Posted on September 13th, 2013

Well I think we have hit the tail end of new releases coming from GenCon. We’ll have a few good ones hitting the shelves in the next few months, with Firefly being the one most people are waiting for. Others to watch for soon are the Kennerspiel des Jahres nominee, Palaces of Carrara, as well as reprints of Terra Mystica and Robinson Crusoe. For everything but Carrara, if you want a copy from us, get us your preorders (at 20% off as always) because quantities will be very limited and we will not see additional print runs before the end of the year.

Below are highlights of what is currently parked on the new release table. In addition to these games, we received restocks on both our Ravensburger and Pomegranate puzzles, and look for the awesome Eurographics puzzle line to hit our shelves soon (not sure where we’re gonna fit all those):

Bora Bora: Yes, another Stefan Feld game, and it looks like his last for some time. He’s a school teacher so I’m guessing he had a few very productive summers and that’s why we’re seeing two solid years of Feld releases. Bora Bora is a typical Feld game: insignificant theme, a mashup of mechanics, and thousands of ways to score victory points. Still, I think it stands out as one of the best of his mashup games, with huge replay value due to the many paths to victory and strong competition at all places on the board.

Spyrium: Shortly on the heels of the re-release of Caylus we have a new game by William Attia. This is a worker placement style game set in a steampunk version of England. Spyrium is a valuable resource, and processing it and selling it earns you victory points. Unlike other worker placement games, placing your workers does not necessarily let you perform an action, and each player decides independently when to switch from placing workers to activating theme. Sounds like a lot of game in a small box and at a great price.

Cardline, Animals: Timeline from Asmodee publishing is one of our best selling family games. Now Asmodee has taken the Timeline concept to the animal kingdom. In Cardline, you’ll be given a hand of cards, all depicting animals, and the back of each card, which you cannot peek at, lists the animal’s height, weight, and length. The goal is to get rid of all your cards first by correctly lining up your animal cards in the center of the table according to the chosen attribute. Great art and intuitive gameplay is guaranteed to give Asmodee another huge hit. I’m predicting that the Timeline and Cardline games are going to be the next hobby game lines to hit big box shelves.

Jungle Ascent: Nobody has heard of this game, but I could not resist bringing it in. It reminds a bit of Donkey Kong with many players racing to the top of the board, but those crushing barrels and critters are coming from other players! Sounds like a blast to play with litle geeks.

Happy gaming everyone!

Posted on September 5th, 2013

Well GenCon is finished and the hot new titles are making their way to stores. Here’s a list of what we’ve received during the past few weeks:

Lords of Waterdeep, Scoundrels of Skullport expansion: The fast and fun Dungeons and Dragons themed european style worker placement game just got better with a box of expansion items. The best is the new corruption resource, which will count against you at the end of the game based on the total taken by all players. This adds an interesting wrinkle to the term resource management. The new lords, quests, buildings, and intrigue cards all add to the depth as well. This is one expansion we’ll be playing with every time now. If you have not tried the original game, do yourself a favor. The hardcore gamers stay away from this one, so you know its fun!

Yedo: This game is being described as Lords of Waterdeep in Japan. Just like Lords of Waterdeep, you’ll be gathering resources to complete missions and earn prestige points. You’ll also have the opportunity to do some trading, and of course, mess with other clan leader’s plans. Look for this on the rental shelf soon, and possible a demo session this Sunday, interested?.

Caylus: The classic worker placement and building game is back with a great new look. Again, comparisons have been made between this classic and Lords of Waterdeep. Where Waterdeep is a perfect for a more casual strategy experience, Caylus will push your tiny little neurons to their processing limits. Grab this new version and throw yourself a little Caylabration!

 

Trains: Love deckbuilding? Trains is for you. Take the variety of Dominion and add the ability to use your cards to build train routes on the board and you have Trains. Still light and fast like Dominion, but with more depth. Look for this one on the rental shelf as well.

 

 

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: The folks at Paizo, publishers of the ultimate fantasy roleplying system, have hit a home run with this card game. Experience the Rise of the Runelords campaign as a solo experience, or cooperatively with some buddies. Between each scenario, customize your hero’s deck with some of hte new loot you hopefully collected. Paizo has developed a solid game with very unique card play and interactivity. Working on getting this to the rental shelf as well.

Krosmaster Arena: I’ve talked about this wacky little Japanime game before. I shouldn’t love it but I do. It is a tactical miniatures game, but so much cuter and more colorful. It feels silly to like it as much as I do, but so be it. This one is now on the rental shelf, and it has perhaps the best rulebook we’ve ever seen with built in tutorials. Check this one out for a refreshing change!

 

Happy gaming everyone!

Posted on August 28th, 2013

Our August vacations, both planned and unplanned, are now over, and we’re getting back into the swing of things, just in time because the new games are flooding us. I’m going to try and talk a bit more about those on friday.

Right now though, I want to discuss 2 things: the change in feeling toward Kickstarter and my unexpected love affair with Krosmaster Arena.

So when this whole Kickstarter thing got going for board games, everyone was excited, including me. Alien Frontiers and Eminent Domain were two games that sprang to life via crowdfunding, and I still thoroughly enjoy both of them. In fact, Alien Frontiers is absolutely my favorite Kickstarter game to date. Trouble is, those two games were released over 2 years ago.

Since those releases, we’ve seen a few years of, in my opinion, pretty lackluster games. As a retailer, the past few years of Kickstarter titles are largely no-sellers, but even worse, as a consumer I have found nothing of value to fund.

While I grew increasingly bitter about Kickstarter titles during the past few years, it seemed like everyone else was frantically spending more than their paycheck on every title that popped onto the site, especially anything with miniatures. Even worse, my favorite podcasts were overrun by announcements for new Kickstarter games, and the podcasters were slobbering over how awesome a game looked. I heard almost nothing about how the games played though, largely because none of them were produced yet.

I have felt strangely out of place. I felt guilty about my lack of interest in new Kickstarter projects (which, by the way, was nearly one per day last year). It felt a bit like being in a sci fi or zombie movie where most people turn into slaves to some corporation or infection, but some are able to resist, just to feel very out of place and vulnerable.

Presently, the mood is shifting though. The number of Kickstarter projects that go wrong is increasing, and backers may not receive a refund on their investment. Also, many kickstarter products are finally hitting gamer’s tables, and more and more I am hearing a sense of disappointment after playthroughs. Podcasters are actually now encouraging listeners to hesitate on purchases, or just not fund games. One of my favorite podcasters has now vowed to stop funding games entirely. Even the organizer of a list of top ten Kickstarter titles sounded a little sad when he posted this:

“I am no longer keeping up with this geeklist. I am not interested in Miniature games and since the top ten has been taken over by them this list no longer interests me.” (Despite his disappointment, Kickstarter has positively changed the landscape of the miniatures game market by broadening our choices).

This mood swing feels dramatic to me, it has almost happened overnight. I expected the current attitude to take shape much earlier, but now I realize that it could not because no one had actually played the games they funded. Thousands of dollars had been spent by backers but they had no idea of the true value of their investment. Now many are discovering that they overvalued the products. The games they received are not bad, just maybe not worth the hype, and not worth spending that $10-20 extra per game to get a few extra fancy bits for a game that won’t get played much.

Many Kickstarter games receive high ratings, but I feel they are being compared only to other kickstarter games. A game may get a 7, but in the grander scheme its really a 5, and that 7 rating often just helps with the sense of sadness we feel for funding something we don’t want to play more than once.

The new attitude is healthy. I am not against Kickstarter, but it needs to be viewed and treated accurately. Kickstarter is primarily a tool for people with no professional experience to produce products. Despite the awesome graphics, cool minis, and sometimes flashy videos, the game designs are generally coming from amateurs, people ust like you and me. How many people at your game night have told you that they are working on a game, nearly everyone right? Well that’s who we’re funding. This isn’t a terrible thing, but I am glad that the current mood is shifting towards more serious contemplation before funding a project.

I feel we have some responsibility as investors to weed out the flops. The recent dissapointments and failures are making us better at this. I hope that we can reach, or even surpass, the level of scrutiny that publishers apply.

Having said all this, I am now smitten with a game that by all accounts I should never have purchased for myself. The game is Krosmaster Arena. It is a Kickstarted game, a tactical miniatures game, and a Japanime game, all serious red flags for me. But after playing the tutorials with Mrs. Cloud Cap during our unplanned stay in crappy motels, I am in love, and I will be recklessly adding expansions to my copy of the game. The rulebook shows off deluxe versions of the terrain and special critters used in the game, completely uneccessary, but I want them all because I really think it will add to the already awesome gaming experience.

The game is definitely tactical, but with the luck of dice. In addition to the gameplay, the colors and characters are extremely appealing. I have not yet played a full game, and it will be a pretty long game, but I cannot wait to pull it out.

Whatever your gaming tastes, I recommend giving Krosmaster a try, which will be easier once we get our rental copy. together.

Happy Gaming everyone!

Posted on July 27th, 2013

The long delay between blog posts is a strong indication that summer is really here, which means flies are hatching on the rivers, and my days off are spent tricking trout instead of writing updates.

That does not mean I have not been working hard to get the new goodies that are trickling through distribution channels. We’ve had a few cool new releases during the past few weeks:

  • Netrunner Creation and Control, the big expansion that everyone has been asking about forever, perhaps even before the base game was released.
  • Boss Monster, a card game about creating a side-scrolling 8-bit video game level, then luring hapless adventurers into your traps. Very, very cool looking.
  • The Magic 2014 core set, I have to at least mention it right?
  • Sushi Go, a nifty little card game by the designer of Archaeology that feels like 7 Wonders with sushi.
  • Suburbia, the Sim City board game, is back in print.

The largest US gaming convention, GenCon, is coming soon, so we’ll be seeing many more new titles arriving in the fall. Here are a few of the hottest ones to look into and consider preordering through us (rather than the online sites you’ll find if you click on the game titles. If you come in and ask nicely we’ll tell you about our preorder special for FLGS fans):

OK, that’s it for a few weeks. The Cloud Cap couple will be in Montana for a while, so we’ll get another blog out when we return. Enjoy the fantastic weather everyone!

Posted on June 28th, 2013

Here comes the heat, get ready. We’ll be getting ready by putting the swamp cooler in the window and trying not to break any backs in the process.

Now, while the heat is somewhat new, we have nothing new to talk about in the board game world. As far as new releases go, this year is shaping up to be a bit lackluster relative to last year. The first quarter of 2013 had some great new games, like Tzolkin, CO2, Archipelago, and Terra Mystica. The second quarter is coming to a close this weekend, and I can’t even think of a true new game that stood out in the quarter.

Sure, we did finally get Hanabi, Morels, and Kings of Air and Steam on the shelf, all enjoyable games, but those games aren’t really new, just new for the brick and mortar stores. We did get some great new expansions for Marvel Legendary, Manhattan Project, and Dominion. Coming up though, besides Forbidden Desert and the Lords of Waterdeep expansion, we have very little to look forward to. Yedo, Bora Bora, Robinson Crusoe, Bruge, and Augustus are all slated for release soon, but it is honestly just impossible to know if that will actually happen.

Do not despair though, there is no lack of great games on our shelves. Tonight I’ll be diving in to the Galaxy Trucker Anniversary Edition, very excited to finally get this to the table. If you have not played Galaxy Trucker yet, you just might be missing out on a very unique experience. Stay far away if you are a Eurosnob who relies on games to boost your ego because Galaxy Trucker will not provide the therapy you need. But if you can handle some serious emotional highs and lows, and you play games to have fun rather than impress yourself or your opponents, give this wild space ship building and destroying game a try. We’ll be working on getting a rental copy available soon.

Other games we will be or have been playing include Shogun, Last Will, Lords of Waterdeep, Stronghold, and Edo.

In other news, this weekend we kick off our first Netrunner League, there may still be spots available so contact us if you are interested. This first league will run for 4 Saturdays, 1-4pm each day, and costs $10, all of which goes towards prize support.

Finally, there is still room in our summer Pathfinder camps. If you have or know of any budding heroes who may be interested, give us a call.

Stay cool everyone!

Posted on June 21st, 2013

Summer is here and the new game drought is over. Not that older games are to be ignored, but hey, we’re all human, and we love new shiny stuff. Come take a look at them today, but watch out for the electrician on the ladder installing ceiling fans, finally!

Now, a disclaimer before you read further. I am trying to make these posts both informative and fun to read, which means I can get a bit snarky for entertainment purposes. Please don’t take anything I write too seriously, and feel free to flame away in the comments section.

We have some sad news, it looks like we are going to have to reschedule the Netrunner League since we have very few signed up, and every one of those folks can’t make half the sessions. While we know that week nights would work best for all the players, it just would not be profitable for our silly little operation, so we’ll see what we can do. If you are interested at all, we can take your email and keep you posted on any developments.

Speaking of silly, I’d like to discuss an interesting little ironic tidbit. We have always been outcast from the larger Portland board gaming community because of our commitment to a family-friendly environment and product selection. Now, with our implementation of a pay-to-play punch card system for game nights, we have officially reached pariah status. Despite this status, we know more about the board game products we carry than any other store in the city, and we personally host some of the best game nights in the city. Our life would be so much easier if we just decided to be a serious game store, but we enjoy games too much to compromise, so we’re staying silly!

New Arrivals
Munchkin Legends: This is a new expansion for Munchkin, wait.. wait.. wait.. just got word, we can’t carry this new Munchkin game, its a Target exclusive, apparently a thank you gift to Target for all the hard work they’ve done promoting modern tabletop games. Hobby game shops will just have to work harder I guess.

Dominion Guilds: This is it folks, the epic deck-building franchise finally comes to a close with the release of the Guild expansion. I’m sure there will be beer mugs, keychains, and T-Shirts to keep the name alive, but apparently no more card sets will hit the shelves following this one. Love it or hate it, Dominion has had a major impact on the accelerated growth of the modern board game hobby, and it really hasn’t even hit the big box stores yet. Maybe Steve Jackson could help Rio Grande with this. Seriously though, Dominion is one of 5 older games that lead to my current profession, the other 4 are Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Agricola, and El Grande. I know, such a silly list, where’s Caylus and Puerto Rico? Oh yeah, collecting dust on my shelves.

Kings of Air and Steam: This is the latest release from Tasty Minstrel Games, perhaps one of the best publisher names ever. This baby was Kickstarted, so you probably heard a lot about it last year and have now lost all interest (part of a smart strategy by TMG, as explained here) or you already have your copy with a few extra cards and your name in the rulebook. But this game actually looks cool, essentially a steampunkish pick up and deliver game with some very interesting elements. Despite their reliance on Kickstarter, Tasty Minstrel has brought some quality products to store shelves and this looks to be no exception. We’ll have it for demo this Saturday, then it hits the rental shelf.

Finally, 3 new expansions have been released: Marvel Legendary: Dark City, Manhattan Project: Second Stage, and Spartacus: The Serpent and the Wolf.

Happy Friday everyone!