Category Archives: Games

Cryptozoic Entertainment and Diamond Expand Distribution Partnership

CryptozoicCryptozoic Entertainment announces an expanded distribution agreement with Diamond. This deal makes Diamond the worldwide distributor of Cryptozoic’s merchandise product lines within the comic book specialty market and other select online and specialty retailers. This agreement extends Diamond’s current rights to distribute Cryptozoic’s board games and trading cards.

Since 2010, Cryptozoic has produced some of the best-selling board games, trading cards and other products based on comic books, TV shows, movies and more that appeal to a wide variety of audiences. Their games include the DC Comics™ Deck Building Game, The Walking Dead™ Board Game, The Big Bang Theory: The Party Game, and more table top games and trading cards. In addition, Cryptozoic organizes and hosts events worldwide to bring the gaming community together.

New retailers interested in purchasing Cryptozoic merchandise from Diamond are encouraged to contact Diamond’s New Accounts Department.

Mayfair Announces Booty for August 2015

MFG4138-cTreasures of all types! But the hard part is not capturing the ship’s bounty, but dividing it fairly to the pirates! In Mayfair GamesBooty players take turns splitting each round’s booty into shares for the other players. Different types of treasures have different values, and of course there’s the hidden items to keep people guessing. Will you be the quartermaster to give everyone their fair share–but giving yourself the best share?

Each round, cards representing treasures are revealed. Some are worth points immediately, some items cancel others, some give you a chance, but not a guarantee, for a big payday. The quartermaster (a job that travels from player to player) divides the treasures into shares, and also includes the order of picking treasures in the next round. Balancing what you need, what others might want, and trying to get a little extra into your treasure pile is the key to success!

The building cards provide many special benefits that allow for a broad range of strategies every time you play.

The game will retail for $35 and is intended for people ages 10+ and meant for 2-6 players.

The game contains.

  • 108 cards
  • 54 player flag tiles (9 of each color)
  • 6 player turn order tiles
  • 6 turn selection tiles
  • 4 stock market markers
  • 1 quartermaster token
  • 1 Quartermaster token
  • 5 islands tiles
  • 12 legacy tiles
  • 1 rulebook

Mayfair Announces Catan Traveler for Summer 2015

Catan_Traveler_English Box_3DWhether you’re on the train, in the ski lodge or picnicking in the woods: Mayfair has announced a compact edition lets you take Catan everywhere!

The space-saving box unfolds to reveal the variable board. Roads, settlements and cities are safe in their locking drawers. Cards are held securely in holder trays. Even the dice, thanks to the practical hex-shaped shaker cannot get dropped and lost.

Catan compact is handy, fits easily into your luggage and contains all of the components and fun the “big” Catan.

The downside? Catan: Traveler is not compatible with any of the Expansions or Extensions in the Catan line of products.

Catan: Traveler – Compact Edition will retail for $45 and is meant for 2-4 players.

The game contents include:

  • 1 folding tough plastic box
  • 6 double-sided plastic game board parts
  • 1 dice shaker
  • 97 plastic game pieces
  • 2 plastic card holders
  • 134 cards

Action Lab Presents Archon. Dragons, Dungeons, Dice, Oh My!

Action Lab Entertainment is no stranger to fantasy titles. Princeless, Beyond the Western Deep, and Vamplets all have an element of sword and sorcery, but never has a title brought that into the real world. That is, until now. Archon: Battle of the Dragon is a, “1980s sword and sorcery fantasy/thriller set in a medieval themed Las Vegas Casino,” according to series creator, John Perez. Joining Perez on the title is artist Marco Maccagni.

When Gareth Thompson, a hard accented Southerner, Vietnam veteran and single father accepts a security job at the Archon he soon discovers all his orc, elf and dragon coworkers are not people in costumes but actual creatures of myth and legend. It’s a world where dwarves are bartenders, gnomes are valets, elves are accountants, dragons are Wall Street hustlers and everyone is looking for a slice of the American dream.

There is an added bonus in every issue of Archon… that of an actual tabletop gaming campaign. There’s supplemental material in the back of each issue that gives additional info on the world under the guise of a D&D dragons manual meant for kids. It creates a rather unique immersive reading experience.

Archon: Battle of the Dragon is currently available for pre-order in Diamond’s Previews catalog, under the Action Lab Entertainment section, and ships with two covers. The Marco Maccagni cover (JUN150854) and the Erin Fusco cover (JUN150855), which is limited to 2000 copies.


Mayfair Games’ Star Trek: Five Year Mission

MFG4139-cYou are about to begin your 5-year mission aboard the USS Enterprise. But which one? You can crew the classic Enterprise NCC-1701 or the next generation NCC 1701-D.

ALERT! You and your fellow crewmates must cooperate to resolve dangerous situations that threaten to destroy your ship. If you fail, you all lose. Solving threats is the way you score points for your crew and win the game.

Each crewmate has a unique ability. These abilities can help the team solve alerts. Use your skills wisely to give your crew the best chance at success.

So, which is the crew for you—The Original Series, or the Next Generation?

Star Trek: Five Year Mission is a new cooperative game for 3-7 crewmates created by David E. Whitcher and Mayfair Games. The game plays in 30-45 minutes, and will retail for $35.

Check out below for the content of what you get. The game contains:

  • 1 Enterprise mat (double-sided)
  • 7 Crew mats (double-sided)
  • 3 Decks of alert cards – 24 Blue, 24 Yellow, 24 Red
  • 35 Six-sided dice – 14 red, 14 blue, 7 yellow
  • 1 sand timer
  • 1 damage marker

Fionna & Cake Return with Their A-Game in Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake: Card Wars

KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios, and Cartoon Network Enterprises have announced the return of Fionna & Cake to comics in the all-new limited series Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake: Card Wars. Writer Jen Wang and artist Britt Wilson come together for a new adventure as Fionna & Cake seek out a worthy opponent for Card Wars champ Cake. As a bonus, each first-printing copy of issue #1 will come with an exclusive Adventure Time: Card Wars card, playable in the Cryptozoic Entertainment card game that itself was created based on an Adventure Time episode of the same name.

Cake is a Card Wars champ who can’t be beat, and Fionna…is really tired of getting beaten! They set off in search of a challenger who can really test Cake’s mettle. When they stumble across some gamer slugs, they think they’ve hit the jackpot, but these guys have never heard of Cake and refuse to even play with her!

The highly anticipated first issue in a six-part limited series, Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake: Card Wars #1 arrives in comic shops on July 15th with a main cover by series writer Jen Wang for the price of $3.99 under Diamond order code MAY151096. Also available in a limited quantity is a subscription cover by Wyeth Yates, a 10 Years incentive cover by Jeffrey Brown, and a retailer incentive cover by John Kovalic.

FTC Takes on Crowdfunding Fraud

FTC-logoWith Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms unwilling to take responsibility and do something about fraud and failed projects, the Federal Trade Commission has stepped in to do so.

While it’s a slap on the wrist, the FTC has announced through press release that it settled with Erik Chevalier over a failed board game Kickstarter project. Chevalier, as Forking Path Co., had his project The Doom That Came To Atlantic City! successfully funded in June 2012. The fundraising campaign raised $122,874 from 1,246 people, and the project was announced dead by Chevalier 14 months after in an update on the page.

The FTC charged Chevalier with not delivering his promised rewards or refund the backers. Instead, Chevalier spent most of the money on “unrelated personal expenses such as rent, moving himself to Oregon, personal equipment, and licenses for a different project.”

photo-originalAs part of his settlement Chevalier can not make future misrepresentations about any crowdfunding campaigns. He also can not use any of the donor’s personal information in any way and must get rid of it. The final order also imposed a $111,793.71 judgment but that has been suspended due to Chevalier’s inability to pay. He’ll have to pay if it turns out his financial situation isn’t what he claimed. He’ll also have to report any crowdfunding activity he partakes for the next 18 months. So lots of slaps on the wrists and some bad press for Chevalier. Chevalier in the end never admitted or denied the charges. How that amount of fraud doesn’t qualify as grand larceny and involve jail time baffles my mind.
Now, if only the FTC would do something about crowdfunding platforms profiting off of the fraud. The FTC was asking if the platforms have any responsibility, to which the FTC attorneys responded that “crowdfunding platforms have a responsibility to act fairly and non-deceptively.” In other words as long as they say upfront you can get screwed, the platforms can profit off of fraud as long as they want.

While they were promised a lot, backers who pledged to get the game did eventually do so. Cryptozoic Entertainment stepped in to help with the production of the game. Even after the files were lost, they were recreated by Lee Moyer, one of the game’s creators. Cryptozoic tracked down sculpts and molds with help of Z-Man Games founder Zev Shlasinger. They eventually shipped 1200 Kickstarter backers a copy of the completed game. Cryptozoic paid for the production, but the company and creators didn’t receive any revenues from the backers. The backers didn’t get the promised extras like pewter miniatures, art prints, t-shirts and other promised items.

The FTC took on the case as part of their work to protect consumers when it comes to new and emerging financial technology also known as FinTech. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Portland Division.

Game Review: Wonderland The Board Game

pic1286064It probably comes as a surprise, even for the disparate fans of Zenescope that there is a board game featuring one of the company’s properties.  It is the case however, as the company seemed interested in expanding its covering of different media beyond just comics to board games.  In essence there is probably no better series of characters to draw upon than those of the Grimm Fairy Tales Wonderland setting.  In terms of the quality of writing it has consistently been the best that Zenescope has to offer, featuring main characters that are being driven insane even if there is a good reason for this insanity (their connection to Wonderland.)  As the characters explore their own issues they keep coming up against the question of the chicken and the egg in terms of their own approach to life and how to deal with the realm of madness.

Although the series has been a standout for Grimm Fairy Tales and Zenescope it also begs the question about how to interpret this to a board game.  While some fans might be drawn to the game because of its association to the comics, it is really worth questioning as to whether that is a good idea.  The game draws on one of the mechanics of the series, that enemies have to be defeated in both on Earth and in Wonderland, and this is done through the Liddle House which was the source of so many troubles for the family.  The usual suspects are here, and it is a nice association with the comic universe, but the mechanics are overly basic.  As opposed to some popular games which use unconventional boards and strategies, this game is a relatively straightforward hunt and kill concept based on a grid movement system.  The only real twist in the game is that the board is reversed when moving to Wonderland.

It is unfortunate that Zenescope went ahead with this idea as it was.  It took a fairly popular series and reduced it to a game which could easily be designed and playtested in single day. It draws well from the comic material, but for fans who are unfamiliar with this material they might also wonder why certain characters are attacking each other and trying to kill one another when this is not the case in the original novel.  As it stands this is a pretty weak entry as a board game, and while it would be nice to see Zenescope try again, hopefully it wouldn’t turn out like this did.

Score:  3

Game Review: Batman Arkham City Escape

pic1489902_mdBatman Wins!  Or so goes the mantra of his die hard fans that believe that he can beat any hero or villain in any scenario providing that he has long enough to plot out a strategy.  Taking that same concept and applying it to a video game version of the character might seem like a good concept, but there needs to be a connection between the concept and the finished product.  In this case the story pits Batman against not only one of his villains but numerous as they have simultaneously escaped from Arkham.  This is a two player game with one side taking on the role of the villains in the breakout and one player taking on the role of Batman.

The villains are given a few additional mechanics, but not as many as Batman, who relies on a variety of skills and items that one assumes would be associated with him.  This is one of the high points of this game, in that the character playing as Batman can really get into the game as the character which is a common problem in other games.  At the same time, it would seem as though the game designers ran with the interesting concept and forget to play test it enough that it would make an engaging finished product, instead relying on the artwork and the characters to draw in fans.  When it comes down to Batman having to round up and defeat all of the bad guys this is a definitely one sided game for the villains.  Batman requires a lot of luck as well as a great strategy to take down the bad guys, while conversely the player playing the villains doesn’t really have to try hard in order to win, meaning that one side will find not much of a challenge while the other side will be scrambling constantly to try to pull out an unlikely victory.

One must be careful when dealing with a thematic game like this one.  While some games incorporating in popular products can work well (such as either Legendary for Marvel or the DC Comics Deck Building Game) this game proves that one must be wary when purchasing games for their content without first checking on the mechanics.  A little bit of extra playtesting and smoother mechanics would have gone a long way here, but as it stands the game is mostly a dud.  In this case Batman almost certainly doesn’t win.

Score: 4.5


Game Review: DC Comics Deck Building Starfire Promo

starfireThe idea of the promo card has been with the DC Comics Deck Building Game since its onset.  As opposed to Legendary (Marvel’s Deck Building Game) where the characters are played based on entire decks, the main characters in the DC Comics Deck Building are solitary character cards who help determine how the game is played and thus a single character can be introduced to DC with only one card as opposed to the 14 that would be required for Marvel.  As the card is a promo though it is not as easy to acquire.  Although it can be order over the internet, it will go almost as much on a site like eBay as it will for the entire game on Amazon, and therefore it calls into question as to whether this is a good investment or not.

It should be said that the card is one that somewhat skips over the in-game mechanics and for the first time in the series is the main character card that is more dependent on related cards in the deck.  As opposed to character such as Wonder Woman who benefit from a deck which is primarily villains, Starfire does not have as much of an advantage with a particular card type, with the character text giving the following ability “Once during Each of Your Turns, if there are no Super Powers in the line-up then draw a card.”  While this can be a powerful ability, it also forces the character to purchase a lot of super powers in order to keep them off the board.  In an indirect way this is also good for the character, as it is beneficial when the Starfire cards from the Heroes Unite expansion are played together, one of which is a superpower.  Used together in the same turn they can be a powerful combination, and while the main character is not necessary to make use of them, thematically it makes sense as well as the in-game text increasingly the likelihood that these cards are bought.

In the first playthrough with this card she was pitted against another one of the Heroes Unite characters (Red Tornado) and it was a relatively easy victory, even accounting for the draw of the cards.  This means that she is a relatively powerful character as the ability to draw an extra card comes in pretty handy on most turns and as the combination of super powers gives her an additional edge.  As for the price, it is hard to say.  It is unfortunate that Cryptozoic does not make more of these cards available, as Legendary cards are mostly all out there for close to their original prices.  This card was free but has become a lot more, and so the difference in opportunity to acquire it might make it less desirable even it it is fun for in-game play.  In all honesty it is probably not worth the price paid to acquire it though, as Cryptozoic has released so many other main character cards and other with female superheroes.  It is a shame because the character is popular enough, except she is buried here because of her inaccessibility.

Score: 7.8, but 6 for availability.

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