Stone Blade Entertainment
Ascension is my favorite deck-builder game that's out there. I've got damn-near every card for it in a whole bunch of card boxes right over there *points over to my gaming shelf*. How could this game get even better? How about adding in a full board game to it? That's just what Stone Blade Entertainment and Ultra Pro have done in Ascension Tactics. The game is up on Kickstarter now.
From the campaign:
The campaign's already well up and over its funding goal with 29 days left to go.
I've crawled out of my overeating haze just long enough to collect together some Black Friday/Holiday Sales that are happening now, collected all together for your convenience. Most are pretty fast, so don't wait!
The sale runs from 9am on Black Friday November 29th until midnight on Christmas Day. Below you will find all sorts of special deals across both our Sci-fi and Urban Apocalypse ranges. There are great value bundles and superb Christmas present suggestions for those on a tighter budget. But that's not all!
Spend £50 to receive a terrain product of your choice from our £4.99 range totally FREE*.
Spend £100 to receive a second £4.99 terrain product of your choice for FREE*.
Finally, every order placed during the sale will receive an exclusive plastic Core Space Turn Counter absolutely FREE.
These offers all work in conjunction with the bundle deals, free shipping offers, and any other discounts you may have. How much can you save?
Hi 😃 We have a special offer for you that will last until the end of the weekend 🙂
Black Friday Deals Exclusive Miniatures - New Products - Big Savings
Add some fantastic new games to your collections with our Black Friday sale, with 30% off a huge range of books, eBooks, and games! The offer ends on 2 December, so grab a great deal while you can
Save Big With Our BLACK FRIDAY SALE! 30% OFF Metal and Acrylic Dice, 20% OFF Gemstone Dice, and 10% OFF Accessories! Buy Now and Save - Ends 12/1 at Midnight!
Firelock Game's Black Friday sale is officially on! Just use this coupon code at check out to get 20% off of any product on our site: blackflagfriday2019
Coupon code is good until Cyber Monday, December 3rd at our website
*Black Friday coupon code will not work on any product that is already discounted.
SAVE 30% OFF FROM BLACK FRIDAY TO CYBER MONDAY!!!
That's right -- EVERYTHING on StoneBlade.com is THIRTY PERCENT OFF when you use the code IRONHEART! Plus, if you order more than $75 worth of games, promos, etc. you get FREE SHIPPING!
Thanks to an overwhelmingly positive response to our Black Friday sale, and an incoming restock about to arrive earlier than expected, we have decided to extend the sale through to the 8th of December. Make sure you have a suitably large plastic mountain in preparation for your Christmas holiday hobby time!
Shadow of Salvation is the latest expansion for the Shards of Infinity deck-building game from Stone Blade Entertainment. This new set doesn't just bring you new cards, but an entirely new way to play. You can play the regular style of the game, or you can join forces and work together in Cooperative Mode, making your way through a branching story as you work your way along. This new set is available now over on the Stone Blade website.
From the website:
The fate of the world is in your hands...
In Shards of Infinity: Shadow of Salvation, the third installment of the award-winning deck-building game, players can choose one of two modes to play! Play a classic game of Shards using the hero Rez's new Relics and Allies to take down your opponents in player vs. player battles OR heed the warning of the time-traveling Rez and play co-operatively in a new campaign mode to battle through a series of bosses with up to four of your friends!
In co-operative mode, you read from the innovative "Battle Book" which tells a branching story: As the time-traveling Rez, you must decide which threat to take on with your team. Every choice has a consequence, as does your success or failure against these growing threats.
From the website:
The world of vigil is warped by dreams and nightmares come to life. You must wield the power of the Dreamborn to battle back the forces of Delirium to save the realm.
Use insight to access powerful new Hero abilities and to roll the Delirium Die!
Recruit legendary heroes who have been warped by Delirium into new forms!
30 deluxe insight tokens
30 deluxe honor tokens
All-new Delirium die
PREORDER BONUS – Askara Templar promo card
From the announcement:
Stone Blade Entertainment is excited to announce our newest deckbuilding game, Shards of Infinity! We've been working on this one for over a year and it's finally time to lift the curtain!
Click the link below to learn more about how Allies, Champions, and Mercenaries will aid you in quest to gain Mastery over the Infinity Shard and defeat the opposition!
With a $19.99 price tag and a March 2018 release date, you'll want to keep an eye on that Facebook channel for news about organized play, tournaments, and some of our bigger plans for the future of the game!
From the post:
The Ultimate Collection of Ascension’s Entire Fourth Year!
Enjoy the fan-favorite sets released in Ascension’s fourth year with the Year Four Collector’s Edition! Battle as one of the games marquee characters with Champion cards and use the game’s first multi-faction cards to Rally and Multi-Unite for explosive turns! Play in Style – all 363 cards, and the over-sized Champion cards, are made with a premium foil finish! Beautiful cards and premium components make this the perfect centerpiece for your Ascension Collection.
This premium product includes “Ascension: Realms Unraveled” and “Ascension: Dawn of Champions”, as well as all two copies of the promo cards from that year. The set also includes 100% foil cards, foil game board, portable storage box, dividers, and an Honor token bag!
This boxed set is playable as a stand-alone 1-4 player game and is completely compatible with other Ascension expansions!
363 premium foil cards
70 Honor tokens
Honor token bag
Premium game board
Portable storage box
From the announcement:
Today's the big day! Ascension: Valley of the Ancients is officially available at all local game stores that are registered as Ultra PRO Pro Stores! You can check out new gameplay mechanics like Serenity and Echo, as well as interacting with your opponents by gaining (and stealing!) control of powerful Temples!
So, why are you still reading this? Call your local store and pick up a copy today! And, if your store hasn't registered as an official Pro Store, urge them to sign up today! You'll receive game releases a full week earlier than the competition!
Stone Blade Webshop
But issues with my waistline aside, I hope you're having a good weekend so far. I'm sure many of you are out gaming, which is awesome. But if you're stopping by here, I know it's because you want to check out those gaming reviews I know you all so desperately desire.
So, as I sip on a Pineapple Crush and wait for these bars to finish cooling, today we have: The Walking Dead: All Out War, Exit the Game, Legendary: X-Men Expansion, Orleans, Quantum, Race for the Galaxy App, First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet, Serengeti, Stone Age, Maze Racers, Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty's Trail, Memoarrr!, The Goonies Adventure Card Game, Photosynthesis, Incantris, Hafid's Grand Bazaar, Ascension X: War of Shadows, Fate of the Elder Gods, and The Champion of the Wild.
Play Board Games:
The Walking Dead: All Out War Review
The Walking Dead: All Out War is a skirmish game that pits your survivors against your opponent’s and you both must deal with hordes of zombies. It can be played as a cooperative or solo board game too.
Exit the Game Review
Exit The Game is an escape room in a box. You must work together to solve puzzles and see how fast you can finish them all.
Legendary: X-Men Expansion Review
X-Men is a big box expansion for Marvel Legendary the Deckbuilding Game. It features heroes and villains from the X-Men comics and adds some new mechanics to the Marvel Legendary series.
Orleans is a bag-building and worker placement board game. You must increase your followers to take more actions, get board position and gain more VPs.
Quantum is a sci-fi themed abstract board game for up to four players. This area control game has a good mix of strategy and luck.
Race for the Galaxy App Review
Race for the Galaxy is a classic action selection card game now available as an app for Android and iOS.
Toucan Play That Game:
First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet Review
In this video you can find out my thoughts on First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet by Portal Games.
In this video you can find out my thoughts on Serengeti by GCT Studios.
Stone Age Review
In this video you can find out my thoughts on Stone Age by Z-Man Games.
Board Game Quest:
Maze Racers Review
Frankly, this section is almost unnecessary for Maze Racers. You can probably figure out what you need to do by looking at the back of the box, which is one reason why Maze Racers works so well. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
A starting block is placed in one agreed upon quadrant of the board, while the goal is placed in another. Say go and each player tries to build a maze as quickly and creatively as possible. The walls are rigid foam with a magnet on the bottom. As everyone should be familiar with what a maze is, teaching the game takes seconds. The only rule is that the maze has to be possible to complete. A spacer stick is included for checking your work.
Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty’s Trail Review
In Purrrlock Holmes, each player will have a suspect card in front of them that displays the suspect and time of the crime they are trying to solve. You cannot see your own suspect card and must perform investigation actions to solve the crime.
When you investigate, you play one of the 4 suspect cards in your hand. Other players will tell you if it is a lead or a dead end. If the suspect on the card matches your suspect, it is always a lead. Alternately, if the time on the card is within an hour of the time your crime was committed it is also a lead. Everything else is a dead end.
Cauldron Quest Review
Players are tasked with moving the three potion ingredients necessary to the bubbling cauldron at the center of the circular game board. The issue is that you don’t know which ingredient is in each of the potion bottles at the start of the game. Each turn, players will roll the set action dice to determine what they will do on their turn.
Players may be able to move one of the potion bottles closer to the center, move the Wizard looking to block your path or send bottles back, place a path blocker on one of the six paths, or roll the magic dice.
Being a family weight game, Memoarrr! is about as easy to learn as you might expect. The deck of cards in Memoarrr! is comprised of 25 cards, each card containing one of 5 different backgrounds and one of 5 different characters. The 25 cards are randomly laid out in a face down grid, and the center card is replaced with the scoring cards.
Each player gets to look at 3 cards before the game begins. The first player then randomly flips over a card. The next player clockwise must then flip over a card that matches either the background or the character on the card the first player flipped.
The Goonies Adventure Card Game Review
As The Goonies is a family weight game, learning to play is fairly easy. Each player will control one of the famous Goonies characters, each of which has 2 special abilities.
In Photosynthesis, the goal is to earn the most points by completing the life cycles of your trees.
Incantris is a wizard dueling/skirmish game that uses dice to settle the score. Unlike some games of this type, you are not required to build a deck or otherwise create your army/team in order to play. Simply choose your team of three wizards from the pre-made teams and start attacking each other! Each team has their own unique abilities and things they do “best,” so each one plays a little differently.
Hafid's Grand Bazaar Review
Merchants enter Hafid’s Grand Bazaar hoping to emerge from their commercial haggling the wealthiest trader. And a grand bazaar indeed it is. With five unique goods each in five different commodity types – from cut gems to goats to ore to carpets to olive oil – it’s a veritable medieval Wal-Mart! You accumulate goods through bidding for caravan loads, negotiating with your competitors and with just a little outright luck. Okay, maybe more than a little.
Ascension X: War of Shadows Review
In Ascension X, like previous games, you can play your entire hand without limitation, buying cards and fighting monsters in any order. Runes are used to buy cards, Strength to fight monsters, and you accrue Honor tokens to score points. A pool of 6 cards in the center of the table contains the monsters you’ll be fighting along with the heroes and constructs you’ll be adding to your deck.
Drive Thru Review:
Fate of the Elder Gods Review
In Fate of the Elder Gods, players take on the ever-maddening role of cults trying to summon ancient evil and herald the fall of mankind! Each cult is in competition to be first to summon their god, but they all must also repel intrepid investigators working to seal off the gate to beyond with Elder signs. Gather arcane artifacts, cast powerful spells, embrace the Dark Gift of your Elder God, and be first to hasten doom…before it’s too late!
The Champion of the Wild Kickstarter Review
It's a board game review cliché to say "if you like this kind of game, you'll like this game". It's a tired and lazy get-out clause for a reviewer, they can thoroughly dislike a game and then issue this kind of statement completely admonishing any form of reviewer responsibility while remaining pretty, positive and ever so cuddly. It is a phrase I detest, but trying to write a review of The Champion of the Wild while avoiding this statement is turning into the literal equivalent of a daytime charge across the minefield.
From the announcement:
For centuries, the valley of Alosya has remained hidden from the rest of Vigil. Guarded by treacherous mountains, the valley cradled an ancient civilization that rose and fell, cut off entirely from the outside world. In the absence of the gods, the people of Alosya worshipped the forces that rules the world around them – life and death. They built two temples that focused and harnessed those energies, and revered the journey between the two.
Now the forces of New Vigil venture into the valley, hoping to uncover a powerful weapon in their battle against Xeron. What they don't know is that the foes and temptation awaiting them in Alosya may pose an even great threat.
From the website:
Hello Ascension fans! I am very excited to announce the upcoming release of our newest Ascension set, Gift of the Elements, on March 20th!
In Gift of the Elements, an old power is reawakened on the world of New Vigil. Mighty elementals, previously made dormant by the presence of the Old Gods, have awoken again. Players can become empowered by these elements, but face new dangers along the way. Today, I am going to talk about the new mechanics for the set, as well as kick off two weeks of exciting previews!
As for the exact moment, it's time to get you a bunch of reviews.
Today we have: Mythos Tales, BattleGoats, Murder at Blood Mansion, Timeline: British History, The Refuge, Ice Cool, You Gotta Be Kitten Me, Colony, CVlizations, Star Wars: Destiny, Pocket Madness, The King's Armory, La Granja: No Siesta, Escape Room: the Game, Ponzi Scheme, Doom: The Board Game, Deathwatch: Overkill, and Blood Bowl (2016 Edition).
Mythos Tales Review
theMCGuiRE review takes a look at Mythos Tales from 8th Summit. This is a story driven game with a horror feel straight from the H.P. Lovecraft's universe! You will work as a team or alone to solve the crimes one by one trying to outwit Professor Henry Armitage and get the best most efficient score possible. The game is super fun and travels well if you are on the go. So if you are looking for an adventure and you don't mind chasing down monsters from the deep, look no further than Mythos Tales!
Toucan Play That Game:
In this video you can find out my thoughts on BattleGoats by Card Lords.
Murder at Blood Mansion Review
In this video you can find out my thoughts on Murder at Blood Mansion.
Timeline: British History Review
Timeline is ridiculously simple to play. Each card in the game beautifully depicts an event in history. The front side is merely the artwork and title but on the rear of the card is the year in which this event took place. The aim of the game is simply to empty your hand of cards by slotting a card in between the right events. Flip over the card to see if you're correct, if so the card stays in place, wrong and the card gets discarded and you are forced to draw another card from the deck.
The Refuge Review
The Refuge was very quickly funded on kickstarter recently, and lucky old me, I’ve just received mine through the post! The game itself is a mixture of deck building and a race to the finish line, all while trying to outsmart zombies and the other survivors, there is only room for one person at the finish line!
Ice Cool Review
School’s in session but the penguin students have only one thing on their minds: fish. The winner of Ice Cool is the player who can collect the most.
On your turn, you will flick your penguin pawn a single time. Certain doorways around the school will have fish tokens in your color attached to them. If you flick your penguin through one of these doorways, you remove the fish token and draw a fish card. It’s an easy enough goal, but it’s complicated by the presence of the hall monitor.
You Gotta Be Kitten Me Review
First things first: you’ve got kittens, see? That’s the thing.
These kittens are wearing sunglasses, hats, and bowties, because why not?
Colony is an engine building and resource manipulation game with dice for one to four players. Players are leaders of postapocalyptic colonies using their scant resources to build up their infrastructure. The first player to reach a certain point threshold is the winner.
Board Game Quest:
Players take on the roles of unseen hands guiding a tribe through the ages. As they do so, they will engage in resource gathering activities with the aim of acquiring knowledge and tools in the form of idea cards. Each card awards happiness points at the end of the game and/or a special ability to gain advantage over opponents.
Star Wars: Destiny Review
In Star Wars: Destiny, each player constructs (or uses a pre-made starter deck) of 30 cards. The goal of the game is to reduce the life of your opponent’s heroes to zero. This is accomplished by playing cards from your hand and rolling dice to gain attack power, resources or other special abilities. Turns will be played back and forth between players until one player is out of life.
Pocket Madness Review
Pocket Madness (which sounds like a disease received from visiting Yuggoth) is a game about researching the Ancient Old Ones as recorded by the human Howard Phillips Lovecraft. By playing cards, the human players imagine themselves to be opening portals, publishing research and gaining “madness” (more like sanity if you ask me). The human player who is able to have the least “madness” at the end of the game wins.
The King’s Armory Review
Luckily for the kingdom, scouts have noticed an impending army of monsters hoping to break through the castle defenses and take the treasures within. This advanced warning has allowed for the necessary preparation for the upcoming battle. This allows the players to set up defensive towers and hire troops to defend the castle. Players will choose from traditional fantasy hero archetypes to command during the game.
Drive Thru Review:
La Granja: No Siesta Review
Intro (00:00); game overview (00:46); final thoughts and review (09:25)
Escape Room: The Game Review
Intro (00:00); game overview (01:07); final thoughts and review (06:05)
Ponzi Scheme Review
Intro (00:00); game overview (01:07); final thoughts and review (06:05)
Doom: The Board Game Review
Intro (00:00); game overview (01:07); final thoughts and review (17:15)
Deathwatch: Overkill Review
Intro (00:00); game overview (01:15); final thoughts and review (11:16)
Blood Bowl (2016 Edition) Review
Intro (00:00); game overview (01:24); final thoughts and review (18:25)
That's what my gaming group decided a character said when the player, in a bit of confusion from lack of sleep, said, "My character says something comforting." and left it at that. I mean, wouldn't you want a bunch of fuzzy puppies and kittens? I know I would. Sadly, I don't have the means to get a bunch of fuzzy puppies and kittens, except when it comes to You Gotta Be Kitten Me from Stone Blade Entertainment, whose official launch day is today.
In the game, players are looking to be the last one with cards in their hands. You do this by drawing your hand, then declaring how many of a certain item there are, or how many of a certain color (among all items) there are. When someone no longer thinks there's a certain number of those items out there in people's hands (such as, "there's no way there's 5 hats!"), people reveal. If the person that issued the challenge is right, the last player to make a declaration loses a card, otherwise, the accuser loses one. New hands are dealt (with the players down a certain number of cards. I.E. - you don't just lose cards for a round, but for the rest of the game) and a new round begins.
You can pick up your copies now.
In the game, players are looking to be the last one with cards still in their hand. You do this by guessing the quantity of, or colors of, the various accessories that the cute, fuzzy animals are wearing on cards in another player's hand. Players can either raise the card bid or challenge their opponents (to see if they actually have what they're saying). Those that are challenged and lose discard from their hand.
“We’re big fans of Liar’s Dice and wanted to create a game that’s easy-to-understand, fun and quick-paced, that anyone can pick up and play,” said Justin Gary, Founder and CEO, Stone Blade Entertainment. “You Gotta Be Kitten Me! is great to play with the entire family showcasing our favorite pets wearing their best accessories.”
You Gotta Be Kitten Me will be available this September.
"I am very excited to bring our tabletop games to Ultra PRO,” said Justin Gary, CEO of Stone Blade Entertainment. “This partnership allows us to centralize our efforts on designing great games, while utilizing Ultra PRO's huge market presence to reach additional players and grow our existing brands."
"Having such a talented team from Stone Blade Entertainment, with Justin Gary at the helm designing industry-leading brands such as Ascension, is the exact fit for Ultra PRO’s recently formed Entertainment Division,” said Sean Lashgari, Senior Director Entertainment Division, Ultra PRO. “Ultra PRO’s name has been synonymous with quality, innovation and being the world’s leading game accessories manufacturer; the opportunity to leverage this, along with our vast distribution network, to build on an already great portfolio of tabletop games will be tremendous.”
As a self-proclaimed Ascension junkie, I'm very interested to see what this partnership means for the game (I'm rather hopeful).
Stone Blade Website
Ultra Pro Website
If you'd like a bit more information about the set, feel free to check out my review. You can find it here. But for the shorthand version, War of Shadows adds in day and night cards to the mix. When there's a majority of one type on the board, the game is considered to be in that time. Various cards can gain bonuses depending on whether it's day or not. Also new in the set are dual-cost cards. They're cards that, to purchase, require both Power and Runes. So specializing in just one with no regard for the other can mean you'll possibly lose out on a great hero or construct.
Note: I know through the link the website still says pre-order, but the game is shipping now.
“Hi, Polar Bear.”
I have every boxed expansion that’s come out for the game as well as most of the promo cards as well. So when I saw that Stone Blade Entertainment was coming out with a new set at Origins, but I wasn’t going to be at Origins, I called up my friend who was going to be at the show and had him pick me up one.
They got back earlier this week and I got my copy. So, as it’s my thing to do, I decided to give you a review of it.
So double check whether it’s AM or PM. It’s time for another TGN Review. This time it’s Ascension: War of Shadows from Stone Blade Entertainment.
As I’ve done for games like Munchkin and Fluxx (that is to say, games that I’ve done multiple reviews of various editions of them... such as Ascension, even, as you can see here and here), I’ll start this review with a general overview of how Ascension plays, then go into what makes War of Shadows different.
Ascension is a deckbuilding game. That is to say that players all start out with small, identical decks of cards that they draw from. As the game progresses, they will alter that deck by buying new cards, or removing cards from their deck. The object of the game is to have the most victory points (VPs) at the end. You gain VPs by buying cards for your deck as well as defeating monsters.
The game contains three types of cards: Heroes, Constructs, and Monsters. Heroes are various warriors (or sometimes just peasants) that you play from your hand to gain either resources or some other sort of bonus. Constructs you play from your hand, but they stay in play, giving you some sort of resource or bonus each turn. Monsters are cards that don’t actually go into a player’s deck, but are defeated out of the Center Row and gain the player Honor (VPs).
Starting Out the Day Right
Setting up a game of Ascension is rather easy. Players each get a Starting Deck consisting of 8 Apprentice cards and 2 Militia cards (any Starting Deck cards not used are set aside. They won’t be used this game). The board is set up where everyone can reach it. There are spots for Heavy Infantry, Mystics, and the Cultist card. The rest of the cards are shuffled together to create the Center Deck. Count out Honor tokens for each player playing. There’s 30 points used for each player. So, for example, a 2-player game would use 60 Honor. 3-player would use 90. Randomly determine who will be the first player. Then, take the top 6 cards of the Center Deck and place them out into the Center Row on the board. Players shuffle their Starting Deck and draw 5 cards. They’re now ready to begin the first turn.
The Daily Agenda
On a player’s turn, they’ll play cards from their hand. Most of these cards will gain you either Runes or Power. Runes are the main currency of the game, used to buy other Heroes and Constructs. Power is what is used to defeat Monsters (and also to buy some cards, but I’ll get to that in the “what’s different” portion). These resources are not held over from turn to turn. “Use ‘em or lose ‘em” is the motto. Other cards might let you draw more cards from your deck, or gain VPs directly from the pool, or any number of other things. Ascension is very much a RTC game. RTC standing for “Read the Card.” They’re very good about making it so whatever the card says is exactly what you do. No having to interpret rules that aren’t fully spelled out on the cards. Anyway, as players play cards, they’ll buy Heroes and Constructs from the Center Row, as well as defeat Monsters. As a card is purchased/defeated, it’s immediately replaced by a new one from the Center Deck. So there’s always 6 cards out there to choose from. So, for example, you could buy a low-cost card looking to see what might show up next before you decide your next purchase. Purchased cards go into your Discard pile. Defeated Monsters go into the Void. If you don’t see anything in the Center Row that you want (or can) purchase, you can always purchase Heavy Infantry and Mystics. As for Monsters, if you don’t have any Monsters out there you want (or, again, can) defeat, you can always defeat a Cultist and gain VPs for doing so.
Players will use all the cards in their hand every turn. There’s no retaining cards from turn to turn. If you don’t want to use a card, you don’t have to, but you’ll still discard them at the end of your turn. Heroes you played on your turn also go to your Discard pile. Constructs, as I mentioned above, stay out from turn to turn. They can potentially get Destroyed, and that will send them to your Discard pile, but in general, they stick around. The last thing you do on your turn is draw a new hand of 5 cards. If you don’t have enough cards in your deck to draw a full 5, take your discard pile and shuffle it, creating a new deck, then fill up your hand. In this way, cards you play and cards you purchased get cycled back around and up into your hand.
Play continues until the Honor Pool is depleted. The game doesn’t end immediately when it does so, though. That only signals that this will be the final round. So if you’re playing a 3-player game and the Honor Pool empties out during the 2nd player’s turn, they will finish their turn and the 3rd player will get their full turn. They can still gain Honor. Just use extra tokens, or some other way to keep track of Honor gained (my group usually sets aside extra Heavy Infantry and Mystics, as they’re worth 1 Honor apiece). When the final player has finished their turn, everyone counts up how many VPs they have. They count up the amount their deck is worth (Honor is the number in the star in the bottom corner of the card) and add in the number of Honor tokens they’ve gained from defeating Monsters. The one with the highest total wins.
What a Difference a Day Makes
So, what sets War of Shadows apart from other Ascension sets? There’s one big thing, a medium thing, and a couple minor things. The big thing is the addition of “Day” and “Night” cards. All the cards that are in the Center Deck have either a black or yellow border. The black border cards also have a crescent moon in the upper right. The yellow border cards have a stylized sun. When the Center Row has more of one type or the other, it’s considered that time. So 4+ Night cards, it’s considered Night. If there’s 4+ Day cards out there, it’s considered Day. If there’s 3 of each, it’s neither Day nor Night. Many cards have certain extra rules depending on which time of day it is. These are all beneficial effects. So you might get extra Runes or Power by playing a card when it’s Night. Or a monster might be easier to defeat when it’s Day. There are a few cards that have effects for both Day and Night. The time of day is taken into account whenever you play the card or defeat the monster. So it might change back and forth several times during your turn as you purchase/defeat cards in the Center Row and they get replaced.
As for the “medium thing” that’s different about this set, it’s that there are some Hero and Construct cards that cost both Runes and Power in order to purchase them. Before now, those types of cards only required Runes to buy. It’s a slightly different sort of mechanic and can alter how you choose to build up your deck.
In terms of the “minor things,” those come into play in the text for a few of the cards. Usually, Mystics and Heavy Infantry are cards you only buy when you don’t have anything better to do with your Runes on a turn. Except for occasionally letting you acquire them more easily, most Center Deck cards didn’t interact with them. However, in this set, there’s a few that will give you bonuses for playing Mystics and Heavy Infantry along with them. Even though it’s only a couple of cards that do this, it’s nice to see Mystics and Heavy Infantry become a bit more of the strategy of deck-building. Another minor thing is a 1-cost Monster. Most sets don’t have these, but it’s nice to see if you have a turn where the only Power you’ve got is a single Militia in your hand. So they can be used for something instead of just being wasted.
How Was Your Day?
I always enjoy seeing what Stone Blade will come up with for its Ascension expansions. They’ve introduced different resource types. They’ve had a set where you get a personality at the start of it. They’ve done all sorts of things to make sure each one feels like a different game. In general, I like the Day/Night mechanic. It makes you think out your turns a bit more strategically than some previous sets, because after you buy/defeat a Center Deck card, it might just change from Day to Night and suddenly your other cards might not be as effective. I also like the dual-cost cards. It causes you to throw in some Power into your deck so you can hopefully buy those cards later. In other sets, you could totally eschew the Power cards to just get as many Runes as you possibly could. The bit about making Mystics and Heavy Infantry a more-integrated part of your deck is also nice. So, all in all, a nice addition to the collection.
War of Shadows isn’t available in general release yet, but it is available for pre-order. Or, if you catch up with Stone Blade at one of the shows they’re going to, I’m sure you’ll be able to pick up your own copy.
The new set adds in Night and Day cards. Depending on which is dominant in the Center row, various cards will gain and lose abilities. There's also dual-cost cards, where you will have to spend both Runes and Power in order to acquire them. People who pre-order also get a special promo card (seen above).
Stay tuned for a review of the set (they had a couple at Origins and a friend picked one up for me) later this week.
So, what keeps me coming back? Well, it’d be the new special “themes” that each set comes out with. The Dreamscape set just came out and the fellows over at Stone Blade were kind enough to send me a set to try out.
You’ll want to stay awake for this one. It’s time for another TGN Review. This time it’s the Dreamscape set for Ascension from Stone Blade Entertainment.
For those that haven’t played it before, I’ll give a quick overview of the “standard” version of the game and then go into the new things that Dreamscape adds to the mix.
Ascension is a deckbuilding card game. The goal is to have the most honor points at the end of the game. Players start with a 10-card basic starting deck and will slowly add to and augment that deck as play progresses on.
Getting Ready For Bed
Setting up is rather simple. Each player starts out with a deck of 10 cards that consists of 8 Apprentice cards and 2 Militia cards. The game board is set into the middle where people can reach it. In the middle of the board is the Fate deck. This gets shuffled and the top 6 cards drawn off of it and placed on the board. Depending on how many players there are, a certain number of Honor tokens are also placed in their spot on the board (the math to figure out how many Honor tokens is used is easy. It’s 30 per player. So 60 for a 2-player game, 90 for a 3-player, and so on). The stacks of Heavy Infantry and Mystics are also placed on the board. Players shuffle their starting deck and draw a hand of 5 cards, and the first player is ready to take their turn.
On their turn, players play cards from their hand in order to purchase Heroes and Constructs from the cards in the middle, or to defeat monsters. When a card is purchased, it goes into that player’s discard pile and a new card is flipped from the Fate Deck. When a monster is defeated, it goes into the Void, which is a discard pile next to the Fate Deck. Defeating monsters (and certain other cards) let players gain Honor from the Honor pool. At the end of a player’s turn, they place all the cards they played that turn into their discard pile and they draw up 5 more cards. If they don’t have enough cards to draw up to a full 5, they shuffle their discard pile and make a new draw pile out of it, then draw up to their 5 cards. This way, the cards you purchased are cycled around and up into your hand.
Tossing and Turning All Night
The Honor Pool is also a sort of “timer” on the game. When the last Honor Point is taken from the pool, it signifies the end round of the game. You can still gain Honor Points, you just have to keep track somehow beyond the little tokens. Thinking back to who took the first turn, everyone gets a turn until that player would go again. So if that first player already had their turn this round, they won’t get another. But if it is their turn, then they finish their turn and then everyone else gets a turn. That way, nobody is left having fewer turns than someone else.
After everyone has had their final turn, players count up the amount of Honor Points they have. Plus, cards that have been purchased from the center of the board also have an Honor Point total in a little star down in the bottom corner of the card. The player with the highest total is the winner.
Dream or Nightmare?
So what is it that sets the Dreamscape expansion apart from the others? That would be the Insight (a new resource in the game) and the Dream Cards. You use one to purchase the other. Lemme explain.
At the start of the game, as part of the initial set up, you shuffle the Dream Cards into their own Dream deck. The Dream Cards can be told apart from regular Fate Deck cards by the golden border around the front of the card and that their cost in the upper right is in Insight, as opposed to Runes or Power. After shuffling, deal each player 5 Dream Cards. Of those 5, each player picks 3 and places them, face-down in front of them. The leftover cards are shuffled back into the Dream Deck, which is placed where everyone can reach it.
Dream Cards are new Heroes, Constructs, and Visions. The Heroes and Constructs work just as the standard versions do. The Visions are a new form of card. For those that have played Magic: The Gathering, they could be thought of as either Instants or, if they have an Ongoing ability, an Effect. Visions might let you defeat a monster in the center row without paying any cost, or Destroy an enemy Constructs, or Banish all cards in the Center Row.
The way you buy the Dream Cards is by using Insight. This is a new resource in the game, like Runes and Power. However, unlike those other resources, that are lost if left unused at the end of your turn, Insight will stay with you until you use it. As such, the game comes with special tokens that you can use to keep track of how much Insight you’ve gained. There are a couple ways Insight can be gained. Certain cards in the Fate Deck are listed as “Dreamborn” on them. When one of these enters the Center Row, every player gains 1 Insight. Then, when that card is purchased, the player who buys it gains another 1 Insight. Other cards in the Fate Deck will also give Insight when played.
When you want to purchase one of the Dream Cards in front of you, you spend the appropriate amount of Insight and, if it’s a Hero or Construct, place it in your discard pile as usual. If it’s a Vision, its effect is used right away and it is Banished, unless it is Ongoing, in which case it is placed in front of you.
These Dream cards can be acquired only by the player who they are in front of. This is different from cards in the Fate deck, which anyone can purchase on their turn. They are also always kept face-down until acquired (though you can look at your own Dream Cards, but not your opponent’s). You can only acquire them on your turn. So no blowing up someone else’s constructs or clearing the Center Row during someone else’s turn. Other than that, they function like regular cards for your deck, with an Honor Point total in their bottom corner.
Just 5 More Minutes, Ma!
This is not the first Ascension set to introduce a new resource to the game. Two previous sets used Energy as a resource. However, it was used as a threshold. So if you gained 4 Energy during a turn, you got to benefit from everything that required you to have 1-4 Energy. Another expansion had a side-deck of cards that you could potentially draw from, called Soul Gems. But with how you have hidden cards available only to use, and with how Insight stays around from turn to turn until you spend it, the Dreamscape set really sets itself apart from the others. None of the new mechanics feel “recycled” in any way. Also, they are not so complex that if Dreamscape was your first-ever Ascension set, you’d be confused about how things work. I feel that’s one of the real strengths of the different Ascension sets. While each one adds onto the “basic” game, none of them are confusing or redundant. It’s easy to tell that the game designers have a background with Magic: The Gathering (with how those expansions will have a sort of “set theme rule” that they bring to the table).
I feel that Ascension: Dreamscape is a great addition to the Ascension game family. I’m happy to be adding it to my collection and look forward for a chance to play it this holiday season.
The game was just released yesterday and is available to order in the Stone Blade webshop.
However, a blizzard's-worth of reviews here today is just fine. (Because transitions!)
Today we've got articles on: X-Wing Miniatures Game, Star Wars Armada, Imperial Assault, Conflict of Heroes - The Eastern Front Solo Expansion, Queen's Necklace, Terrakami Games Sci-Fi Containers, Crusader A15 by Rubicon Models, Bountytown, Between Two Cities, Bad Beets, Ultimate Warriorz, Jamaica, The Gallerist, Mombasa, Ninja Camp, Shakespeare, Cthulhu Realms, Eternal Dynasty, Outer Earth, Fool's Gold, and Dark Age Z.
A Combined Review of X-Wing Miniatures Game, Star Wars Armada, and Imperial Assault
This week Ars Cardboard dives into miniatures wargaming—but forget stereotypes of tiny Napoleonic soldiers walking across home-crafted terrain. We’re talking about Star Wars miniatures here, from capital ships to TIE fighters to Darth Vader himself. If you’ve ever wanted to command a squad of X-Wings, take control of an Imperial Star Destroyer, or experience a shootout with stormtroopers, the current trio of licensed Star Wars miniatures games from Fantasy Flight have you covered. And with the Force Awakens mere days away, there's never been a better time to dive in.
Play Board Games:
Conflict of Heroes - The Eastern Front Solo Expansion Review
Conflict of Heroes is a war game, the Eastern Front expansion lets you play it solo. It changes the flow of the game and adds a formidable AI opponent.
Queen's Necklace Review
Queen’s Necklace is a card game in which you take on the role of a jeweler in Paris before the French Revolution. You want to buy gems that are in fashion for as little as possible and make a big profit when it comes time to sell. The person with the most pounds wins the game.
Terrakami Games Sci-Fi Containers Review
Welcome to the beginning of a multiple part review of the laser cut terrain available from Terrakami, a company specialising in laser-cut MDF and acrylic accessories for tabletop wargames. In this review we’re going to be building a selection of Terakami’s Sci-Fi 28mm Containers, and then moving onto to some of their larger kits including their Container Crane in the near future. We picked these up with the plan of using them in our games of Warhammer 40k and Infinity, but they’ll work equally well in any game using a sci-fi setting.
Crusader A15 by Rubicon Models Review
Part of the Third Quarter 2015 releases is the A15 Crusader, including 6 different variants from Mk I to MK III, as well as the AA and CS versions.
Fist Full of Cards (A Review of Bountytown)
In Bountytown you’re a bounty hunter shooting (literally) to clean up the boisterous frontier town so that the railroad can come through and, with it, a little respectability. Of course, you’re not the only gun-for-hire aiming to bag some crooks. While you might think more equals better, that just means some other quick draw artists are crowding in on your reward money. A duel or two to steal a bounty from some other gun just might prove the old adage that this town ain’t big enough…
In the Peace Thereof Shall Ye Have Peace (a review of Between Two Cities)
Between Two Cities is a tile-drafting/city-building game for three to seven players (playable with one or two players with variants). Each player works with the player on the right and the player on the left to craft two cities that are a perfect 4×4 grid. At the end of the game, the player whose lower-scoring city is highest on the scoretrack wins.
Board Game Quest:
Bad Beets Review
In Bad Beets, players attempts to get rid of all of the beet tokens in front of them. This may involve feeding them to the dog, sharing them with another player, or eating them (ewww!). The main mechanic will be familiar to anyone who has played Coup, you can take any action, even if you don’t have the card that allows you to take that action. However, other players can call you out and you are penalized if you were bluffing.
Ultimate Warriorz Review
Ultimate Warriorz is a reimplementation of 2009’s Mad Arena. The object of the game is to be the last warrior standing. If more than one warrior is alive after seven rounds, then the warrior with the most popularity will be declared the winner.
Captain Henry Morgan becomes the Governor of Jamaica with order to take out the Caribbean pirates and buccaneers! Though, he hires all of his former crew to join him in his quest to enjoy the fruits of the piracy without being punished!
Jamaica was published in 2007 by Asmodee and designed by Malcolm Braff, Bruno Cathala and Sébastien Pauchon who are well-known for such projects as Mr. Jack Extension, Shadows over Camelot, Corto and etc.
The main artist is Mathieu Leyssenne. He took part in such colorful games like Animalia, Bonbons and many others.
Drive Thru Review:
The Gallerist Review
The Gallerist Review
Intro (00:00); game overview (01:55); final thoughts and review (25:44)
Intro (00:00); game overview (01:03); final thoughts and review (16:57)
Ninja Camp Review
Ninja Camp Review
Intro (00:00); game overview (01:02); final thoughts and review (06:13)
Intro (00:00); game overview (01:01); final thoughts and review (14:19)
Board To Death TV:
Cthulhu Realms Review
In Cthulhu Realms, each player tries to reduce their opponents to insanity or have more sanity than their opponents when the deck runs out.
Eternal Dynasty Review
Eternal Dynasty is a game for 2-5 players with elements of territory control, worker placement, and political maneuvering.
Outer Earth Review
In the near future, both rapid space exploration and terraforming technology have opened a new science field allowing mankind to explore, discover and terraform planets for habitation.
Players manage a planetary development company and compete in the planet auction market for the developing rights of these newly explored planets.
Fool's Gold Review
Fool’s Gold takes place during the gold rush of 1849. Players are investors who send prospectors on a quest to find gold at various locations — in the mountains, in a forest, at a river, etc. — with each location having perils, gems, quantities of gold and bountiful supplies of silt. As players remove valuable gold cards from the location decks, silt becomes more prominent and gold harder to find.
Dark Age Z Review
Dark Age Z is a strategic board game for 2 to 5 players. You are one of the kings in the Dark Age. All players strive to gain as many victory points (VP) as possible by killing the zombies that attack the Frontiers of the Kingdom Cities. At the end of the game, the player with the highest VPs wins the game.
The Collector's Edition is much like they did for their Year One Collector's Edition, in that is has an entire year's worth of Ascension releases in one place. You get Storm of Souls, Immortal Heroes, and all the promos released for that year. But it's not just the cards as you have them, they all have foil finishes. It also comes with a deluxe game board, storage box with dividers, and token bag.
As for Dreamscape, stay tuned to TGN where I'll be posting a review of the set tomorrow.
Either way, both of these are available now.
Sale items include: Ascension sets at 50% off. Then, Bad Beets is available for only $10. Finally, for you digital-gamer types, all items over on SolForge are 50% off (except for gold).
These deals won't last forever. That's why I went ahead and ordered some more Ascension for myself just now.
Bad Beets site.
Well, the fellows over at Stone Blade Entertainment gave us a copy and so it’s time to dig into another TGN Review. This time it’s Bad Beets by Stone Blade Entertainment.
Last month at Gen Con, I had a chance to sit down with Mr. Gary and talk about everything that Stone Blade was working on. After the interview we went over and played a quick demo game of Bad Beets. I must say, I was a bit wary before getting started. Sure, I loved Ascension, also by SBE, but Bad Beets was quite a departure from the hero-buying and monster-slashing I was used to. However, after the quick game, I was swayed. But that could very easily have just been that day and the excitement of playing a demo of a game right there with the creator. With a longer chance to study the game, would I still enjoy it? Let's find out, but first, a recap of how the game works.
The game comes in a single, small box. Everything fits in very easily (with room for expansions, if SBE ever goes that route). The game comes with 50 Beet Tokens and 15 Ice Cream Tokens. I was surprised to see that the cardboard tokens were already punched out and were in a little bag. Usually “Step 1” for playing a game is “punch out all the tokens.” Obviously, that wasn’t necessary here. The tokens were also very nicely punched out. I couldn’t find any tearing or peeling. Also, something I noticed that I’d not seen during the demo is that there are several different faces on the Beets. It’s a very small touch, but I love it. It makes the game more flavorful (… … … pun intended). The box also contains 5 Action Reminder cards, 15 Action Cards (3 each of 5 different cards), and the Rules Sheet.
The game starts by giving each player an Action Reminder Card and 8 Beet Tokens. Then, shuffle the 15 Action Cards and deal 1 to each player. Players can look at their card. Then randomly determine the first player. That player draws a card, then picks one of their cards to give to the next player (though that second player doesn’t look at the card yet). The first player puts the card they’re keeping face-down in front of them and declares that they’re performing one of the three different actions available. The other players have the option to either allow them to perform that action or they can call the player’s bluff. If the bluff is called, the player reveals the card that they had played. If it was the action they stated, they get to do that action and the player that called them out gains an extra Beet Token. If the player was bluffing, then the action doesn’t happen and the player who tried to play it gains a Beet Token. There is another option during your turn, and that’s to simply eat a beet, which lets you remove one of your Beet Tokens. Obviously, nobody can call your bluff if you just sit there and quietly eat your beets. After you resolve your card or the bluff, the second player picks up the card you drafted to them and their turn starts. They don’t draw a card, since they’ve already got two cards in their hand. They simply draft to the next player and then declare what action they are doing.
But what about those cards and actions? I mentioned five cards, but I said there were only three types of action you can claim you’re doing. So what’s up with that? Let’s take a closer look at the cards, themselves.
The three action cards are:
Share – Give two Beet Tokens to another player.
Feed the Dog – Discard three Beet Tokens.
Tattletale – Guess a player’s card. They must reveal it. If you guessed right, give them four of your Beet Tokens.
Then there’s two “reaction” cards. They have a gold background, as opposed to a blue background of the standard actions. You can reveal these from your hand during another player’s turn in order to gain their bonus. They are:
Copycat – If someone says they’re Feeding the Dog, you can reveal this to discard two of your Beet Tokens.
Nuh-uh! – If someone tries to Tattletale on you, you can reveal this and give that player four of your Beet Tokens.
Any time a player must reveal their card (either by someone calling their bluff or by the reveal of a reaction card), that card is discarded, face-up, into the discard pile and that player redraws. So nobody, except you, ever really knows what is in your hand (obviously a crucial thing for a bluffing game). The discard pile is reshuffled any time that two of the same card are in it. That way, there’s always a chance for one version of the card to either be in someone’s hand or left in the draw deck.
Players are trying to get rid of all their Beet Tokens. The first player to do so is the winner. The reason the game comes with so any Ice Cream tokens is that, since games are pretty fast (most hands taking about 15min or so to play), you can turn a one-off game into a “first to three” situation.
I really enjoy playing Bad Beets. After subsequent plays, that is one thing that hasn’t changed since the demo at Gen Con. I do feel that the game plays best with more than two players, though. Jared and I played a couple 2-player games and they weren’t as good. I think 3-4 is the real “sweet spot” (… … … again, pun intended) for the game. Since the game’s theme is so family-friendly, anyone can join in. So this is great not just for game night at the LGS, but also game night with the family. I recommend you give Bad Beets a try for yourself.
You can go pick up your own copy of Bad Beets over in their webshop. You can't have mine. These Bad Beets I'm keeping.
So without further ado, today we have reviews of: Dark Tales, Litko Age of Sigmar Tokens review, Deadzone Contagion Expansion, LUGU, Cacao, The Burning Wheel RPG, Rhino Hero, Bad Beets, Spyfall, and Systema Gaming Base-0 Level 1 and 2 Walkways.
Board to Death TV:
Dark Tales card game video review
The card game Dark Tales is inspired by classic fairy tales, retold in a dark style. The land of Dark Tales is populated by disturbing creatures and sinister characters, and the interaction between cards and magic items is the key to success: A character, event, or sword used at the right time can determine the fate of the game! Thanks to the many setting cards, the items you collect change their power from game to game.
Widgets and Wonders:
Litko Age of Sigmar Tokens review
Litko (one of the oldest and most established gamer-gear companies out there) has produced a new line of player-aids for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.
Play Board Games:
Deadzone Contagion Expansion review
The Contagion book starts with an explanation of the Plague and how it creates zombies. And leads right into an overview of how zombies can be added to your Deadzone game. When zombies are added to a normal two player game they are an additional faction that both players must contend with. In a solo game you try to survive four scenarios.
The concept of LUGU is rather straightforward; each player is furnished with a deck of cards, each one decorated by a very abstract piece of colourful art. The storyteller, basically the player whose turn it is, draws four of the cards at random and tries to craft a story based on the artwork.
Shut Up & Sit Down:
While Cacao is another one of those games that’s basically about getting rich by hoarding and trading resources, it’s not another one of those complex, beige things with an old white dude pointing his arthritic finger at a ship or a customs house or a pile of corn and it’s immediately less stuffy for it. Instead of crates of silk or barges full of, I dunno, wool, Cacao is really just about chocolate. Yeah, there’s temples and gold mines and water, but mostly it’s about getting cocoa and then selling cocoa in a quick, breezy and colourful fashion that can mean a game is as short as twenty chocolately minutes. It looks fresher and brighter than so many of those heftier, sepia-toned things. That’s a good first impression. Also, there are no ants anywhere in the box, so that's fantastic.
The Burning Wheel RPG Review
Lately I’ve had Burning Wheel on my mind.
Some friends recently started up a streamed campaign with Roll20, and I tuned in to watch all 4 hours of their character creation. I joked around in chat, explained bits of the rules and mechanics to people who asked, and generally had a great time. But I haven’t been watching them actually play. I’ve stayed away partially because the timing doesn’t quite work for me, partially because one of my roommates is in the game and I can hear him talking in real time and then again 10 seconds later via Twitch’s time delay, but, most of all, because I am way too jealous.
Board Game Quest:
Rhino Hero review
Rhino Hero is a dexterity game for 2-5 players that plays in about 10 minutes. Rhino Hero plays best with 3 players, but works equally as well with 2 or 4 players. Rhino Hero can be played by players of all ages.
Vegging Out (A Review of Bad Beets)
Bad Beets is all about being the first eater at the table to get rid of your serving of nasty Beta vulgaris. (I did not make that up. See, even its scientific name makes them sound gross!) You’ll do anything you can to get rid of them. Even lie! But be careful, if someone catches your bluff, you may end up having to stuff the unpalatable plants down your gullet after all!
Where Am I This Time? (a review of Spyfall)
Spyfall is a party game for three to eight players.
To begin a game of Spyfall, open one pack of cards. Each of the thirty packs of cards includes seven location cards (all the same) and one spy card. Mix one card for each player (one of the cards must be the spy card) from the pack together, and deal one card to each player. Set a timer for eight minutes. The player who looks the shadiest begins.
Systema Gaming Base-0 Level 1 and 2 Walkways Review
Today we’re building the Level 1 and 2 Walkway kits from Systema Gaming in a continuation of our look at the Base-0 range of sci-fi tabletop terrain. We’ve previously built the HQ Unit and Habitat Units 1 and 2 from this range, so check out those reviews first if you’ve not seen them. These raised walkways are designed to be used with other Base-o structures to create a multilevel battlefield for games like Warhammer 40k, Necromunda, and Infinity.
In the game, you play as kids sitting around the dinner table. You've got a plateful of beets that you don't want to eat. However, it's only by getting rid of your beets that you can get some ice cream! So trade, bluff, tattle, feed the dog, and (as a last resort) eat some beets in order to be the first to get rid of all your beets.
Great for family game nights, Bad Beets is easy to learn and quick to play.