Monday, May 14, 2012

2011 Dice Tower Award Nominees Announced

I'm a little late on this one, but I wanted to let you all know that The Dice Tower has released it's nominee's for the 2011 Dice Tower Gaming Awards.

A committee comprised of over 40 prominent podcasters and bloggers has come up with a list of the best games published in 2011.

The winners will be announced the first week of July. Congratulations to all the nominees! 2011 was really a banner year for boardgames and that is reflected in this list.

I'm not sure how Tom Vassel and the Dice Tower crew would feel about the list being reposted here, so I shall err on the side of caution and direct you to the list on their site. You can find all of the 2011 nominee right here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kickstarter Craziness

If you've been following the world of boardgames recently you would be hard pressed to have missed the craziness (aka awesomeness) on Kickstarter between Steve Jackson Games' Ogre Designer Edition and CoolMiniorNot's Zombicide.

Both companies set modest $20,000 funding goals. Both companies have brought in considerably more than they asked for, and probably more than they expected.

If you are not familiar with Kickstarter, a) where have you been for the past year? and b) it's an online crowd funding site for creative projects of all sorts. And, I mean...all sorts. Ideas that might never have seen the light of day are finding their shot via Kickstarter. Generally, prospective entrepreneurs present their project on the site, set the funding goal they need to achieve to be able to go into production on whatever their project is and people all around the world have 30 days to back the idea with their hard earned cash.

Zombicide, a co-production between CoolMiniorNot and Guillotine Games, is a boardgame of the Zombie apocalypse. The funding window for the game closed 4 days ago (as I type this). They needed $20,000 and received a whopping $781,597!

Go ahead. Pick your jaw off the floor. That's pretty amazing, ain't it? Nearly $800,000! Now, you may be wondering (again, if you are one of those few unfamiliar with the juggernaut that is Kickstarter) what are they going to do with all that extra money? That's where "Stretch Goals" come in. Stretch Goals are set for funding levels over and above the minimum funding needed to advance the project forward. For example, in the case of Zombicide, there are a host of extra miniatures being offered at various funding levels. It seemed to me that the sweet spot was to back the game for $100. The game is expected to retail for $89. But, at the $100 level they were offering a whole boatload of really cool stuff. It was killing me that I didn't have a spare hundo laying around to toss their way, or else I would've!

Zombicide looks really, really cool. And, that is coming from someone who is pretty much sick to death of the zombie theme in games (not to mention other media). Check out the information on their Kickstarter page.

Another boardgame that is going gangbusters on Kickstarter is the new edition of Ogre from Steve Jackson Games. I remember first playing Ogre sometime in the late 1970s. A neighbor around the corner had the first edition of the game. It was a tiny thing that came packaged in a little ziplock baggie. The game was played on a small hex map with cardstock counters representing the various units. I honestly don't remember much aside from simply playing, and enjoying, the game. But, I do remember it!

Then, a couple years back at the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio,  I saw a table set up in the Miniatures Hall with some folks playing the Ogre Miniatures Game. It instantly awoke some nostalgia in me and I wanted to pick up the game. Unfortunately, it was out of print. The Adventure Retail booth, which houses SJG product at Origins, was selling boxed sets of the minis - but not the main ones. They were long sold out.  Upon returning home I did some research online and found that Steve Jackson was in the planning stages for a new edition of Ogre, and had been for sometime. So, I thought, I'd wait.

And, then the Kickstarter campaign launched....and, boy, did it launch! As I mentioned, they were looking to raise $20,000. As of this writing there is 6 hours remaining on the campaign and they have raised $851, 243! This game is going to be massive. And, as a result of the incredible success of the campaign Steve Jackson Games has committed to an expansion, bringing back the miniatures and giving another SJG classic, Car Wars, the deluxe treatment as well! Fantastic!

The Kickstarter campaign has garnered a lot of attention for Steve Jackson Games. They were profiled by Inc. magazine, among others. Many in the business world were praising them for how they ran the campaign. There's been a lot of controversy regarding Kickstarter, especially in the gaming community. Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Well, for Steve Jackson Games it certainly appears to be a good thing. And, for a lot of gamers who have been wanting a new edition of Ogre (like me!) it is a great thing! I cannot wait to get my hands on this massive game!

I only wish, again, I could have backed it at a higher level - but I threw my $1 into the kitty so I would be able to order a T-shirt later. Now I just need to save up for the game itself which is expect to clock in at $100!

So, fellow gamers, it looks like we've got two fantastic games headed our way soon! Keep your eyes peeled for Zombicide from CoolMiniorNot and Ogre: Designer's Edition from Steve Jackson Games!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Release the Hordes!

I've been looking forward to the month of May for quite awhile now for several reasons. The Avengers comes out this weekend. The Origins Game Fair is later this month. But, another reason that I've been excited for May is the scheduled release of the Trollblood Warpack starter box featuring plastic models instead of metal. And, that means I will finally be playing me some Hordes!

Hordes, of course, comes from the creative minds at Privateer Press. Privateer Press also produces the mega-popular Warmachine miniatures game. I've been circling Warmachine since around 2005 or so. I loved the look of the steampunk-y fantasy world that Privateer had created. That's huge for me. The world of the game is really, at the end of the day, more important to me than the actual mechanics of the game. The world of the Iron Kingdoms that Privateer first introduced to the gaming world through some D20 RPG supplements was unlike anything games had seen up to that point.

But, for some reason, I just couldn't get into Warmachine. The game didn't seem to have much traction in the area, and I found myself less and less interested in assembling metal models. I especially didn't want to work on models that you had to pin in order to keep them together. So, I moved on to other games.

Privateer Press soon introduced us to Hordes, a complimentary game based more in the wilds of the Warmachine world. I still remember seeing the Next Big Thing ads on the back of No Quarter magazine that was promised to be unveiled at Gen Con of that year.  Hordes was an amazing expansion to the world and introduced several new factions including the monstrous Trollkin and their ilk. But, I still didn't want metal. So, no Hordes for me.

Flashforward to the present. Privateer Press has, in the past couple years, started producing some of their kits in plastic, much to my pleasure. Now, I had been hoping that Privateer would produce a plastic starter box for the Retribution of which point I'd start playing Warmachine. But, apparently, for some reason, it appears Retribution isn't fated to get such a starter. But, then I saw that plastic starters were starting to come out for Hordes as well, and the Trollkin started calling to me.

According to the War Store, the plastic warpack for the Trollbloods is due out on May 9th. That is just around the corner! I've got my fingers crossed that date is accurate.

So, if everything aligns just right, this is the month that I will finally be delving into the world of Hordes! And, I cannot freakin' wait!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Games Workshop Comes to Columbus

Today was the Grand Opening of the Games Workshop store in Columbus, Ohio. It's a pretty small store in one of the strip malls along Sancus Boulevard in the Polaris area. But, small though it may be it was packed full of product and excited fans this afternoon when the doors opened early just before noon.

I arrived about a quarter 'til noon on this unseasonably chilly and wet April morning. But there were still about 30 dedicated GW players huddled in line waiting to check out the new store and meet the staff there. That number increased once the doors opened and soon the place was just packed. It made it a bit difficult to move around and check out the various offerings, but it was great to see so many folks come out for the opening event.

 Up front, near the windows, was an Order Point station. Need to order something that the store is out of stock on? No problem. You can take care of that right on this handle terminal. Need an item that's only available online? No problem. Again, you can order it here and have it shipped right to the store. Very convenient.

With several items only available online currently, this is a very handy service offered by the store. You can order your online items, and come in and buy them together with in stock items at the store in one handy transaction.

There were several events scheduled to take place today. There was a Conversion Contest to test your model making skills and creativity; a Space Marine Painting Contest and scenarios for Warhammer Fantasy, 40K and Lord of the Rings.

Speaking of Lord of the Rings: one of the reasons I'm excited about the store is that other stores in the area don't carry much of the Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Strategy Battles Game line at the moment. I expect we'll see some upswing as we get closer to the release of The Hobbit (pt 1) this December, but right now it's difficult to find product in stores. So, seeing shelves full of LOTR models did my heart good. I'd love to get into this game. Ironically, they did not have the core rulebook for the Strategy Battles Game in stock. They did, however, have the recently released army books as well as the other previously released supplements.

I'm really jonesin' to pick up the Mines of Moria set soon.

There were three tables set up for games. These aren't full-sized tables. I expect these will utilized more for teaching new players how to play, or possibly some small in store gaming events. Either way, it's great to see some playing space given the relatively small size of the shop.

Merchandise surrounds you on the two side walls and the far back wall (the storefront, of course, is dominated by windows). There is a display case just inside the front door containing a variety of painted models. Some beautiful work there.

In additional to models for the three core games, there was a large selection of paints and hobby supplies. There was also a nice selection of Black Library novels (which seemed to skew more towards 40K, but I expect those novels are bigger sellers than the Fantasy ones). I even saw some books from Forge World, which should make those a bit more obtainable for local players.

I'm sure there's the question in the minds of some players and retailers of how the presence of this store will affect other local game stores. That's a valid concern and one that, as a former game retailer myself, I get. I think, however, that the location is far enough from existing shops that it shouldn't adversely affect sales in the area. The limited playing space means that players will still be hitting thier usual haunts for regular games and tournaments. Hopefully the store can be a place that helps to create new players to feed into the local gaming communities of Central Ohio.

As a newbie Games Workshop player, I'm pretty excited to see this store open. I'm looking forward to getting in there soon and speaking more with the manager, Josh, about the store and what he hopes to see in the future.

Games Workshop is located at: 8653 Sancus Blvd, Columbus, Ohio. Their phone # is: 1-800-394-4263. Like them on Facebook at:

And, tell 'em The Rural Gamer sent ya!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

This and That...

Well, it has certainly been awhile since my last posting to The Rural Gamer. I'm still rural. And, I'm still gaming ('though not nearly enough as I'd like). But, life has it's ways of redirecting your priorities and that's what's been going on here.

Just to catch you all up to speed, I'm neck deep in a job search. Some of you may know that I used to be a pastor, and am looking to do so again. That's where the majority of my time has been dedicated lately. The search began in earnest this past January, which - amazingly enough - is when I last posted here. Funny how that works out. The search goes on, but I'm making a concerted effort to keep blogging about all things gaming...from a more rural perspective.

I've gotten several games lately that I've yet to get to the game table: Mage Knight from Wizkids, War of the Ring 2ed from Ares Games as well as the new Wings of Glory WW2 Starter from Ares Games. I hope to get those to the table soon. I'm dying to play War of the Ring especially, and so glad to finally have that in my collection.

I have played a little Lord of the Rings: The Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games, Summoner Wars from Plaid Hat Games and got to play Wizards of the Coast's Castle Ravenloft boardgame just this past week. Those were all good times!

I'm finally going to be getting into Hordes with the impending release of the plastic Trollbloods Warpack starter box in early May. I've had the books for ever, but have just been waiting for the plastics. Yeah, I'm one of those weird gamers who prefers plastic to metal. Maybe it's from my toy collecting background, I don't know. But, yeah, plastic is where it's at for me when it comes to games, with resin being a close second and metal a distant third (or necessary evil).

Convention Season is rapidly approaching. For me that means Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio and Gen Con in Indianapolis, Indiana. I expect to be at both shows covering them for The Rural Gamer and Action Figure Insider (the other place I hang my writer's cap online). I'm very much looking forward to both shows.

And, lastly, this coming Saturday sees the Grand Opening of Columbus, Ohio's very own Games Workshop store. The store opens Saturday, April 28th at noon and is located at 8653 Sancus Blvd (which is between Polaris and Lazelle). Come on out for the opening festivities if you are a local GW player or just want to check it out!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Champions Clash in 2012

I'll admit it. I'm on a bit of a Warcraft kick right now. I've long been a fan of the original Warcraft computer real-time-strategy games. I recently dug out Warcraft III and have been enjoying the heck out of playing that. I dig the world and lore of Azeroth and the look and feel that Blizzard Entertainment has created for the world of Warcraft.

Thanks to a friend dumping his collection of old Upper Deck World of Warcraft TCG cards on me, I've got a bunch of cards but have never played the TCG. Always thought I might try it, but the opportunity never arose...and frankly, I never put much effort into seeking it out.

I loved the entirely too-shortlived World of Warcraft Miniatures Game (also from Upper Deck). But, sadly the game seemed to be mishandled and died a premature death.

Cryptozoic took over the TCG when Upper Deck lost the license a couple years back, and from all appearances seem to be doing a great job with it. It remains tempting. But, then Cryptozoic announced an all-new World of Warcraft card game for 2012: Clash of Champions, a deck building game. Here's what Cryptozoic says about the game:

World of Warcraft: Clash of Champions takes deck-building games to a whole new level!

Players take on the role of some of the most iconic Heroes of the Warcraft universe, including Thrall, Jaina, King Varian, Garrosh, Sylvanas, and King Magni. When Epic Raid Bosses like Onyxia, Ragnaros, and The Lich King are defeated, your Heroes level up! Each Hero comes with four special cards that are unique to that Hero. When your Hero levels up, you get to add one of these exclusive cards to your deck. Every game plays out differently, and every Hero provides a new, customizable game experience!

Acquire Epic Loot, defeat monsters, and take on Raid Bosses that strike fear into the hearts of mortal men!

Sounds pretty cool to me, actually! Part of what keeps me out of the TCG is the long history the game already has. Here's the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something. The game is supposed to retail for $44.99 but you get a bunch of stuff for the money:

  • 423 Game Cards
    • 24 Unique Hero Ability Cards
    • 56 Starting Cards
    • 126 Item Cards (9 each of 14 different cards)
    • 126 Monster Cards (9 each of 14 different cards)
    • 3 Gathering of Legends Cards
    • 9 Epic Boss Cards
    • 32 Boss Loot Cards
    • 20 Poison Cards
    • 26 Randomizer Cards
    • 1 Deleted Stack Card
  • 6 Oversized Hero Cards
  • 1 Rulebook

I'm definitely going to keep my eye on this one!

Clash of Champions can be played in 30 minutes with 2-4 players. I admit I'm disappointed there is no solo mode, as that would ensure it getting to the table more often. It's due out in early 2012. I believe I heard a February date bandied about, but in the gaming world the release date is the date you actually see it in your local shop!

So, if you're a fan of the Warcraft franchise, or of deck-building games, keep a lookout for World of Warcraft: A Clash of Champions.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Will Mars Attack the Tabletop in 2012?

Topps is looking to bring their Mars Attacks property back in a big way in 2012. It's the 50th Anniversary of the creepily cool trading card series that was the inspiration of the 1996 movie directed by Tim Burton, and Topps wants to celebrate.

According to the press release "major product launches" are planned throughout 2012 and beyond. I, for one, am looking forward to what's coming our way. Already announced are a comic book series from IDW and a new toyline from Mezco.

But, the reason I am mentioning any of this here is the (completely unfounded) hope that Mars Attacks could make it's way to the tabletop in some form. Some may argue that it already has. Unofficially, anyways. Martians!!! from Twilight Creations and Invasion from Outer Space from Flying Frog Productions owe heavily to the original artwork from the trading cards. But, I'm hoping from something new. Something licensed. And, of course, something good (not saying the other games aren't good).

I think Heroclix would be a fantastic fit for Mars Attacks...but, given the history between Topps and Wizkids I don't know if that would happen. But, it could be very cool. A board game could be cool, depending upon the publisher.

All I know is that in 2012 I am going to be reading Mars Attacks comics, collecting a Mars Attacks toyline and wanting to play a Mars Attacks game. I just hope someone in the Topps licensing department is thinking the same thing!

Anyone interested in following the relaunch of this classic property should check out the official Facebook page found right here.