The Premier Guide to Casual Board and Card Games Issue #1 - Fall 2012
ON THE COVER Stronghold Games releases a line of quick, light, $15 card games. Is this a new direction for them? PAGE 4
For learning and teaching a game more effectively PAGE 28
REVOLUTION A program to make board gaming more accessible to more people PAGE 10
SPLIT PERSPECTIVE What “casual” means to a game elitist and a game newbie PAGE 34
Looney Labs Games are the very definition of Casual Games!
To Create Fun!
Search for a Looney Labs retailer near you at:
r oste r. l o o n e yla bs . c o m
â€œA casual board (or card) game is played in under an hour, set up and taught in under 10 minutes, and requires some light strategic thought. Casual games are not specifically marketed to children, but can be enjoyed by anyone from older children to adults.â€?
Casual Game Insider | Fall 2012
COVER STORY: QUICK, LIGHT, $15 CARD GAMES
Stronghold Games releases a new line of light card games. Is this a new direction for them?
A SPECIAL THANK YOU
A word of appreciation to our Kickstarter backers.
Reviews of Octopus’ Garden, Word on the Street, Duck! Duck! Go!, Square Shooters, For Sale, and Lost Temple.
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CASUAL GAME REVOLUTION
Find out about the program that aims to make board gaming more accessible to casual gamers.
CASUAL GAME INSIDER is published quarterly by:
STORE TO OLS
Posters and shelf labels for the casual games in your store.
LEARNING & TEACHING GAMES MORE EFFECTIVELY
Some great tips for anyone who learns or teaches board games.
Find out what “casual” means to different people, including game elitists and newbies.
CASUAL GAME SUCCESS STORY
Learn how casual games were useful at an international student competition.
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Casual Game Insider | Fall 2012
Plea s e s up po r t t h e s e g r e a t c o mpanies! Stronghold Games has released many successful games, including the best-selling casual game Survive: Escape From Atlantis!, the award-winning Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War, and the thematic deck-building game, Core Worlds with its expansion, Galactic Orders. With the release of both Eurogames and light casual card games, Stronghold Games is now in all segments of the market for all gamers.
Gryphon Games is a publisher of board and card games that provide entertainment for the entire family. These engaging casual games encourage multi-age play and adapt well for use in schools, libraries, and social settings. With dozens of titles to choose from, you are sure to find many you will love. Choose Gryphon Games for Fast Family Fun!
Looney Labs offers a small line of award-winning fun family games. Our mission is to create fun — but it isn’t just that we make fun games — our games create fun times! Our biggest hit is a little card game with ever changing rules called FLUXX — pick your favorite theme (from Zombies to Monty Python to The Wizard of Oz) and get together with your family and friends around the table for a game of Fluxx today!
Fun Q Games was founded by Jeanine and Daniel Calkin to create fun and challenging games which bring families and friends together. They design and manufacture award-winning original games. Their product line includes: Smash or Trash released in 2009, followed by Triplica in 2010 and Befuzzled in 2011, and are looking forward to future projects.
“Game Salute provides tools and services to make the industry better.” We create awesome games for the whole family. We support stores, members of the gaming media, non-profit organizations, and individual gamers. All our efforts are designed to help raise the standards of the entire tabletop games industry.
Stratus Games is a publisher of high quality casual games since 2009. From the very beginning, they have been committed to excellence in design, components, and game play experience. Each game includes a video tutorial for easy learning and optional rules for incredible replay value. Published games to date include Gold Mine, Launch Pad, Eruption, DiceAFARI, and Off Your Rocker.
Casual Game Insider | Fall 2012
124 gener o u s i nd i v i d u a l s a nd c o m p a ni e s ha v e m a de this magazine a r e a l i t y . T ha nk y o u f o r b e l i e v i ng i n u s ! GOLD LEVEL
Pledged $400 or more
Pledged between $50 and $400
S t ro nghold Games
D a r re l R a i n e s
F unQ Games
Steve Jackson Games
Fa m o u s G a m e s Company
Joshua Beale (Straeshi)
A a ro n P h i l l i p s
S m i rk & Dagger Games
To n y B r u m
J a s o n Tu c k e r
Ro b S c h a m p e r s
A n d re a B i a g g i
A s madi Games
Spartaco A l b e r t a re l l i
Ro b o t s & Re d Ta p e
Dice Hate Me Games
C o re y Yo u n g
Christian Lindke Tw i n S u n s E n t .
D r a g o n ’s D e n G a m e s Av o n To y s Imperial Outpost S h a n e O’ D e a John Idlor Jonathan M. D’Silva
G ame Salute
Clever Mojo Games
BRONZE LEVEL Pledged between $5 and $50 E d K o w a l czewski D a n i e l W. Johnson Pe t e r Tr a n g J a s o n M c Cracken O l l e J o h a nsson M a r l e n e Wellard
Ryan Smith Gut Bustin’ Games Tom Raz o Mark A. Schmidt Nick Albright pearsonartphoto.com
Nate Lawrence Matt Forbeck Aaron Trahan Jennifer Brozek Fiery Dragon Productions, Inc.
Ricki Marking-Camuto Matt Leitzen S t e v e n K . Wa t k i n s Kevin Abson Benjamin Smith Zombie Planet
J. A. Baluci Jess B J e ff S l a n e Pe ga s u s G a m e s
John Kovalic Nevin B a l l Adam L . L i p i n s k i Teles t r a t i o n s Te a m Tony M a r i n a ro Jeff ‘ f o x x t ro t ’ C r a i g proje c t C a l l i o p e . c o m Bren d a H o v d e n e s Warre n S i s t ro m Garth E l l i o t t Nick S h a w Allis o n M o r r i s Jenn y J o n e s
M o m m y Wo m a n LKL Studios Hometown Games M a rc D . L o n g G e o r g e Va l a i t i s C a m e ro n I w a n R i c h a r d F r i e d l e r, E s q . C h i p C h u rc h Pa t r i c k T h u n s t ro m A d a m L e v e r m o re B r i n g Yo u r A - G a m e Matthew Chan
J u l i a Z i o b ro , B e l l e v u e Board Game Geeks Ryan Olson A r t h u r O’ D w y e r Adam Harder P l a y ro o m Entertainment J e ff M e t z n e r Ro b e r t Fa r m e r T. B u e s c h e l Zedd Epstein L i v i n g Wo r l d s G a m e s
J a s o n Yo u n g d a l e G a m e s m i t h , L L C ( t h egamesmith.com) Game Kastle Eric J. Carter Nicholas Miranda L u k e Wa r re n Bill Bodden Shay Wilson Michael Cortez Marilynn Goldsmit Kicktraq
Richard Bliss J e ff re y N o r m a n Bourbeau M a t t “ Z a v a ro ” Allbright Emil Larsen, Sun Tzu Games Don A. Dehm Richard Lambert Rick Loomis (FBI) Tr a v i s B r y a n t Hal Mangold
SPONSORED COVER STORY S t r o n g h o l d Games The Fortress of Great Games!
QUICK, L I G H T, $15
CARD GAMES A new addition to the S t r o ng ho l d G a mes line
tronghold Games burst onto the scene in 2009 making waves in the h o b b y g a m e i n d u s t r y w i t h re p r i n t s of games from the past, all done with very high quality components. Since then, Stronghold Games has continued to release both reprinted games, such as its smash hit “Survive: Escape From Atlantis!”, as well as new game designs like their the matic deck-building game, “Core Worlds”. To d a t e , m o s t o f t h e S t r o n g h o l d G a m e s c a t a l o g h a s f o c u s e d o n b i g g e r, l o n g e r hobby games. As we fast forward to the fourth quarter of 2012, Stronghold Games is entering into a new market of quick, light, and inexpen sive card games, which also feature interesting new gameplay and great artwork.
“ C ra z y C re a t u re s o f D r. G l o o m” i s a c a r d g a m e by noted game designer Michael Schacht (of “Zooloretto” fame). Players are vying to become the new apprentice of Dr. Gloom. Monster cards a r e p l a y e d i n t o D r. G l o o m ’s m a c h i n e s a s e a c h player attempts to get rid of all of their cards. When one player does, all other players score points for the cards remaining in their hands. After a number of rounds equal to the number of players, the player with the lowest score wins. The game is for 2-4 players and plays in 20 minutes. MSRP $14.95. “Little Devils ” is a trick-taking card game, where the second card played — not the first — determines the goal of the round. Cards are played in ascending or descending order based on this second card. Players try to avoid taking the “little devils” that are on the cards, while of course sticking the other players with lots of the “little devils”. The game is for 3 to 6 players and plays in about 20 minutes. MSRP $14.95. So...is this a change in direction for Stronghold Games? “ We a r e e x p a n d i n g o u r g a m e l i n e s , n o t c h a n g i n g t h e d i r e c t i o n o f t h e c o m p a n y, ” a c c o r d i n g to Stephen Buonocore, President of Stronghold Games. “Since our inception, we have been building our brand as the highest-quality publisher. We first focused on great reprints and then on great new game designs. We are now in another phase of the growth of Stronghold Games, expanding horizontally into smaller, inexpensive, fast, fun casual games at lower price points.” “Stronghold Games wants to be the game company that all gamers go to for their game purchases,” continued Stephen Buonocore. “Regardless of whether they want large, meaty hobby games, or family-fun casual games, they can look to S t r o n g h o l d G a m e s f o r t h e s e h i g h - q u a l i t y, g r e a t games.” The Stronghold Games motto is “ The Fortress of Great Games!” With this new line of games, they are surely positioning themselves we ll to be just that for even more gamers. 5
A few thoughts about some of the best casual games we have recently received for evaluation. the suspense as the end game nears. On the downside, the anemones and feather worms look a bit too similar and can cause confusion, and there a re n o o c t o p u s e s i n t h e g a m e components at all (prompting several players to ask, “Why is this called Octopus’ Garden if there are no octopuses?”). Even so, this is a quick and delight ful game that I enjoy immensely and that almost always gets a request for repeat plays. Octopus’ Garden is a calm and lightly strategic game from Valley Games in which players take on the role of octopuses planting an undersea garden. Pearls are traded for a row or column of three items in the marketplace and then planted in a player’s garden for points. B u t t h e y s h o u l d n ’t b e p l a n t e d just anywhere, as careful plan ning will attrac t seahorses and clownfish for bonus points. In addition, the sea stars are worth a high amount of points, yet on each turn they move ever closer to devouring the oysters, which are the source of valuable pearls for purchasing more items. This game has great artwork that truly gives the feeling of being underwater. It is a calm game, yet the movement of the sea stars and their effect on the rest of the garden increase
Word on the Street is a fun party game from Out of the Box Games that tests players’ vocabulary and spelling skills to the limits. Players form two competing teams who are battling, tugof-war style, over the letters that are placed on the center of the street. On each round, one team draws a category card and spells a word in that category that will push the most possible letters closer to their own side of the board as it is spelled. The opposing team may jump in to try to cause distraction or confusion, which always gets hearts pumping faster as the timer draws to an end.
Chris James Editor-in-Chief and Designer of Casual Games
The rules effectively cover the possibility of misspellings and disagreements, and this game can prove to be a very fun experience with the right group and a good balance of word skills on both teams. The components are top-notch and should withstand a lot of use. For anyone who likes words, this is a solid party game to check out.
Duck! Duck! Go! is a bathtub racing game from APE Games that had us smiling from the very moment we opened the box. The assortment of rubber duckies included in the game are both humorous and wellmade and are central to the charm of the game. The box sent to us includes an alien duck and dead duck, among others, which are just a few of t h e o v e r 1 5 0 v a r i e t i e s o ff e r e d by the publisher. In the game, players build a bathtub race track using large hexagonal tiles and attempt to
A cooperative real-time game Escape is a cooperative game in which players must escape from a temple. Escape is played in real-time, with all players rolling dice and taking actions simultaneously. The real-time aspect is enhanced by a soundtrack.
Casual Game Insider | Fall 2012
be the first to direct their ducky to each of the checkpoints (buoys) and reach the finish line (the drain). Cards containing pre-determined movement patterns are selected and played by all players simultaneously. Collisions against the side of the tub or other duckies result in a 180 degree rotation, w h i c h c a n b e a c r i t i c a l d i s a dvantage, so careful planning and prediction of other players’ movement is key to winning the race. While it may appear to be only for children, Duck! Duck! Go! is a challenging and fun experience for children and adults alike.
P l a y i n g c a r d s o n d i c e ? Ye s , please! Square Shooters breathes new life into the famili a r g a m e o f Po k e r b y c r e a t i n g 9 dice that have been cleverly designed to allow for the rolling of most common Poker hands. These dice form the basis of the Square Shooters game, which includes a standard set of rules in which players attempt to roll the hand displayed on a “target” card with up to 3 rolls of the dice. Special “shootout” cards, when drawn, add some spice and additional choices to the game. There are also several
variations on the original game and other card games, such as Rummy, included in the box. In the deluxe box, I found the components to be of good q u a l i t y, w i t h l a r g e , h e f t y d i c e and a sturdy dice cup that stores the di ce, chips, and cards. The small size of the cards makes them difficult to shuffle and handle, but the extra portability of keeping them stored in the c u p i s a b o n u s . I n a l l , S q u a re Shooters is a fun casual game that offers a twist on a familiar classic that is good for anyone who enjoys rolling a handful of dice.
Who knew buying and selling real estate could be so much fun? In For Sale by Gryphon Games, there are no banks, realtors, title companies, or legal ese required, just a very simple and fun casual gaming experie n c e . P l a y e r s b i d o n d i ff e r e n t properties ranging from a card board box to a space station, then turn around and sell them for (hopefully) more money. Fo r S a l e i s q u i c k a n d e a s y t o learn, yet requires forethought and skills in auctioning and bluffing to come out victorious. There are few components to
the game, which can easily fit i n a s m a l l z i p p e r b a g f o r p o rtability; but be sure to bring along the rules, as it is often necessary to reference the game setup for different numbers of players.
L o s t Te m p l e b y S t r o n g h o l d Games is a jungle explorer game in which players attempt to be the first to reach the temple ruins. The board offers a single track from start to finish with various ruins along the way. To progress along the track during each round, players must decide which of the local villagers will help them go the farthest through the jungle. Each villager offers a different ability that is useful in certain situa tions and not as much in others. While choices are often limited, choosing wisely is important to reaching the goal first. Lost Temple is casual in nature, yet requires several rounds for new players to become familiar with all of the characters and their abilities, which is key to rapid progress toward the temple. If the players are com mitted enough to adequately learn the different abilities, it can offer a fun experience, complete with bluffing and some light strategy. 5
Casual Game Insider | Fall 2012
For your casual game shelf or collection
C asual Games Atlantis Blokus Carcassonne Castle Panic Crazy Creatures of Dr. Gloom DiceAFARI Duck! Duck! Go! Duck! Duck! Safari! Eruption
For Sale Forbidden Island Gold Mine Hive Incan Gold Launch Pad Little Devils Lost Temple Octopusâ€™ Garden
Pentago Rise! Slapshot Square Shooters Survive: Escape from Atlantis! Ticket to Ride Tsuro Two by Two Zombie Dice
Smarty Party Taboo Wits and Wagers Word on the Street
Publishers: would you like to see your games reviewed or added to this list? P l e a s e s e n d 2 e v a l u a t i o n c o p i es to:
Party Games Apples to Apples Cranium Last Word Off Your Rocker
C a s u a l G a m e Re v o l u t i o n 7014 E. Golf Links Rd. #265 Tu c s o n , A Z 8 5 7 3 0
Casual Game Insider | Fall 2012
Chris J a m e s
Editor-in-Chief and Designer of Casual Games
Casual Game Revolution is a program that aims to make board gaming more accessible to more people. To see explosive growth in the industry, we must work together to reach casual gamers directly.
magine a world where board games are a hot topic of conversation. The chatter at the office is about what good games have been played recently and the conference rooms at lunch time are packed with people surrounding the tables, playing games. Instead of constantly texting, surfing the web, or gathering around the TV, friends and families get together regu larly for face-to-face game time. Wouldnâ€™t it be amazing? Well, forget about it. Itâ€™s never g o i n g t o h a p p e n . E v e r. T h a t i s , unless we make some changes in the board game industry.
C a s ua l G a mers I believe casual gamers are the key to unlocking the true p o t e n t i a l o f o u r i n d u s t r y, b o t h now and in the future, yet this market is being vastly underserved. Unless we figure out how to reach this audience properly and cater to their needs directly, board gaming will forever remain in the eyes of the general public as either an activity for children or a fringe activity that is inaccessible, confusing, or unpopular to most people. A casual gamer is someone of any a g e w h o i s i n t e re s t e d i n b o a r d
This is a limited preview of the Fall 2012 issue of Casual Game Insider, the premier guide to casual board and card games. The full issue is available in print and digital formats at CasualGameRevolution.com.