actual locations of historical battles noted.

You get 63 wooden blocks, Red for Lancastrian and White for Yorkist forces plus 1 Black for Rebels, and the Block information stickers (which you have to put on the blocks) look very nice with shields and functional with nice icons and unit strengths, Title and Family name, Loyalty rating, Combat rating. There is a lot there but its easy enough to read.

You also get 25 cards which provide Action points and Events. They are nicely laid out. I recommend sleeving them as the cards are the engine of the game and will get a lot of use.

 

Gameplay

The object if the game is to  eliminate all 5 enemy heirs to the throne for an instant victory or to have one of your Heirs in place as King after the third campaign and end of the Usurpation phase of the Political turn.

I found the rules pretty clear and easy to digest although there were a couple of bits that could have been slightly clearer. There are useful written examples of play which are very helpful. The Game Turns are as follows:

There are 3 Campaigns in the game, each divided into 7 game turns with a Political turn linking each campaign. Each turn has three phases.

Card phase –  Each player starts with 7 cards, one for each turn.Each player starts each game turn by playing 1 card face down. These cards are turned over and the player  with the higher card value is Player 1 that turn. If a player plays an Event card they go first. If there is a tie, the player with the Pretender to the throne is first.

Then you must play the card, most of which have differing action points (used for movement of on-board units and Recruitment off-board units). There are Event cards available as well which allow special actions. Interesting stuff as you need to carefully consider which cards to play and hope to outwit your opponent in your card play to take best advantage.

Command phase – Player 1 uses allocated action points to move units and/or recruit more units then player 2 does the same. There are rules for Group moves, geographic boundaries, sea movement, etc.  All pretty easy. The challenge in this game is not in the rules, it is in your choices with limited action points.

Battle phase

Battles are fought between blocks in the same city area. They are only revealed at the moment of combat. require a number of considerations –

Battle sequence – Player 1 determines the order in which battles are fought

Battle turns – Each player has 3 choices in a battle – Fire, Retreat (except in the first round of combat), and Pass. The sequence of turns depends on the combat rating of the blocks beginning with “A” units and having combat firing first, and and so on. Defending blocks fire before attacking blocks. A block has a limit of 1-4 dice you roll as its attack.

The use of blocks with multiple strengths is a very nice and effective mechanism and very clean and efficient. The strongest Block in the Battles takes all the hits from 1 attack and this means you could lose Heirs quickly if you aren’t careful. The target block loses strength from combat hits and you just turn the block to the relevant side revealing its new strength value.

Battle reserves – these can be declared and added to a battle

Other rules cover disruption, Battle hits, eliminated blocks, retreats and regrouping.

At the end of each Campaign, when all cards are played, there is a Political turn where Levies disband, Usurpation takes place, Pretender goes home, and the King goes home.

Then the Campaign is reset unless its the end of the 3rd Campaign in which you check to see who’s won.

The process works very well and is easily understood, particularly for experienced war gamers. I had to review a few sections for clarity but it was fine. The first campaign will see you getting more familiar with each turn.

New gamers will take longer to learn the game but overall this is a very comfortable game to get into. Columbia uses a core system and makes adjustments to reflect the historical period and conflict in their games and I’m glad they do as it makes it less of a chore to get into their games.

This is a clean, effective and elegant system. All very playable in about 2 hours.

Did it work for me?

Richard III: The War of the Roses works really well. It is a visual fest and although relatively simple, is rather chess-like in that your decisions as to movement to consolidate your forces to bring battle is so key. The Yorkist player starts with a heck of a dilemma as his forces need to invade, but where? And then you need to get sufficient forces into Britain to stand a chance. The Lancastrian player is spread all over Britain and will struggle to collect his forces. Fantastic, tense, frustrating. Yes, combat is subject to die rolls and this can be frustrating if the dice go against you. I like the luck and uncertainty of using dice. As had been said, luck plays an important part in warfare.

Also the Battles are brutal as you decide how long to keep up the fight, especially as the attacker because its tough to beat down the defenders. You can’t rebuild units except between campaigns. Yet both players must attack at the right time. The Lancastrian player has an advantage of starting with the King so can play a bit more cagey as the Yorkist needs to be more aggressive.

It just is a pleasure to play. Little downtime once you are comfortable with the rules. Plays fast, is fun, tense all the way until the end. The Block system adds the fog of war so you are always a bit wary about what you are up against.

Overall, Richard III: The War of the Roses is a lot of fun and a great way to have a war game experience in a short space of time. You aren’t going to get a detailed simulation here. The feel is strategic in giving the grand scope of the fighting for who would rule England. This is ultimately a game for casual war gamers who want a fun experience in a limited amount of time which is right up my street. Awesome.Does it feel historically accurate? Well there’s enough for me as I’m more interested in the play with enough to give me a sense of what went on without having to get a headache. I guess as my interest is now piqued to read more about the War of the Roses, its a job well done!

Boardgames in Blighty rating – 8 out of 10

Family friendly?

Not necessarily designed for the family, this game could be a nice teaching tool for parent and youngster.

For more information go to – http://www.columbiagames.com/

British Board Game News – The Ragnar Brothers are taking another look at Workshop of the World


British Board Game News – The Ragnar Brothers are taking another look at Workshop of the World

Steve Kendal from the Ragnar Brothers dropped me a note to update us on the latest work he is doing on the rules for Workshop of the World…

 

Workshop of the World Alternative Bidding System Trials

Workshop of the World uses a blind bidding system which delivers speed, humour and a hint of that which excites in Poker. However, some of our gaming friends have reported embarrassing ‘hosings’ taking place and with that in mind I have decided to find an alternative system. Thanks then to friends (Andrew, James, Gordon, Russell) at Epsom Games Club who have helped trial.

As it happens, of the said friends, only James had actually played before (despite WOTW being voted ‘Best Game 2010’ at UK Games Expo), so the Canal Era was played using the normal rules. Guess what? Fast, fun and Poker-like (though why Gordon bid £10 for Birmingham remains a mystery). Come the Railway Era everyone was up for exploring the new system. In fact I was astounded by the immediate alternative suggestions that suddenly surfaced; Goa-system, Ra-system, Steel Driver-system to name but a few.

My thumb-nail idea was;

  • In (remaining) turn order 1st player selects a card to bid on. Minimum bid is the value of the card. Players bid or drop out. Player winning takes card and places turn order marker on next position. Continue until all cards taken. etc.

I’d already played this solo and anticipated it being embraced on the nod. That’s why trialling is critical; nothing particularly wrong except that bidding differentials were enormous. And … so slow…

After three turns we decided to try Andrew’s suggestion:

  • Starting with 1st player and continuing, players place their bid (use an Industry marker to record) on one of the cards. If a later player over-bids on the same card, then the player re-bids onto a different card. Continue until all cards are bid for.

After an amiable discussion we decided to stick with a minimum bid of the card’s value. Thank goodness; it still took an age. To make matters worse James started moaning about having built up a cash advantage in the previous system. This time card differentials were rather limited.

For the final set of cards we reverted to System B. On count-up James won by a healthy margin.

Feed-back initially suggested that blind-bidding remained the best option in a game that benefits from being played at a good speed, even though game- calculations are an interesting puzzler. But, at the last minute, Russell (the quiet man of the table) came up with a steal; the Goa-variant.

  • In (remaining) turn order 1st player selects a card to bid on. Minimum bid is the value of the card. Starting with next (remaining) player clockwise, players bid or pass. 1st player makes the final bid in a once round auction. 1st player MUST bid if no other bids made. Player winning takes card and places turn order marker on next position. Continue until all cards taken. etc.

 

Certainly worth a try; but will have to wait until another session.

 

The aim ultimately is to produce an alternative system and publish on this and other web-sites. Watch this space.

 

Steve Kendall

(Ragnar Brothers)

 

VPG Press Release – Paul Koenig’s Market-Garden: Nijmegen Bridge released!

VPG Press Release – Paul Koenig’s Market-Garden: Nijmegen Bridge released!

NIJMEGEN BRIDGE: SEPTEMBER 17-19, 1944

 

Paul Koenig’s Market-Garden is a series of small-format, competitive introductory-level wargames covering the critical first three days of Operation Market-Garden, where the Allies attempted to seize a series of bridges in Holland and end WWII before Christmas.

Nijmegen Bridge is the second game in the Market Garden series, covering the events happening at this vital fiver crossing from September 17th-19th, 1944. Each player commands their German or American forces so as to capture key objectives on the board while keeping your casualties down (and your opponent’s casualties up).

Click here for all the details and to order Paul Koenig’s Market Garden: Nijmegen Bridge.

 
– Victory Point Games

 

British Game News – Cubiko games launches first abstract strategy game, FOUNDATION™

May 2012

Cubiko games launches first abstract strategy game, FOUNDATION™.

UK Games Expo 2012 saw the launch of a brand new abstract strategy game called FOUNDATION, by London-based games developer, Cubiko Games.

Now in his 4th year at the UK Games Expo, Gavin Birnbaum, founder of Cubiko Games brought yet another exciting new game to the UK’s largest games fair, held in Birmingham during the last weekend of May.

The rules for FOUNDATION are some of simplest seen at Expo for a new strategy game for a long time, yet the game itself rivals chess with its numerous possibilities and strategies required.

FOUNDATION is a 2 player game. Players start with 14 blocks each and the objective is to place as many of your pieces as you can to gain the most points. Points are awarded for each piece that a newly placed block makes contact with. In effect, the stronger the ‘foundations’, the more points you will receive.

The game itself was created by a fellow games designer, Rafi Arkin. He had the idea for the game after helping his 5 years old daughter, Isabelle, play a game of her own creation using Jenga Blocks and plastic ‘Go Go’ pieces.

Rafi explains:

“Having watched Isabelle develop a game of cat and mouse using wooden Jenga blocks, I began to visualise a very simple point scoring game with wooden blocks touching each other. I quickly started drawing grids, cutting out pieces of card, and putting things together. The main thing for me was simplicity. You can explain the rules to FOUNDATION in 30 seconds and all ages can have a go”

Working with a number of board game enthusiasts as guinea pigs, Rafi eventually ended up with the simple set of 4 rules and 14 pieces you now see in the set.

Rafi was about to launch the game at Expo 2011, when he landed a marketing role at The Health Lottery. So he put FOUNDATION on the back-burner. A year on, with a successful Lottery launch behind him, his attention turned back to FOUNDATION and asked Gavin Birnbaum, founder of Cubiko Games for help.

Gavin Birnbaum explains how the launch of FOUNDATION fits into the longer term strategy for Cubiko Games:

“I feel that it’s important to keep a pipeline of new ideas coming to market every year – to give the growing number of Cubiko followers something new to play and buy. I felt that FOUNDATION was the right product to launch at Expo 2012 and that some of my other developments would remain as previews this year, ready for full release later”

Editors notes:

FOUNDATION retails at £19.95 and went on sale at UK Games Expo 2012. Gavin and Rafi will be at the Expo to demonstrate the game.

The first edition will be a limited edition of 30 sets, all handmade in London, and numbered.

The second edition will be on sale as pre-orders, available for distribution later in the year.

UK Games Expo 2012 was be held between 25th and 27th May at The Clarendon Suites, Stirling Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Cubiko Games also sells the following games

Cubiko Original

Cubiko Word

Cheese Factory

Olympic Steeplechase (on demo at Expo 2012, available for pre-sale)

For more information on FOUNDATION, interviews and images contact:

Gavin Birnbaum

Cubiko Games

cubiko1@hotmail.com

 

Wholesale customers and retailer enquiries for FOUNDATION, please contact:

Contact Rafi Arkin

rafi.arkin@gmail.com

07742 607 248

 

 

 

 

 

PROFILE OF RAFI ARKIN, CREATOR OF FOUNDATION.

 

Rafi Arkin is an games designer, marketing specialist, and an idea generator. Most recently worked on the successful launch of The Health Lottery, he has also worked in the marketing teams for brands such as Carr’s Table Water biscuits, Quorn, Stella Artois and Hoegaarden Beer.

 

Following a number of ‘talking game’ launches, FOUNDATION is his first abstract board game launch.

 

PROFILE OF GAVIN BIRNBAUM, OWNER OF CUBIKO GAMES AND DEVELOPER OF FOUNDATION.

 

Gavin Birnbaum set up Cubiko in 2009. Now a regular feature of UK Games Expo and Essen, he has successfully launched 3 board games in the last 3 years. He has a string of awards now to his name and a growing following of games enthusiasts..

 

Gavin also runs the Cubiko World Tournament, now in its 3rd year.

 

 

 

European Games news – Flatlined Games goes Game Salute exclusive for US distribution

European Games news – Flatlined Games goes Game Salute exclusive for US distribution

Press release

Brussels, Belgium, 13 Aug 2012.

For immediate distribution.

The current U.S. distribution model is quite complex, and different from what we know in Europe. Finding a partner that understands our needs and offers suitable solutions has been a long quest but Game Salute offers a comprehensive set of services that addresses all our needs.

Most European distributors only work with exclusive deals, as the German market has taught them a price war on board games does not benefit anyone in the long run : retailers are affected by the prices set by hard discounters, distributors drive publisher prices down, and publishers struggle to put new releases on the market.

Game Salute advocates a sane and responsible distribution system that is retailer and publisher-friendly, and most importantly sustainable in the long term. They also offer innovative solutions such as the Springboard program for crowdfunding projects and their studio support services. It is therefore no surprise that so many other publishers have joined them recently, a trend we expect to see growing in the coming year.

 

Flatlined games is proud to announce we signed an exclusive distribution deal with Game Salute for the USA. Starting right after gencon 2012, all US retailers will be able to get all games published by Flatlined Games from Game Salute. They will also be available from the Game Salute online shop for all US-based customers.

 

Game Salute will also have limited quantities of Dragon Rage (http://www.flatlinedgames.com/Games/dragon_rage) and Rumble in the House (http://www.flatlinedgames.com/Games/rumble_in_the_house) available during Gen Con at their booth 1033 so make sure to pay them a visit if you’re going!

About Flatlined Games

Flatlined Games is a young boardgames publisher, based in Brussels, Belgium.

Founded in 2009, Flatlined Games targets niches in the boardgames market, and address these globally with multilingual editions.

Eric Hanuise is the owner of Flatlined Games. WithFrederic Moyersoen he is co-designer of Batt’l Kha’os, published in 2009 by Z-Man Games. He currently runs Flatlined Games on the evenings and weekends along his ‘real’ day job as a freelance business analyst, project manager and consultant.

 

Current products are Dragon Rage, a reprint of the 1982 classic fantasy wargame by Lewis Pulsipher, and Rumble in the House, a fast paced game of bluff and double-guessing by first time published author Olivier Saffre.

Upcoming products include Rumble in the Dungeon, a standalone sequel (Q4 2012); and Twin Tin Bots by acclaimed Belgian designer Philippe Keyaerts (Vinci, Evo, Olypos, SmallWorld) (Q1 2013).

 

About Game Salute

Game Salute provides tools and services to make the industry better.’
We work with publishing studios, stores, member of the gaming media, non-profit organizations, and individual

Our team is located all over the world, mostly in the US. We have team members in Seattle, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Miami, and Australia.

Game Salute began a few years ago as an idea of Dan Yarrington, inspired by the many awesome people he works with in the games industry each day, especially his wife Sara. In April 2011, Mike and Russ officially formed Game Salute, LLC and began working full-time to support, publish, and promote great games. In November 2011, Cody Jones joined as a Graphic Designer. In March 2012, James Takenaka joined us as our Chief Sales Officer along with David MacKenzie as our Chief Springboard Officer. In April 2012, Chris Kirkman and Cherilyn Lee Kirkman joined us along with Dann May, our Art Director.

 

Contact info

Flatlined games :

http://www.flatlinedgames.com/contact

39 rue gheude, 1070 Anderlecht, Belgium

 

Game Salute LLC:

10 Tinker Ave., Londonderry, NH 03053

http://www.gamesalute.com/home/contact

VPG Press Release – No Retreat 3 now available!

VPG Press Release – No Retreat 3 now available!

The French Front: May-June 1940

http://victorypointgames.com/details.php?prodId=216

No Retreat 3, by designer Carl Paradis, takes you to the French Front. You command the Allied (French and British) or German forces, operating them in accordance to one of several historical plans (represented by Plan cards). You will maneuver forces over hexes that are approximately 30 kilometers across, over turns that represent 4 days of real time each. The vaunted No Retreat series card-assisted game systems are there to create on-map puzzles around each hex, unit and battle as the tense engagements rage back-and-forth and nothing is entirely predictable.

The simulation elements of No Retreat 3, combined with its novel gameplay elements, offer a rich and insightful presentation of this controversial military campaign that shaped the trajectory of World War II.

Click here for all the details and to order No Retreat 3.

– Victory Point Games