Category Archives: Gaming Buzz

News and event info.

Splendor Expansion details released prior to GenCon

I intended to write a post about how much I enjoy getting a sneak peek of upcoming releases at the UK Games Expo and how one of this year’s highlight was a chance to see the Splendor Expansion modules ahead of their release at Gen Con. However, Asmodee have released some of the details on their website yesterday for all to enjoy, in this news page

What I can tell you is the expansion includes 4 very different modules. It’s recommended that you only add one module at a time when playing as they each change the game play substantially.

Although I was only able to witness the Orient version first hand. I did get to read the rules and examine the components for each of the modules. I have to say, I’m impressed. Although some elements seem to be added in for the sake of it (coconuts that permanently mimic the gem you associate them with?!?) many are well thought out and add very interesting new styles of play. Some add in powers of conversion to assist your engine building, there are more ‘screw you’ mechanics like blocking a card with a Stronghold so only you can buy it, being allowed to reserve a Nobel for the first time or even stealing cards and others change the whole object of the game (replace Nobels with Cities and the first city built triggers the end game).

Mostly what I’m impressed with is the fact that the modules add an extra depth to the game, the complexity creep is minimal and, most importantly, it retains the feeling of playing Splendor.

 

If you didn’t like it before these modules are not likely to change your mind (although they may sway a few). However, if you do already like it, I think you’re going to welcome these additions. Especially as they allow you to tailor your game to suit more favoured styles of play – either because you want to explore new strategies or because your gaming group prefers games that have ‘….’. Whatever the reason, this is an expansion in it’s truest sense. More of the same, but different

You can head over to the Asmodee news page to read a little more, or ask me very nicely to see the photos I took of the rule book.

First thoughts on UK Games Expo 2016 day 1

The first time I attended UK Games Expo (UKGE) I didn’t really know what to expect. I had visions of an E3 type affair with excited publishers on stage, whipping up hype for their upcoming games. Maybe a tonne of bargain priced games or exclusive promos.

This was not, and is not, the case, but was I disappointed with what I did find? … No. UKGE, for me is a chance to spend time with friends, to try out games before you buy and generally have fun. Yes you’ll be largely paying online prices for stuff, but you’re not paying postage fees and I guarantee you’ll see something  you won’t have stumbled across otherwise. Plus, there are bargains to be had.

Each year, like a much loved terrapin (probably named after a TMNT member), the UKGE has to grown to fit whatever space is given to it and is all the stronger for it. Even the vast hotel could no longer contain it. So this year, it’s 10th anniversary year, it has had another step change and moved into the humongous NEC 1. The trade hall is massively bigger… but is it better?…

Continue reading First thoughts on UK Games Expo 2016 day 1

Carcassonne news from UK Games Expo

It’s the last day of the UK Games Expo 2015 here at the Birmingham Metropole and I have just walked out of a seminar on the success of Carcassonne.

I was hoping to share photos with you. However, as there were prototypes on display, photography was understandably forbidden.
I can tell you that there are 3 stand alone Carcassonne games due to be released this year. The largest of which is… Star Wars!

Disney control much of the look feel of the game, but Klaus-Jurgen thankfully has complete control of the rules. It’s the familiar tile laying placement of Carcassonne only with dice based battles along flight paths (roads) and planets. Will it retain the iconic meeple piece or have a trademarked ship/token? No one is certain and we’ll have to wait and see!

The second game shown has a working title of ‘across country’ and is aimed at family market. The background is countryside and you build fields instead of cities. Each field can grow a crop and you get bonus points for growing all five types. Also there is a new mechanic where meeples move along roads as you build them.

The third one shown was the ONLY prototype in existence as it was hands drawn by the designer himself. Amazonas starts with one large river tile and you place tiles to extend it, build villages along side, form tributary rivers and move boats around docks.

It’s great that there are still fresh ideas in the Carcassonne family as it celebrates 15 years next year. The audience was very keen to have Germany’s famous ‘Carcassonne on tour’ at the expo next year when it upscales to be in the NEC. It may well come to pass.

Watch this space as this Carcassonne fan-boy will be sure to tell you!

For me, this is one of the joys of attending the UK Games Expo. The panels are often informative, always enjoyable and sometimes, like this, allows you to connect with the designers and publishers.

Ticket to Wonders?

In a move which surprised many, Asmodee announced last week that, although referring to it as a merger, they have essentially bought out Days of Wonder (DoW).

asmodee logo2So should we be worried about this conglomerate reducing the gaming diversity? Almost certainly not. Asmodee, the publishers, are actually a part of the Asmodee group – who are also game distributors and have had a relationship with DoW’ since its inception in 2002. It’s hoped that the acquisition will strengthen this partnership rather than absorb it. Essentially Asmodee will benefit from the US market which DoW enjoys.

 

 

DoW logoShould we be concerned about our beloved titles being discontinued or, at least not being supported with expansions or later editions? Again almost certainly not. It is the stated intention of the group to maintain the two separate publishing and development houses but merely operate under the single umbrella. DoW have several strong titles – Ticket to Ride, Small World and Memoir 44 to name 3 titles spawning a series of games. This is part of what made DoW a desirable acquisition and there would be no logical reason to not capitalise on this investment.

 

small world 2 appIf they needed yet another selling point then DoW has been leading the way in the digital realm. Once again their flagship Ticket to Ride performs extremely well as a board game app and is frequently in the top-lists. Furthermore the Kickstarter campaign for the Small World 2 app more than doubled its target funding and went on to produce an excellent product which also has strong sales and supports and active community of players. It’s no wonder that Mark Kaufmann, one of the two DoW founders is quoted as saying “As they [Asmodee] expand into the digital realm, they feel that our digital design team will be a key asset.”

 

7 wondersGenerally the feeling is very positive regarding this merger with the only area for concern being that the DoW founders Kaufmann and Hautemont will only stay with DoW for an unspecified transition period. Whilst the company was built on their ethos of providing family friendly gaming of a premium quality at a reasonable price, once again there is no reason to think this should change. Asmodee have a track record in providing much the same thing with titles like 7 Wonders and Dixit, just with a stronger European foothold.

 

It is more than likely that we consumers will notice very little change, if any at all.

Kickstarters Anonymous

Welcome to our first meeting everyone. This is a safe place. A place to talk about our Kickstarter addiction.

We’ve all been there; you back a project, and then feverishly check your emails for those beautiful project updates. Stretch goals! Free stuff! It’s a wonderful time. But then the delays come. ‘Manufacturing problems’, ‘delayed shipping’, ‘my business partner stole all my money’ (seriously, this happened on a project I backed).

So let’s share some gaming projects! Projects we’ve backed, projects we love, projects that have let us down in spectacular ways. I’ll begin with some I’m backing at the moment. Continue reading Kickstarters Anonymous

Soapbox: Kickstarter Exclusives

Are Kickstarter campaigns with one-shot exclusives creating a two-tier gaming community? Those who have the regular games and the “Kickstarter elite” who can afford both the time and the money that the higher tiers require? Is this even a problem? Our very own John shares his views:

What follows are my reflections on my changing opinion as a direct result of interacting with some of our followers on Facebook.

On the FATB Facebook page I expressed minor disappointment with a Kickstarter campaign by an established publisher. It related to a fully developed game which would be published regardless of crowd funding and no content was exclusive to Kickstarter. Essentially the campaign was a way of ensuring pre-orders and recouping development costs as quickly as possible. I expressed that whilst I didn’t think this was ‘wrong’, it wasn’t in the spirit of Kickstarter.

Continue reading Soapbox: Kickstarter Exclusives