News – Victory Point Games PRESS RELEASE – Gem Rush unearthed!

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Victory Point Games PRESS RELEASE – Gem Rush unearthed!

Grab your digging tools and prepare for Gem Rush from designer Jeremy Lennert, an easy to learn, 1-6 player blitz to build a magical gem mine. Use your gem cards to construct new rooms, and use the rooms to replenish your gems. Race your friends for fortune in rush mode, or work together to save the mine in crisis mode. Either way, you’ve got to dig fast and manage your gems carefully.

A typical card includes 2 gemstones; you can count it as either–or as both, if you can find the right spot to use them. The game board changes each time you play, as the playing area is constructed out of modular room tiles, each with different abilities and different opportunities for further construction.

Get your mining picks ready and dig up Gem Rush today!


Click here
 for all the details and to order Gem Rush.
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GenCon 2013 observations through BGG TV and social media

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GenCon 2013 observations through BGG TV and social media

Ok so I am not at GenCon. Grrr….. Tough on the budget living in ol Blighty and planning to attend Essen in any case. But through the wonder of the internet, I can keep up on what’s going on and so I thought I’d make a few observations.

1) It has never been better to observe GenCon from afar. Twitter is on fire with regular posts, and photos and there are lots of wonderful geeks gaming their hearts out and terrific looking new games released by excellent publishers large and small. Btw, if you aren’t on Twitter yet and need to catch up, feel free to follow me – my handle is @blightygamer.

2) BGG TV continues to be an excellent way to see live introductions of the hot new games!

Go here – http://www.twitch.tv/boardgamegeektv

Highlights for me that stand out are Antoine Bauza’s Rampage and a few games from AEG including Agent Hunter, and Jason Tagmire’s Maximum Throwdown. Why? because they were different, creative and looked fun.

Yes, Firefly, the Game which goes on worldwide distribution by October, looks good, will probably be overpriced, but not special, other than its about Firefly which should be enough.

Other than that, from what I did see, too many other games were un-original and same old…

 

Note to designers and publishers – On my limited budget and time, you need to grab my attention if you want my cash. Re-hashing the same old tired themes like zombies and super-heroes just doesn’t do it. I understand though that you need to create what sells.

Now where was that Zombie Super-Hero prototype that I was working on…

3) From what I can see, GenCon has good attendance but it doesn’t seem to be heaving with wall to wall people as Essen always is. But having said that, the enthusiasm is wonderful to see. Great for our hobby!

4) Cosplay peeps are minimal and to be honest, it just doesn’t belong and looks out of place. Its about playing games people.

5) Let’s be clear here. GenCon is probably the best 4 days of gaming anywhere in terms of the balance of events, vendors, etc. but from what I’ve seen, there is still a long way to go to broaden it’s appeal to the mainstream. It still looks like a geekfest. This is where Essen scores big due to the family appeal in Germany.

Well, I will try and check in today and tomorrow and see if there are any more tasty games that I might want…

Later dudes

 

Press release from Victory Point Games -VPG PRESS RELEASE – Star Borders: Aliens has launched!

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Press release from Victory Point Games -VPG PRESS RELEASE – Star Borders: Aliens has launched!

Star Borders: Aliens from designer Lance McMillan and developer Alan Emrich is a complete, 2-player stand-alone game that introduces two new factions, the Rhame Swarm (a.k.a., the “Bugs”) and the C1B0R6 Collective (a.k.a., the “Bots”) that are fighting to establish control of a contested region of the galaxy in the Star Borders universe.

This game is completely mate-able with Star Borders: Humanity and introduces a few new wrinkles to the universe, including the first 3-engine ships, ships that morph, and other strange goodies. Of course, there are new maps, counters, and compatible cards that can be retrofitted to Humanity so the design-your-own-scenarios possibilities have been increased exponentially.

Click here for all the details and to order Star Borders: Aliens.

– Victory Point Games
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Review – Phantom Leader Deluxe from Dan Verssen Games (DVG)

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Review – Phantom Leader Deluxe from Dan Verssen Games (DVG)

Designer – Dan Verrsen

Art – Wan Chiu

Dan Verrsen has re-booted his original Phantom Leader game which is part of his Leader series of solitaire games and I’ve now had a chance to play a few times. Dan has published quite a few solitaire games and seems to have done a pretty good job of building a good reputation and a solid fanbase for his solid designs with plenty of depth for war gamers. In Phantom Leader, you are in command of squadrons that you select, arm and send into harm’s way over Vietnam during that conflict.

From the DVG website –

Phantom Leader places you in command of a US Air Force or US Navy Tactical Fighter squadron in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972. You must not only destroy the targets but you must also balance the delicate political repercussions of your attacks. If you strike too hard, your air offensive might be put on hold, strike to light, and you’ll be blamed for losing the war. 

Welcome to the Vietnam Air War! 

Each of the campaigns can be played with either an Air Force or Navy squadron. The targets assigned to each service are different and change the complexion of the campaigns. Each campaign can be played with three different durations of: Skirmish, Conflict, or War. 

Each mission takes roughly 30 minutes to set-up, plan, and resolve. 

Unboxing

Inside the box you get:

330 Full color Cards
Full Color Rulebook
2 Full Color Counter Sheets (176 – 5/8” counters)
8 Full Color Campaign Sheets
1 11”x17” Full Color Mounted Tactical Display
2 Full Color Sheets
1 Ten-sided die
1 Full Color Player Log

PhantomMissionsheet

For those of you who have the original Phantom Leader, here are the changes in this upgrade:

Increase the cards from 165 to 330
– All pilots get all 6 experience levels
– new aircraft: Air Force F-5, Air Force A-7, Navy A-5
– more pilots for all aircraft types
– more Target cards
– more Special Event cards
– Revise the 6 original Campaigns to include the new Targets and Aircraft

The standard of components as in all DVG games that I have played is very very good. The cards look terrific, are very sturdy, the information on the cards and displays is clear and user friendly. The counters are nicely done with very nice images for the planes and weapons. The Tactical Display, rulebook and Campaign sheets are well done.

Phantom Cards

All in all, great stuff and a pleasure to use in the game.

I’m no expert on the topic of this game but it certainly seems like Dan has done a lot of research to get all of the details  of the Air Force and Navy planes and their weaponry. The amazing thing here is that you get a lot of detail but the game is very playable.

Examples include –

Campaign Maps

These sheets show the target areas for the different campaigns

Help Sheet

Provides useful reference charts

Tactical Display

This is where you resolve the “over target” actions including using weapons against the target, enemy aircraft and ground defences

Aircraft counters

Show plane images as well as altitude position

Air Defence counters

Show different ground based weapons and capabilities and Bandits (or no bandits) on the other side

There are other informational and positional counters as well.

Weapons counters

There are a variety of weapons that you will choose from to arm your planes

Aircraft cards

You can choose from a large selection of Air Force or Navy planes and pilots. The Pilots range in experience and effectiveness from Newbie to Ace.

I’m scratching the surface here. If you like this type of game, you will be fascinated by the wide range and depth of choices you have which means, there will be a different experience each time you play.

Gameplay

Ok, what I won’t do here is give you absolute chapter and verse. That would spoil the experience and I do feel that playing a DVG solitaire game is something to experience rather than just play.

As with the other DVG solitaire games, you will need to play by going through the game turn process as stated in the rulebook. And you will find yourself needing to just take your time to go through it until you become pretty familiar, then you can just refer to the a list of steps found on the Tactical display, with less and less need to go through the rules in detail as it all mostly becomes second nature after you’ve played a few missions.

A Campaign can range from Short to Long  and will have a fixed number of Days or rounds to play through.

An overview of the turn process for each Day is as follows –

Pre-Flight

An admin phase where you will assign a target, planes and organise the target defences.

Target-Bound Flight

Events may effect your plans in-bound and over the target. Place aircraft and flight paths, place bandits

Over Target

Your planes enter 5 spaces to cross the Tactical  Display so this stage is repeated 5 times, assuming your planes survive enemy fire. Fast pilots attack first, defence attacks are resolved, slow pilots attack, aircraft move, bandits move

Home-bound flight

After the 5 turns over the target, an Event may still effect things, you may have to roll to recover downed pilots

Debriefing

Record mission outcomes, victory points, and other admin tasks to track pilot stress and experience, Intel, Politics, etc.

Each of these stages is covered in detail in the rules which are relatively straightforward to follow. I had to check on a few things for clarification but that’s to be expected in war games of this level of detail. The whole process works pretty well and I found that the more I have played, the more I could move through more quickly. The thing that amazes me is how much detail is covered abstractly, yet still gives you a sense of the operational and strategic issues and challenges. And it plays at a good pace. 30 minutes for a short campaign is fair.

The thing to remember here is that Phantom Leader Deluxe, is not a simulation. You are not there to fly the aircraft. You are there as squadron Leader, responsible for the operational missions that need to be accomplished as part of a larger campaign. So you get the operation responsibilities of deploying assets, assigning missions, etc. as well as strategic considerations such as the politics back home which was so important during the Vietnam War.

Did I enjoy Phantom Leader – Deluxe?

Cue the Rolling Stones – Paint it Black…

In a word, yes. Phantom Leader-Deluxe is a well constructed system which takes you along in a digestible way. Although not my preferred type of war game (I prefer land based games), this is a very interesting game and its an emotional game as well. I was not a happy camper when my planes and pilots were lost. It is no mean feat to crack the enemy defences so you will be pushed, which is what I want. If this was a walk over, it would quickly lose its appeal.

What Dan Verssen has achieved with the Leader game system is truly excellent and he deserves recognition for this. I have played a lot of war games solitaire and this system stands with the best of them. It is logical, tells a story, and puts you in the seat of leadership with the crucial decisions. There are plenty of targets of varying challenge levels and dangers and you will sweat as you try and fly your planes through. And if that stinkin die roll is against you… Grrr…. Just sayin…

The beauty of this game for me is that it doesn’t feel at all like you are playing a system. You know it but you feel like you are making operational and strategic choices that make a difference in success or failure. In addition, the Political effects and variety of Events give you a good sense of the frustrations of trying to get the job done and bring an end to this horrible war.  And there has been plenty of research and information imbedded within the game that you are sure to learn more about this conflict.

Would I recommend Phantom Leader – Deluxe? Yes I would but only to experienced war gamers. This is not a game for newbies or those who are looking for a simulation.  There is a lot of replay value as each time you play you will have a different experience. The quality of the components is excellent. There is a lot of bang for the buck in this game.

Well done Dan!

For more information, go to http://www.dvg.com/.sc/ms/bdd/ee/56/Phantom%20Leader%20-%20Deluxe

Review – Lords of War – from Black Box Games Publishing

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Review – Lords of War – from Black Box Games Publishing 

Designers – Nick Street and Martin Vaux

Art – Steve Cox

I’ve actually had some time to play and review a couple of games so I will start here with a little game which had some good word-of-mouth after UK Games Expo in May.

From Black Box Games Publishing, I received review copies of Lords of War, Orcs vs. Dwarves and their most recent release, Lords of War, Elves versus Lizardmen.

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From the Black Box Games Publishing website – Lords of War, the new, flagship product from Black Box Games, is an entirely unique dual deck, expandable card game for two-plus players.

It sees fantasy races engage in dynamic, tactical card battles which surge across your table top, taking between 30-45 minutes per game.

Each of our double-deck packs is playable out of the box and contains two complete armies, all of which are ready and eager to engage in gratuitous acts of fantasy mayhem.

Our armies are differentiated by their exclusive cards, which feature distinctive playing styles according to the characteristics and qualities of that particular fantasy race.

Also, all of our cards boast stunning original artwork by award-winning artist Steve Cox.

With the dominance of Magic the Gathering, and so many other fantasy games out there, is there a place for yet another fantasy themed card game in an already crowded market? Let’s see…

Unboxing

the first thing that I noticed is the standard of the art by Steve Cox. it is very good. Each race in the game has a specific look and feel.which makes each deck easy to differentiate from the others.

Ok, I’m a sucker for Fantasy theme from the start so I’m always up for a look. At first pass, you could be easily assume that what we have here is a Summoner Wars clone but no, this is a simpler game and I would venture to say that this could be an entry point for CCGs.

 

Unboxing

Each pack comes with 2 core decks of 36 cards, each of a different race. The races are completely standard faire in that you have Orcs and Dwarves in one pack and Elves and Lizardmen in the latest pack released.

You also receive a Battle mat on glossy paper which has a grid for placing your cards during the game. The Battle Mat for each pack is only differentiated in terms of the colour. The Orcs/Dwarves Battle Mat appears to represent open ground in a dry climate so it has a tan/brown motif whereas the mat in the Elves/Lizardmen pack has a lush green appearance.

I was  disappointed that there were no terrain features at all. A lost opportunity? Perhaps.

The cards themselves have nice, evocative art. Each race has a number of different types of warriors. The Commanders have their own names on their card. Their are also symbols indicating what type of warrior the card represents, warrior class and rank, and other symbols with numbers which represent attack strength and direction and defence strength. Warriors with ranged weapons have a symbol which indicates their range and which space on the grid can be attacked.

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By comparison, the art for the warriors is not up to the level of say Magic the Gathering but it is definitely nicer that what you can find in Summoner Wars. The symbols and numbers are nicely laid out, easy to read and don’t detract from the warrior art. The cards are sturdy and should stand up I recommend sleeving them if this becomes a favourite for you. Overall, a nice production job!

As for the rules, they are provided on a double sided glossy page, folded nicely as is the Battle Mat to fit snugly in the box.

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Gameplay
I will be right up front and say that this game is highly accessible because of its relative simplicity.

The Set up is easy. The players place their Generals aside, shuffle their deck, draw 5 cards, add their General to the 5 drawn cards to form their hand, place 1 card on their starting space on the Battle Mat and draw a card to refresh your hand up to 6.

Winning the game, is straightforward. The first person to eliminate 20 of their opponent’s cards, or to eliminate 4 of their opponent’s Command cards wins the game.

The structure of each turn is as follows:

Deployment – play a new card to the mat. You generally must place your card adjacent to an enemy card. The object is to align a numbered arrow against a side or corner of the enemy card which may or may not have a numbered arrow.

Elimination- In your turn you are attacking and comparing your attacking numbered arrow to the defence value number of the enemy card. If your attacking number is higher, you defeat the enemy card and take it to add to your pile of defeated enemy.

Note- all attacks are reconciled so if you put your card in a position that engages more than one enemy, you will attack both. The good thing is that if your attack arrow is a lower score than the enemy defence, nothing happens, unless… The enemy card which you ar adjacent to now, has an arrow score pointed at you which is a higher value than your defence value, in which case your card is beaten.

Reinforcement – Draw a new card into your deck or from your played cards which are not engaged by having an enemy numbered arrow facing a numbered arrow on the card you want to put back into your hand. Or, if the card was played in the current turn.

That’s it really… The rules give gameplay examples which are easy to follow coving typical combat situations.

Things to note…

Think Top Trumps or the card game War. Its all about playing the numbers. You want to play cards where you will score more than the defensive value of the enemy card. You do this by playing the card in the right position against the enemy card where your attacking arrow points toward the enemy card which is adjacent and the value of your attacking arrow is higher than the enemy card’s defence value.

You  won’t always be able to do this. Which is an interesting variant on the Top Trumps/War mechanic. Sometimes you just need to write off some cards and play them as an acceptable loss. Other times you will find that you will be placing your card in a position to attack a card successfully but the placement of your card also put you in a position to be engaged by an Enemy card already on the mat.

Be careful about your Commanders, as even if you have a great opportunity to play them early, there is a chance you may lose them early.

Ranged cards are handy as you can play them as per normal against enemy cards or you can place them adjacent to a friendly card already on the mat so that it can fire on enemy cards within range.

There will be times when you will need more than one card to defeat an enemy card.

Cavalry can always come back into your hand reflecting their mobile nature but Using an advanced rule, Cavalry cannot do this when engaged by an enemy spear unit.

 

Did I enjoy Lords of War?

Lords of War absolutely SHINES at what it is trying to be. A lovely entry point into the world of gaming, specifically, CCG’s. I would say that it takes the essence of something like Top Trumps or War, and makes it much more attractive, easily learned and played and most of all, good fun. The simplicity of the math works, and there is a level of strategy in terms of placement of your cards which adds a nice level of thinking but not too much. Its all fast and furious for those looking for a good light game in between heavier games.

The art is very nice and brings you into the fantasy setting. Reading the notes on the website, it sounds like plans are afoot for more packs too.

The design is tight and the restraint shown to keep it simple and fast playing is to be commended. One of the easiest ways to get friends into gaming is to break them in with games you can explain in 5 minutes. And with Lords of War, you pretty much can.

This could easily be a fun game to play during a lunch break or at the pub. Its very portable and the set up is minimal. This is an attraction for me and why I wouldn’t hesitate to have it in my collection.

I would say that given the right marketing and distribution, Lords of War could replace the likes of Top Trumps as a go to game, especially for families and youngsters who are starting to get into the whole genre of CCG’s.

Experienced gamers who are looking for a fun filler would do well to check this game out. They just need to accept the game and enjoy it for what it is. As an experienced gamer I would like to see additional rules for movement and perhaps some special abilities but this make take away from the core simplicity which will be the attraction to the mass market.

I am happy to recommend Lords of War and you can start with either of the packs mentioned or both if you want to create customised decks which is easily done.

For more information, go to the Lords of War Website where the guys have posted to good stuff about the backgrounds for the races as well as the Intermediate and Advanced rules.

http://lords-of-war.com/

Press release – New Cthulhu Game on Kickstarter!!!

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Press release – New Cthulhu Game on Kickstarter!!!

New from Dann Kriss Games – Cthulhu: The Great Old One

The stars are right, and the Old Ones are ready to claim our world, but first the Great Old One, Cthulhu, must awaken! In this easy to play card game, you will match pairs to collect points, summon Horrors on your friends, all while trying to avoid the Great Old One… unless you play the Cultist card! The art for this game is hand-painted by none other than Ian Daniels, a renowned Gothic fantasy artist well known for his beautiful Tarot decks and illustrations. With two modes of play, Standard and Deluxe, this game will appeal to a wide age range.
Cthulhu: The Great Old One game box contains:
  • 69 Story Cards
  • 10 Horror Cards
  • 1 Cultist Card
  • 1 Rules Sheet/Mini Poster
DKG01001  Cthulhu: The Great Old One  $16.99 (MSRP)
Ages 6+ (Standard Rules)  8+ (Deluxe Rules)
For 2 – 10 players
Playing Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Case Pack 12
Designer: Dann Kriss, Ian Daniels
Artist: Ian Daniels
Made in the U.S.A.
Dimensions: 5.125″ x 3.125″ x 1″  (approximate)
Note: Decks for Retailers come with plastic hanger tags pre-attached
Copyright © 2013  Dann Kriss Games, LLC. All rights reserved.

Press release from Mayfair Games – The Big Game will be an official Guinness World Record attempt

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Press release from Mayfair Games – The Big Game will be an official Guinness World Record attempt

Mayfair Games is ecstatic to announce that The Big Game™ will be a official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® official attempt. The record attempted will be for “Most People Playing Settlers of Catan™ simultaneously”. There will be an official Guinness World Records adjudicator on site to judge the record. The Big Game™ will feature up to 1,012 players playing a single game of Catan® simultaneously.

You heard that right, 1,000 people will play a single Settlers of Catan™ game on a special board, from start to finish, though a turn limit of 62 turns. The entry fee for The Big Game™ is $10, which provides each player a limited edition deck of Catan® resource cards, a single-player set of basic Catan® & Seafarers™ wood playing pieces in one of 6 unique colors and a custom Catan® map, all produced specifically for this special event. Even better, one player’s deck will contain a Golden Ticket and that player will be awarded a 10th Anniversary 3-D edition of The Settlers of Catan® Treasure Chest edition, an unparalleled rare and priceless item for any Catan® enthusiast, collector or completionist.

The Big Game™ will be held at J.W. Marriott’s White River Ballroom, Friday night, August 16, in cooperation with the great Gen Con™ Game Fair. Check-in is at 5:30 pm and the event lasts until a winner is crowned. Food and drink are available for purchase at the venue.

 

Chuck Rice

Mayfair Games

Marketing

813.707.6659 Phone

813.707.8791 Fax