FTW Staff Picks - Dice Forge August 14 2017
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Designer: Régis Bonnessée
Player Size: 2 to 4 Players
Game Length: 40 minutes
For fans of: Dominion, Machi Koro
One of the hot new releases of the year, Dice Forge has quickly found favour among the staff here at FTW. Its contents and package may look intimidating at first, but what you'll find inside is a solid gateway experience, quite similar to games you may have already played. Dice Forge boasts its unique "dice-crafting" experience that allows players to dynamically alter the sides of their dice. But in essence, the game is a deck-building game with the 12 different sides representing 12 cards in your "deck". That being said, the experience it provides is unique and warrants its gimmick as more than such.
In Dice Forge, players have 7 rounds to accumulate the most points. Each player begins the game with the same two starting dice each. As the game progresses players will have the ability to swap out the individual faces of each side of the dice, replacing them with more powerful results. Each round, players take turns being the Active Player who will perform actions on their turn. However, even players who are not the Active Player will begin each turn by rolling their dice to accumulate resources & points. Players will also have the opportunity to activate Heroic Feats which provide benefits that will either come into play immediately, or over the course of the game.
Dice Forge is a newbie-friendly approach to deck-building as the game will naturally thin out the weaker "cards" in the "deck". A lot of the time, deck-builders can feel slow if a player isn't keeping efficiency in mind. Because you are constantly replacing faces on the dice, the element of basic efficiency is built-in to the mechanics of the game. Like all dice games, you are always at the mercy of randomness, but there is still strategy in how you choose to build your individual dice. Altogether, the mechanics of the game are very neat and well thought-out. You can see the areas where the game can grow, if they choose to expand in the future. But as it stands, Dice Forge stands as an entry-level game for newcomers to the hobby.
The insert is amazingly detailed and fits all of the components like a glove. Unfortunately, it makes for a bit of a tedious cleanup, but it actually makes the setup of the game quicker when it's packed away properly; a fair trade. There's more than enough room for whatever future components they intend to add to the game, so this box should likely be all you ever need.
When Régis Bonnessée came out with Lords of Xidit, I had such high hopes as he was coming off one of my favourite games in Seasons. Sadly, it wasn't the game that I was hoping for. That's not to say it was a bad game, it just didn't satisfy that same type of itch. With Dice Forge, I'm happy to say that it's more along the lines of what I was hoping for. It's nowhere near as deep or varied of an experience as Seasons, but it has such a solid foundation that I'm hopeful for the inevitable expansions that are coming in the near future. This one's sure to find a place on our end of year list, and possibly future years if it's handled as well as Seasons growth. It's an already great game, with an even greater outlook.
Most Anticipated Games - August 2017 Edition August 04 2017
Each month at For The Win Board Game Cafe, we're going to be taking a look at a few future releases that we're really excited about. From new games, to expansions, to Kickstarters we'll be covering it all monthly.
At this point, I'm typically more surprised when Eric M. Lang's name isn't attached to a project alongside some other well-known developer. This time around he's joined forces with Bruno Faidutti; best known for his role-type games in Citadels and Mascarade. Together they're bringing us another hidden role, team game in Secrets. The game is so easy it can probably be learned in less than 5 minutes, to any level of gamer.
At the beginning of each game, players are given a role at random. They will either belong to the CIA, the KGB or the Hippies. The CIA want to defeat the KGB, the KGB want to defeat the CIA and the Hippies just want to rebel against the man and score the worst. On a player's turn they must offer one of two Agent cards to another player. If that player accepts, they receive the Agent card's points and benefits. If they decline, the card is given to the player who offered it instead. Each Agent card has its own effects as well as points (positive & negative). The effects vary from swapping players' roles, peeking at a player's role, and other Mascarade-type things. The whole thing kind of reminds me of a mix between Shadow Hunters, Bang! and Mascarade.
Secrets is expected sometimes this August.
The 7th Continent
In September 2015, the Kickstarter campaign was launched for The 7th Continent. Their initial shipping estimate was October 2016. After several delays, the game has just finally started shipping and getting into the hands of its backers. Their promise of 1000+ minutes of adventure was lengthy. They didn't have the history or resume to inspire much hope that they could deliver on their aspirations. But the game is starting to receive its first impressions and reviews, and they are glowing to say the least.
It may have taken them 2 years to get it together, but it seems like The 7th Continent is everything it was built up to be. The game is a choose-your-own adventure style campaign that can easily save your progress between games. There are quite a few of those types of games out now, but none seem to have the breadth of content that The 7th Continent appears to offer. There have been a handful of bad news surrounding delays of Kickstarters in the past, so its nice when a game manages to persevere amidst the negativity.
The 7th Continent is still currently fulfilling Kickstarter shipments. There's no wide distribution information as of yet, but given the popularity of the game it is likely to be available to all gamers sometimes in 2018.
Tiny Epic Quest
Tiny Epic Quest boasts their claim to being the first to bring us "the world's first multi-item-holding meeples". Great? I mean it sounds kind of silly, and looks equally so, but I guess it's an achievement nonetheless. The guys behind the Tiny Epic games have been riding the wave for a long time now. Within the last 3 years, they have pumped out 5 different IPs under the brand, with dozens of expansions for them all. Tiny Epic Quest is their first real attempt at changing the formula beyond just the theme.
Instead of the typical 4x structure of their games, Tiny Epic Quest is more of a sandbox adventure game. Players take control of 3 heroes that they send on quests to complete missions and acquire treasures. It's got a real Zelda/Elder Scrolls look and feel to it. I was never enticed by their other offerings, but Tiny Epic Quest looks like something more up my alley.
Tiny Epic Quest has fulfilled their Kickstarter shipments and will be available for wide release within the next few months.
Something about islands always seems to want to make gamers work together. Spirit Island is a cooperative game that supposedly promises quite a bit of complexity. Typically when I think of cooperative games, they tend to be on the lighter side with a few exceptions (Robinson Crusoe). Instead of acting as people on a board, each player takes the role of a different spirit from the island. The goal is to drive away foreign invaders. Taking the role of nature vs the humans, is a an interesting twist on the cooperative genre. Sometimes you get tired of playing the "hero". I just want to do a bit of destroying from time to time.
Spirit Island arrives sometime in Q4 2017.
A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game
People, CoolMiniorNot is making a board game around a Song of Ice and Fire's universe (aka Game of Thrones). I know we just covered a Game of Thrones board game in our last Most Anticipated Games, but 'tis the season. A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game is a tactics style, head-to-head miniature game that pits the many houses of Westeros against one another. The starter set comes with House Lannister and Stark, but I would imagine we'll get all the prominent houses.
Eric M. Lang will oversee the project as the head of CMoN, and alongside him will be Michael Shinall, the man who brought us Rum & Bones. For as little as I've played Rum & Bones, I thoroughly enjoyed it. If Shinall can successfully translate a lot of the cool things he did there with A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game, we'll be in for a treat. And hey, on the extremely unlikely chance that the game is a bust, at least you'll have all these sweet minis.
Click here to visit the Kickstarter page. A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game is expected in April 2018.