Aug 152015
 
pic2549878 (2)

“A group of poor explorers hoping to get rich quickly heads out to recover treasures from some undersea ruins. They’re all rivals, but their budgets force them all to share a single rented submarine. In the rented submarine, they all have to share a single tank of air, as well. If they don’t get back to the sub before they run out of air, they’ll drop all their treasure. Now it’s time to see who can bring home the greatest riches.” (From the BGG Store)

“Thief who crept to roost of monster-troll accumulated a huge gem. At that time it is finally trying to Hakobidaso jewelry, monster of signs is …. It is very Once found in the flesh-eating troll! Thieves is not that he found, and Candidate attempts as much as possible a lot of jewelry, it was the start each other tactics …” (From Oink Games TROLL via Google Translate).

A group of poor explorers. Unlimited riches. Untold Danger. Oink Game’s “Deep Sea Adventure” and “Troll” both play with these themes. They are quick to learn and play, have minimal components and look gorgeous on a shelf…but, despite the packaging, are they any good? Are these filler games worth picking up and tossing into your collection?

The Game:

Designer: Jun Sasaki
Publisher: Oink Games
Ages: 8+
Players: 3-6
Time: 20-30 minutes
Mechanics: Press Your Luck, Roll and Move

In Deep Sea Adventure, everyone begins in the submarine. A particularly nice piece of this design is the inclusion of the game timer (the air supply) on the submarine. The players share a full tank of air at 25 units and count down as the divers exert themselves salvaging the treasure lurking below. Trailing below the submarine is a series of tokens representing treasure of increasing worth as you move further from the sub. One a turn, each player rolls two dice (with pips varying from 1-3 on each dice equalling a total range of movement equalling 2-6 spaces (depending upon encumbrance). If you land on a ruin token, you can chose to pick it up and place it facedown in front of you. If the space’s chip was already picked up, you can choose to put down a chip on that spot. Then you decide whether you are heading back to the submarine or going deeper down.

This is the crux of your decision space in this simple game. Go deeper and pick up a ruin chip that is worth more or head back up and bank what you have in the safety of the submarine. The ruins tokens are worth more the farther you move away from the submarine but the deeper you go, the less likely you will make it back. This seems simple: Dive. Grab Points. Get back to the sub. However, the trick is finding the right time to turn back towards the sub. As people pick up more chips, they use up more air and time can start to move really quick. Now you are loaded with treasure and everyone else is as well. You are sluggish after some unfortunate and air is being sucked down faster than you can count.

And to make things worse, Vasily has been dragging two tokens slowly back to the sub and suddenly dropped one and sped right into safety and banked a bunch!

So the air runs out and you are still floating in the deep. Well, the automatic hitch activates and pulls you back up but you need to drop all the treasure in your possession. You score no points and those tokens are stacked in units of three and put at the bottom of the line. These stacks of three treasure tokens count as one token when it comes to movement. So a sack of three will only slow you down one pip on your roll rather than three. Anyone who made it to the sub with their treasure gets to flip them over and score.

If you failed to make it back to the sub, your colleagues will rescue you minus your treasure, throw you in a decompression chamber to get you into shape for the next dive. If you succeeded in returning to the sub you get to keep your ruin chips and flip them over as treasure. They will not count against your air in the next round.

The main mechanism of Deep Sea Adventure is roll and move. And it works just fine. Yes, you can be stymied by a series of poor rolls but the game is quick enough that you really aren’t dedicating that much time and most games will play shorter than the 30 minutes on the box. The press your luck mechanism of the game is drop dead simple — more you carry, the more oxygen you use up, and the quicker you run out of air to breathe. Thus, you are constantly looking to see how much other people are carrying and calculating how much you can afford to move in order to win.

Oink Games has an amazing line of cute, accessible filler games in the most adorable tiny little boxes I have ever seen (TROLL, In A Grove, Rights, etc). The art work and the components are always minimalistic. Not much on the artwork, the graphic design is crisp and clear. The gameplay simple enough to teach to anyone new to games. The game and the box it came in are beyond endearing. They are cute and engaging enough for its size. Will it satisfy every gamer’s appetite? No. But it provides more than enough tension to make it worthwhile as a filler. It really shines as a family or kid’s game though. And you can’t beat the simplicity of roll, move, and pick up treasure. Do I want to add a giant squid circling the ruins? You bet I do. Will I? Probably.
deep sea adventure

The Game:

Designer: Kouji Kimura
Publisher: Oink Games
Ages: 8+
Players: 3-6
Time: 20-30 minutes
Mechanics: Press Your Luck, Bluffing

In TROLL, you one of 3-5 crafty thieves in a lair of hungry trolls. These trolls have precious jewels and you only have a few days and your wits to escape with as many jewels as possible.

Each thief has a set of six tokens numbered 0-5 representing the number of jewels stolen from the Troll. Each troll in the troll deck has a number (3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15). During the round, each thief will play one of their tokens. The first player (the scout) can look at the troll card to see the value and then plays a token. Then each thief, in order can either play it safe and look at the card and play a token face-up or be daring and place a token face down. When taking a daring action, the thief gets to place a x2 multiplier on the token to represent getting twice the amount of jewels if successful at their gamble.

Once everyone has placed their tokens, the troll card is flipped over and the player’s tokens are arranged from smallest to largest. The tokens are then added up according to the amount of jewels they planned to steal. If your tokens totals less than the revealed troll’s number, you gain the points on your token (with additional multiplier if appropriate). Then the person whose token totaled or exceeded the troll’s number gets captured and gets a -2 penalty. Any one after the woken troll escape getting mauled but they don’t score any points. After two or three rounds (dependant upon the number of players), the game ends and the player with the most points wins.

Troll gets the same high points for design, minimalist presentation and the cute box. However, the bluffing in this game is not particularly compelling. It feels more like quick arithmetic and guesswork than actual bluffing. And when you have something like Skull that does it better and even simpler, there isn’t much reason to bring this one out too often.

deep sea adventure (1)

About John Pappas

I'm John ~ a short, mustachioed Library Director of a small branch library outside of Philly. I'm a father, geek, librarian and zen practitioner. I wear glasses, play board games and tend to read pretty much anything that comes across my desk. I organize and host three gaming groups at my library ~ The Golden Gamers (65+), Tabletop Gaming at the Library, and a Game Design Guild. The name of this column "Roll for Fire" comes from my love of Flash Point: Fire Rescue [ and cooperative games in general] and the desire I have to watch it all burn down.

Jun 022015
 

ST

4 days left to get Swamped! 2-4 players, 20-30 minutes, semi-cooperative play with a unique programmed movement mechanic! All this in 35 cards and 2 bits! $12 plus shipping gets the game to your door this December.

That means for about the cost of a movie and a medium movie soda, you can enjoy a highly repayable game with 2-3 of your friends. Or use the solo variant!

The Swamp Tiger expansion is up and we need to get our total to $17,000! That’s entirely doable and I for one would love to see this happen. It’s a great expansion that adds lots of neat, new options to the game.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1839615594/swamped-a-game-of-adventure-secrets-and-deadly-per

If you’re already a backer you have our thanks! Please consider sharing this to get the word out! We’d love to hit a few more stretch goals and that means more backers needed!

Bellwether Games also has their two previous titles (I own both, they rock) Drop Site and Antidote available as add-ons for the Kickstarter campaign.

 

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

May 142015
 

swamped backer

The Kickstarter for my game Swamped is doing well. It’s already funded and we’re at 113% or so as of this writing. We’d really, really like to get it up to the 150-200% level though so we can knock some of these awesome stretch goals out.

If you’re not a backer, please consider backing! At $14 shipped to the US it’s a fairly easy investment. Another amazingly great way to help out though would be to mention the Kickstarter via Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram – any of your normal social media outlets! We’re using the hashtag #Swamped and would very much appreciate a mention!

Also, here’s the latest graphic featuring everything that will ship with the base game.

whats in the box

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

May 112015
 

swamped-kickstarter

Swamped is not your average quasi-cooperative game to be kickstarted. Designer Ben Gerber and Bellwether Games co-founder Dennis Hoyle discuss the Kickstarter project.

Support Jonathan through PATREON
Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 6.48.24 PM

Continue reading »

About Jonathan J. Reinhart

Jonathan J. Reinhart is an editor of Troll in the Corner where he writes about wargaming. Jonathan also is the owner of the Wargaming Recon podcast. He has been gaming with miniatures since 2000 and playing board games from a young age. He's played a myriad of games such as: Warhammer 40k, Warhammer Fantasy, Warmachine, Starship Troopers, Axis & Allies: War at Sea, Flames of War and Warlord Games' Black Powder rules. War at Sea and the Black Powder rules are his current go-to games. Jonathan enjoys casual, fast, fun, and group board games. Sitting Ducks Gallery, Zombie Dice, Guillotine, Pandemic, and Carcassonne rank high on his list. He is a retired local politician with a B.A. in Politics & History, which provides a useful background for historical gaming. A casual World of Warcraft player, he became a Kingslayer as Viktrious the Blood Elf on 4/23/11 and followed that up by slaying Deathwing on 5/9/12.

May 062015
 
Now on Kickstarter

Now on Kickstarter

I am extremely excited to announce that the Swamped! campaign is now LIVE on Kickstarter! Bellwether Games and I have been working together to develop this game for a year and a half now. We feel we’ve honed this down to a fun, fast and easily replayable game with a price tag of just $12. We’ve taken my original concept and created a game that embodies a lot of what we love in larger board and card games and boils it down to just the fun bits. Cooperation, hidden agendas, cards with multiple uses and an always different play space in the form of the Swamp.

are you ready

You’ve been hired to collect a rare herb found deep in the heart of one of the world’s most deadly swamps. Together with your newly acquainted team, you must navigate this dangerous environment in a tiny boat to find the legendary plant before night falls or something more sinister finds you first…

In the game players take turns planning and executing movements for the boat in an attempt to collect lucrative natural treasures. As the game progresses, the boat drifts deeper and deeper in the swamp and players will suddenly discover they need to work together to get out of the swamp alive!

Please visit the Kickstarter page for more information and please, please help us with this campaign! How can you help?

  1. Visit and “like” the Kickstarter page.
  2. Share a link of the Kickstarter page with friends and family either online or by talking about it!
  3. Pledge your support at the Kickstarter page. Even just $1 will get you access to the print and play edition of the game and all of the project updates. $X will get you a copy of the game, shipping included if the campaign is successful.
  4. If you’re a member of Board Game Geek, head over to the Swamped page and become a fan! Give some photos a thumbs up and let us know you’re here!
Swamped!

Swamped!

unique

Swamped is a game for 2-4 adventurers that plays in about 30 minutes and expands the vibrant world of Antidote. In addition to a one-of-a-kind theme, there are 6 core elements that make Swamped incredibly fun and a surprisingly unique gaming experience:

  1. Player-shared pieces: All players share ownership of the same tiny boat in the swamp, so the actions of any one player impact every other player directly.
  2. Secret and shared objectives: Everyone knows the main objective, but each player also has a hidden goal that might lead the whole expedition into deadly peril!
  3. Player controlled game-length: Players can speed-up or slow-down the game down depending on their preference. Some will try to get out of the swamp quickly, while others will delay until they’ve collected precisely the right combination of treasures.
  4. Surprise ending: It is unlikely that anyone can know with 100% certainty who has won the game before each player’s secret objective is revealed, leading to an exciting reveal at the very end!
  5. Efficient use of physical components: Despite its small size (35 cards and 2 pieces), most cards have multiple uses and orientations leading to a surprisingly deep set of decisions each player can make.
  6. Variable game map: As players move deeper into the swamp, the swamp expands from the action card deck, opening up unique adventure opportunities every time you play.

howtoplay

Note: The game components in the video are all prototype quality.

stretch

Bellwether Games is trying something a little different with this project. Not only will funding drive unlocked stretch goals, but backers will also have quite a say in what stretch goals become unlocked and when! How? Here’s how:

Stretch Goals

Stretch Goals

I personally think this is a great thing – putting the available stretch goals into the hands of the backers so that they can unlock what they want to, in the order they want it unlocked.

If you want more news, I’d highly suggest going right to the source on Kickstarter! And for timely updates, consider pledging. Just $1 gets you all of the news as soon as it comes out and access to the Print and Play files.

meettheteam

Thanks!

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

May 042015
 

Kick The Box

May 4th Edition

Beginning of May and no signs of slowing down in the board game genre of Kickstarter. In fact, It may be picking up steam as we roll into the spring and summer months. This week we take a look at a deck building(or is it a deck deconstruction?) card game, a set collecting, tile laying board game, some beautiful dice boxes, and an alternate universe miniatures game. A little bit of something for everyone this week. Check out the news and than see who it is that made this week’s picks!

Kickstarter News: The Siblings Trouble is fully funded! Congratulations Edo! Now time to start unlocking some of those stretch goals! Matthew O’Malley’s Knot Dice campaign ended, raising over$97,000! Dragon Scales Coins – Wave 1 has reached over 100 backers and halfway to it’s funding goal with over 3 weeks still left in their campaign!

Cauldron: A board game of competitive alchemy

Project By: Artem Safarov

Cauldron is a game about collecting ingredients and creating potions. Each character has a unique ability so players can tailor their game style to their liking.

Players are trying to harvest ingredients, create potions, and cast spells in this 2-5 player game. They will gain victory points by creating said potions, but will also have to spend those valuable points to increase the board size for more ingredient options, or buy potions that will score you more points, or spells that can help you or hinder your opponents.

Many well known reviewers have given Cauldron high praise as an easy to teach, gateway game with the perfect mixture of  luck and strategy. Games generally  last between 60-90 minutes depending on the player count.

If you want to learn more about Cauldron, be sure to check out this Fridays(May 8th) podcast. Artem Safarov, the designer of Cauldron, drops by and talks about his game, Kickstarter, his mentors in the Kickstarter World, and much, much more.

Xenon Profiteer

Project By: Gryphon and Eagle Games

Xenon Profiteer is designed by TC Petty III (Viva Java: The Coffee Game, Viva Java: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game). In this 2014 Ion Award Winning Game, players are trying to refine their Xenon mining skills.

In most games with a deck building mechanic, scrapping, or discarding cards is simply a type of strategy to help get rid of starter cards or any other cards that aren’t useful to you anymore. In Xenon Profiteer, it’s not a strategy, but the main mechanic used to mine Xenon.

Real quick explanation. During the course of the game, you will have to add “air”(four cards with four different elements, Nitrogen, Krypton, Xenon and Oxygen) to your “system” (your drawing deck). The only element that is worth anything to you is Xenon. The other elements are junk and you will have to distill it out of your system. You do this by drawing five cards to your hand. You are wanting to discard all the elements out of your hand and only have Xenon remaining so you can place it in your tableau in front of you. Of course, there are rules to how, which elements, and when you can do this. You can distill only one type of element out of your hand most turns and they can only be distilled in a certain order. This is where collecting money, buying contracts and upgrades will help you break the rules of the game to make your mining more efficient.

Some interesting concepts and an unique twist to the deck building genre. For a more in-depth look at the game, be sure to check out their campaign page.

The Adventure Case: the Ultimate Tabletop Gaming Accessory

Project By: Dog Might Games

Dog Might Games has another amazing campaign underway with their latest hand made wood projects. This time they have upped the ante of their last Dice Box campaign with their latest creation, The Adventure Case.

The Adventure Case has been in prototype for over a year now. It is a storage space for your gaming supplies, a dice box, a rolling tray, and a screen for hiding your rolls.

Of course, as with all of Dog Might Games creations, The Adventure Case is made out of solid wood, beautiful, and fully customizable. There are several different types of wood to choose, from Natural White Ash to Demon’s Blood Hickory. You can also have the dice tray lined with your choice of color of felt or suede. And that’s not all. They have several decorative metal symbols and amazing looking wooden symbols to choose from to have mounted on the outside of the lid with your choice of orientation. They also have a small variety of different colored lighting options for the inside of your adventure case as well.

For an example of their fine work, you can check out my full review of the Deck Box they sent me for review a year ago. It holds my well-used Star Realms deck and still looks great today.

With their high quality craftsmanship, keen eye to detail, and customer service, Dog Might Games has established themselves as one of the best companies to go to for your customized gaming needs.

CLOCKWORK ARMADA

Project By: Game Fleet Productions

Clockwork Armada has an interesting art style and appeals to the little kid in me with it’s retro, steam punk design. Add a dash of Space Battleship Yamato(aka Star Blazers) thrown in for good measure and it’s hard to say, “No.”

In this alternate reality of flat worlds and earth defying logic, different alien factions having taken inspiration from early naval vessel designs when they created their fleets of death. Each ships weaponry outfitting can be customized for their needs. They can be outfitted with different types of cannons, shield generators, launch bays, and more.

Ships different quadrants have strengths and weaknesses. Players will have to out maneuver their opponents in order to take advantage of the ships weaknesses.

Clockwork Armada looks like it has an unique mixture of naval and space combat mechanics that may help it stand out on it’s own if it is able to get the funding needed.

That’s it for this week! Is there any Kickstarter projects that said to you “Shut up and take my money!” Let me know down below in the comments!

About Jason Hancock

Ever since my early childhood I've had a love for card and board games.I am now married with two children that have moved out of the house and on to their own lives. This new phase of life has rekindled the old passion of tabletop gaming and lucky enough to have a wife who enjoys it also.

May 012015
 
Coming to Kickstarter on May 6th!

Coming to Kickstarter on May 6th!

Ahh, the swamp. It’s a dangerous place, full of intrigue, hidden treasures, secret motives and one very large crocodile. It’s also my first professionally published game! For 2-4 players, ages 13+ playing in 20-30 minutes.

Swamped is coming to Kickstarter on May 6th from Bellwether Games! A semi-cooperative game of adventure, peril and Treasure where players are moving through a swamp searching for a rare herb that can cure diseases. Each player takes a turn steering the boat to find the herb. But the swamp has many other treasures as well so players may try to steer the boat away from its intended goal to increase their own wealth.

Check out that art!

Check out that art!

In the game, players navigate their shared vessel through a dangerous water-logged jungle in search of lucrative natural resources. Your expressed goal is to help “save the world,” but as time runs out, your own secret motives may lead everyone into deadly peril. Secret motives you say? Each player takes on the role of one of many characters in the game.

Let’s meet the Photojournalist, one of the characters from the game. The photojournalist was hired to document the mission and tell the world about the team’s amazing adventure into the swamp. Why? Well, the employer wants the world to know what great lengths it takes to find and create life-saving chemicals. It’s great publicity, and the photojournalist is a highly skilled photographer who can tell the story better than anyone. The only problem? The photojournalist has traveled some of the most dangerous paths in the world already and believes this swamp is a “piece of cake” in comparison. So, deeper and deeper in the swamp we go…Will we get out? Nobody knows…

The Photojournalist

The Photojournalist

The game ends when players escape the swamp with three herbs (and other treasures), when the swamp crocodile attacks the boat, or when the card pile is exhausted (leaving players stranded in the swamp).

So what else can I tell you about this game? Dennis from Bellwether Games and I have been collaborating on this game for a year and a half and I think it really shows. Jonathan Logan Clark (who did the artwork and graphic design for Bellwether’s Antidote) has also been doing a fantastic job with the artwork, as you can see!

The game takes much of what we love about some of the larger box games that run $40-$80 and boils it down to a micro-game sized package. Don’t let the size fool you though because there’s a lot of game in the box, and you’ll be able to get it for far less than the $40-$80 price tag.

Want to know more as soon as you can? Here’s what you can do! Stop by the Swamped page on Facebook (and like us while you’re there too). Check out the game on Board Game Geek and keep your eyes on Kickstarter for our May 6th launch!

 

 

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

Apr 272015
 

kigi

A wealthy patron commissions a lovely landscape mural, hiring the greatest (and most competitive) painters in the world… you!

Designed by Daniel Solis and published by Smart Play Games, for 2-5 players ages 10+

Kigi is a rare blend of artistic creation and strategic game play, wrapped into a $9 card game. Game play is fairly simple – build an artistic rendering of a beautiful tree using non-grid card placement. That means that as long as you’re constructing a viable looking tree, you can place cards anywhere! It’s a great way to break out of the traditional mode of tile or card building games. Branches will spring up from your root tree in amazing and strange directions as you try to accumulate points. You earn points by stringing together consecutive elements – colorful flowers or artistic insects.

The game encourages interaction as you can add to your own tree, or to other players. Add in a card collection element where you can prune branches 10 cards long or longer and throw in some interesting goals (called Commissions) players can acquire along the way and you have a fantastic game.

Playing and creating with Kigi.

Playing and creating with Kigi.

Highly replayable, full of interesting choices and simple play leading to more complex strategies. My 9 year old absolutely adores this game and it also makes a great addition to the table when it’s the older crowd playing.

Kigi takes about 15-20 minutes to play once you get through your initial learning game. It has the added bonus of taking existing cards and creating new, flowing pieces of art right on your game table even as you’re working to outscore other players and earn the most precious thing of all – points!

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.