Around the Table Q4 2020

Page 1

Q4 2020

FOSSILIS and the Power of Table Presence

Building the Magic Circle in Online Games Tips and tricks to navigate virtual game play

Think Outside the Boardgame Box Exploring the benefits of active group games

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A Publication by the Game Manufacturers Association


Q4 2020


PRESIDENT Thank you to the following industry professionals for contributing their time and Stephan Brissaud IELLO expertise to Around the Table! Please enjoy their articles throughout this third issue. If you would like to contribute to future issues of Around the Table by suggesting a VICE-PRESIDENT topic or writing your own article, please email Chris Spivey DARKER HUE STUDIOS TREASURER Gary Alaka GAP CLOSER GAMES SECRETARY Jeff Tidball ATLAS GAMES Dr. James “Pigeon” Fielder DISTRIBUTOR CHAIR Dr. James “Pigeon” Sito Sanchez PEACHSTATE HOBBY Fielder is a Colorado DISTRIBUTION State University RETAIL CHAIR political scientist who studies emergent Dawn Studebaker THE GAME ANNEX political processes in cyber-mediated spaces and game worlds. He’s published and DIRECTOR-AT-LARGE lectured widely on liminality, educational Julie Ahern GREENBRIER GAMES gaming, gaming societies, and political analysis of science fiction and fantasy DIRECTOR-AT-LARGE literature. His most recent work was an Andrew Chesney CHIP THEORY GAMES immersive-ethnography study of power and norm dynamics in two Denver-area Vampire: DIRECTOR-AT-LARGE The Masquerade live action roleplaying Nicole Lindroos GREEN RONIN groups, published in The Politics of Horror PUBLISHING (Picariello, ed. 2020). He’s a member of DIRECTOR-AT-LARGE GAMA, NASAGA, the Manchester Game Jeff Pinsker AMIGO GAMES Studies Network, and the Educational Wargaming Network, and peer reviews for EMERITUS BOARD MEMBER the journal Simulation & Gaming. Pigeon is Will Niebling KOPLOW GAMES also a designer for Evil Beagle Games and an organizational wargaming consultant under the name Liminal Operations. He roosts at GAMA STAFF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR John Stacy DEPUTY DIRECTOR Chris Materni COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Kelly Mignogna EDUCATION MANAGER Melissa Jacobs

Patti Hall Patti Hall is a freelance blog writer for Starlux Games. Prior to writing for Starlux, Patti discovered their Capture the Flag REDUX game in an attempt to keep her ten-year-old twin boys from jumping on the furniture and to get them out of the house more. An outdoors enthusiast, she lives in Evansville, Indiana, with her husband, six kids, and four cats. She loves to write, paint furniture, and grow vegetables in her garden.

Aloha Bob Moffa Aloha Bob Moffa is the owner of Mount Tiki Games, a new game design and publisher company with two retail games (as of this writing) and a print and play game free at After a successful career as a photographer and designer, Aloha Bob started his game company with his wife Renee and son Trey in 2018. At least five other games are currently in the works.


The Game Manufacturers Association

258 East Campus View Blvd Columbus, OH 43235 Phone: 614-255-4500 Fax: 614-255-4499 • Q4 2020 • AROUND THE table 3

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A Publication by the Game Manufacturers Association Adverstories



Think Outside the Board Game Box Exploring the benefits of active group games

Tips and tricks to help retail stores sell games, written by the following companies 28

24 36 52

12 AWEbase

Tips and tricks to navigate virtual game play


Bezier Games


Candor USA


Czech Games Edition


Elf Creek Games


Floodgate Games

Tales of a First-time Game Designer and Publisher An insider’s perspective from conception to distribution

2020 Educational Programming A look back at GAMA webinars and seminars held in 2020

3 GAMA Board and Staff 3

Arcane Tinmen ApS

Building the Magic Circle in Online Games


Q4 2020


6 Letter from the Executive Director

70 IELLO 32

Indie Boards & Cards


KTBG/Burnt Island Games


Lucky Duck Games


Rio Grande Games


Van Ryder Games


VRGames / VR-Soft

7 Letter from the President 44-48

New Products



Index of Advertisers


Around the Table © 2020 The Game Manufacturers Association Published by Fahy-Williams Publishing P.O. Box 1080, 171 Reed St. Geneva, NY 14456 P 800-344-0559 F 315-789-4263 To advertise, contact Amy Colburn at 315-789-6431 or email Q4 2020 • AROUND THE table 5

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FROM THE executive director

Dear GAMA members,


s we wrap up 2020 and turn our sights to next year, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the members who volunteered over the past twelve months to serve on an association committee, facilitated a workshop or presentation at the GAMA Expo in March, helped lobby congress for more support for COVID relief programs and the US Postal Service, stepped forward to run for the board of directors in June, attended one of our Town Hall Zoom meetings to provide input and direction on our programs, served on the Origins Award jury, participated in the Winter Wishlist, ESSENtials Retailer Summit and the Game on Every Table promotion to benefit Toys for Tots. It has been a tough year for all of us but each of you should be proud of your efforts to support and improve the tabletop games industry. Thank you! For 2021, we have announced the due to ongoing effects of the pandemic the GAMA Expo will be held virtually on March 16, 17

and 23 and we are introducing a new support program for retail stores on Saturday March 27 called Friendly Local Game Store Day. This program is inspired by events such as Free Comic Book Day, Record Store Day, etc. GAMA wants to drive sale of publisher games into the retail channel and are hard at work creating this new program. If you are a publisher or retail member of GAMA and want to be part of the program or have an idea on what ways it can support your game or store, please drop me an email at john.stacy@gama. org. We will have additional information on the program early next year. Until then have a great holiday season! Be safe! John Stacy Executive Director GAMA

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FROM THE president

Dear GAMA members,


hank you for being a member for another year, and what a year it was!

As I write this message less than a month before the New Year, I reflect on the challenges we all faced, and I am thankful that 2020 is almost over. I hope that the promising COVID-19 vaccines will bring the pandemic to an end soon, and we will be able to gather again at trade shows and conventions. I wish every single retailer best luck in navigating the different state ordinances around social distancing and making the best of this Holiday Season.

Please remember to renew your GAMA dues: the association needs your support this year more than before to continue our advocacy and education programs. I want to wish each and every one of you a very happy holiday season, and we will see you in 2021. Be excellent to each other. Stephan Brissaud President of the Board of Directors

Volunteer Opportunities One of the best ways to be engaged with the association and our industry is to volunteer for a committee or workgroup. GAMA is currently looking for members to serve on the following committees: • Academy, Origins Awards, and Hall of Fame Review and Restructure Committee – Charged with exploring ways to increase the relevancy and representation of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design including the Origins Awards nominations, review and award ceremony and the Hall of Fame. • Advocacy Committee – Helps direct association government relations, advocacy, and lobbying efforts to support the hobby games industry. Potential issues the committee is tasked with include tariffs, customs/exportation, product labeling laws, Intellectual Property Rights, counterfeit product sales, etc. • Market Expansion Committee – Researches the most effective and efficient marketing and outreach methods to (A) promote the play of tabletop games and (B) increase the number of people who regularly play games. • Diversity Committee – Investigates how best to reach out to underrepresented communities within the game industry and to create pathways of success within the organization. • Education Advisory Committee – Work with GAMA staff to identify educational topics and opportunities to create a robust training program to assistretail stores, distributors, manufacturers, and designers in effectively operating in the hobby games industry. For more information on these committees or to volunteer, please email

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Solve crimes in medieval Paris in new standalone game

Chronicles of Crime 1400 C By Az Drummond, Director of Marketing for Lucky Duck Games

hronicles of Crime is back with a brand new standalone game, the first of three that make up “The Millennium Series.” Fans of the original Chronicles of Crime will find the familiar award-winning tabletop experience while getting to explore a new setting and face the challenges of solving crimes in the 15th century.

A New Role to Play Chronicles of Crime: 1400 is a cooperative narratively-driven game of investigation for 1-4 players. Players take on the role of Abelard Lavel who, blessed with prophetic visions of crimes and evil acts, has taken it upon himself to root out evil in the city of Paris. At the start of each new case, players will be presented with glimpses of visions that Abelard has seen. Features seen in these visions might be familiar; however, they could also be completely unknown — or even — have not yet taken place! Our protagonist will be left without the benefits of modern technology and crime scene investigation tools, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have some tricks up his sleeve. Abelard’s furry companion Perceval can track down the owners of items and perhaps sniff out some lies from suspects who aren’t being honest about their whereabouts. At home, Abelard’s family are also able to support him on cases. His sister, uncle, and brother can often find information on the people, items, or texts that Abelard is investigating.

A Tabletop Experience Unlike Any Other The characters and the story form the most important and compelling part of any Chronicles of Crime case. Players will meet a huge variety of characters from professors to

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market vendors, the nobility to the peasantry, and it will be down to them to decide who is worth the time investigating and who is going to be a distraction with their personal issues. Surrounding each case is a vivid world depicted not only in beautiful locations but also in virtual reality crime scenes. Players will use the Chronicles of Crime app to inspect all the details of each crime scene and they’ll have to cooperate to pick out the important evidence. QR code technology allows players to interrogate suspects and collect evidence however they want, granting open decision-making and freedom in the gameplay experience.

Getting Into Chronicles of Crime: 1400 New players will be able to learn the game easily and no rulebook is needed thanks to the app-driven gameplay. Alongside four unique cases to solve there is also a tutorial that can be a perfect introduction or store demo. Fans of the original Chronicles of Crime will find lots to enjoy here as solving crimes in medieval Paris brings a new challenge. Prophetic visions, lack of technology, a dog companion, and a family of supporting characters, all add interesting new elements to discover and utilize. Chronicles of Crime: 1400 offers an incredibly immersive and engaging tabletop experience that is unlike anything else in board games and is an amazing holiday gift that brings collaboration and storytelling to players’ tables. In 2021 two follow-up games in The Millennium Series will release. Chronicles of Crime: 1900 and Chronicles of Crime: 2400 will follow the same crime-solving family into two new time periods and offer players a way to continue their Chronicles of Crime experience. Chronicles of Crime: 1400 was released in November and is available to order now.

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DETECTIVE: City of Angels


he market has seen a recent influx of mystery-solving and detective themed games. From reliable takes on Sherlock Holmes to more modern crime-solving fare, mystery-loving boardgamers have never had more choice. Which begs the question: what makes Detective: City of Angels stand out amongst the recent crop of tabletop whodunits? Allow me, the completely unbiased designer of the game, to answer that question for you. Firstly, and most importantly, Detective: City of Angels is a competitive mystery-solving game, a rarity in a genre dominated by cooperative play. It achieves this with the addition of a unique player role called The Chisel. The Chisel, much like a gamemaster, knows the entire solution to a case and actively tries to prevent the detective players from solving it. The Chisel, using the supercool Adaptive Response Card system, gets to answer for the suspects in the case, sometimes telling detectives the truth and sometimes lying. If a detective asks the sleazy Hollywood director about his relationship to the victim, the Chisel is the one who chooses how the director

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answers.“Why no, detective, I barely knew him at all. We talked shop at a recent awards shindig, but that was as deep as our relationship went. If you’re looking for answers, I’d suggest barking up another tree.” Is the director - and by extension, the Chisel - lying? Do they really not know the victim, as they claim? Or is their relationship more thorny than that? The detective can challenge the answer if they suspect they’re being fed a line of BS, but they need to be careful. Challenge incorrectly and the Chisel will receive leverage that can be used against them on future turns. Perhaps it would be better not to lean on this suspect and instead pursue a different line of questioning. This cat and mouse gameplay adds an intense psychological element to Detective: City of Angels that recalls classic interrogation scenes from your favorite cop shows and movies. Detectives will not always know what is true and what is false, as the Chisel actively works to lead them down rabbit trails and misdirect them at every turn. The experience is unlike anything else in tabletop gaming.

Secondly, the 1940s noir theme, brought to stunning life by Vincent Dutrait’s lush artwork, provides a unique setting in which to solve the game’s mysteries. The sun bleached streets of Los Angeles, filled with west coast gangsters, femme fatales, and cynical homicide detectives, become a rich sandbox that gamers have never experienced before. This is the world of L.A. Confidential in cardboard form, with 35 colorful characters and hundreds of rich illustrations. In addition to the gorgeous visuals, Detective: City of Angels includes over 100,000 words spread across 9 increasingly complex and twisty mysteries. The level of detail — both in the visuals and the writing — is second to none, creating a vibrant and unique world that gamers will enjoy returning to over and over again. So if you love solving mysteries and puzzles, or just want to step into the shoes of a grizzled L.A.P.D. homicide detective (of course, perhaps being the deceitful Chisel is more your speed), then Detective: City of Angels has a bullet with your name on it.

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Think Outside


the (Board game) By Patti Hall, Starlux Games


t was a dark and blustery night. The branches eerily rustled in the wind as the clouds reluctantly shifted, revealing bursts of silver from the full moon overhead. Noah reached into the hollow of an ancient scrub oak tree to remove a glowing gem that brilliantly reflected the beams from above. He waved frantically towards his sister, but then he heard them coming. His stomach dropped as he heard footsteps running faster and faster toward

him. He raced for the safety of a nearby clump of trees, his heart pounding with excitement. Was this really happening, he thought, or was he merely a pawn in their intense game? What if the next game box you opened allowed you to not only hold a game piece, but to actively be the game piece? In addition to all of the benefits you get from traditional game play like strategy and teamwork, active

group games have the added benefits of encouraging physical activity and nurturing imagination. If you love opening a new game box, unwrapping the game pieces, digesting the rules and mastering the game, think about the excitement you would get going one step further…being a part of the game outside of the box. In 2012, researchers built a literal 5-foot box out of PVC pipe and cardboard. More than 100 subjects were given word association tests while sitting inside and outside the box, as well as in a room with no box. The people sitting outside the box answered more questions correctly than either of the other groups, proving the theory that you really should “think outside the box.” People that think outside the box grow their creative and strategy skills. That’s what game enthusiasts can do with active games and you – as a game retailer – can too. Adding active games to your retail mix is a great way for you to grow your offerings to your current customer base, as well as target new customers. Games such as Wizards and Werewolves or Vikings of the Northern Lights are a great way to expand your choices and appeal to a larger primary target audience who are looking for new ways to experience game play. Plus, they’re an effective way to attract a secondary target audience of parents and caregivers who

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want to increase their child’s physical activity. Think about the parent that comes into your store to buy $80 worth of specialized Magic: The Gathering cards for his or her child. Out of the corner of their eye, they see the game box for Vikings of the Northern Lights. They think, “Now there’s a game that my kid will enjoy, and it will get them outside and active…I’ll just add it to my cart.” Or, maybe they see Capture the Flag REDUX, and remember playing that as a kid. Suddenly the nostalgia sets in and they want to see their own child running around the backyard just like they did 20 or 30 years ago, only this time with futuristic glowing orbs. According to an article on, “Every year, American consumers spend more on outdoor recreation than they do on pharmaceuticals and fuel, combined.” The outdoor recreation industry is only continuing to grow, and

it’s no wonder. Studies show that being outdoors and active can improve both mental and physical health. Parents want their kids to be outside and active, in addition to playing the smart, strategic, team-oriented games. Being physically active and imaginative are an added bonus for game players who would only love to be more in-depth with their games. Thinking outside of traditional game boxes and offering more active game options can mean more sales for game store retailers. Here’s how you can begin to incorporate more active games into your

retail selection: 1. Take action to offer more action. Start with a limited selection of outdoor active group games like the ones mentioned in this article – all available from Starlux Games. 2. Dedicate a specific space in your store to outdoor active games. Decorate the space to bring in the feel of the outdoors. For example, use tree branches and a starry sky or fake grass and a cloud mural. 3. Educate your customers on the physical and mental benefits of adding active games to their game repertoire. Have some signage printed with the added bonuses, maybe the top five reasons active games are good for you – physically, mentally, creatively, strategically and socially. Take a step out of that box. You may be surprised at what you find. By Patti Hall, Starlux Games

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e’s willing to share some publishing tricks, and he’s got the software to prove it. “Publishing is a very complicated business with literally hundreds of complex considerations, risks, and points of compliance,” he says “yet there are almost no tools or innate ‘best practices’ allowing us to take the next step as an industry.” Agree or not, Christian T. Petersen has some experience in this matter. He founded Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) in 1995 and has overseen the creation and publication of thousands of games, expansions, and accessories, designing many personally. After publishing Twilight Imperium in 1997, he led FFG to persistent growth by licensing some of the largest pop-culture brands such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, A Game of Thrones and developing popular in-house brands like Arkham Horror, Descent, and KeyForge. FFG merged with Paris-based Asmodee Group in 2014, when Petersen was tapped to run Asmodee’s North American activities. In 2018, Christian left Asmodee to found Strange Stars, an investment and incubation vehicle from which he’s launching several new ventures with a small team of industry veterans and specialists. One such venture is AWEbase, Inc. “AWEbase makes software tools for creative enterprises,” Petersen says. “Publishers, for example, share several unique challenges, be they tabletop games, comics, software games, or traditional publishers.” “One crucial aspect of publishing is managing your freelance contractor workflow,” he continues. “Publishing is typically an amalgamation of many creative inputs, with publishers relying on freelance talent in fields such as writing, editing, game design, sculpting, artwork, play-testing, graphic design, animations, photography, etc.” AWEbase, which launched in November 2020, presents itself as a solution to companies in managing their freelance contracting workflow. “As FFG evolved its business over time, I came to understand how important it was to have good software tools. After I left FFG 12 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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and Asmodee, I didn’t want to start another creative company without software tools that distilled my operational experiences. I thought: ‘If I build this for myself, why not build it for everyone?’” AWEbase ambitiously spans the workflow chasm of contractor management, and it is a wide chasm indeed. It organizes product deliverables, internal work delegation, budgets, contractor organization, e-contracts and signatures, internal payment requests and much more. According to Petersen: “AWEbase not only tackles the significant administrative portion of freelance contracting, it also facilitates the review and feedback process between contractor and the enterprise.” “The markup and review tools in AWEbase can help producers save boatloads of time by avoiding the hairball of contracts, emails, markup images, and giving contractor feedback. With AWEbase, it’s all right there, communication and visual feedback tools in context.” By supporting feedback for images, videos, audio, PDF, text, and 3D models, the software aims to cover almost every type of contracted work done by creative companies today. “It’s versatile,” Petersen concludes. “Really, it can assist with contract work management for most industries or segments. Game retailers, for example, could use it for any work-for-hire contracting needs such as demonstration staff, judges, miniature-table creation, cleaning, remodeling, etc.”









AWEbase is free-to-use for organizations with limited contracting needs, and charges a per-user fee for companies with more substantial volumes. The software can be accessed by signing up at Christian T. Petersen

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AWEbase and the AWEbase pencil logo are registered trademarks of AWEbase, Inc. 2020 All Rights Reserved.

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Praga Caput Regni R

io Grande Games would like to announce the upcoming release of PRAGA CAPUT REGNI. Praga is the latest game from designer Vladimir Suchý, the designer of Underwater Cities, Last Will, and Pulsar 2849. Praga Caput Regni gets its name from the 14th century Latin slogan: Prague, Head of the Kingdom. In this case, the kingdom is the Holy Roman Empire, and the head is Charles IV, the newly crowned King of Bohemia.

How it Works Each player represents Prague’s wealthy citizens who are competing to build various projects – both public and private. These projects were designed to modernize and strengthen the city of Prague. The player who can impress the king the most during the game is the winner. Players take turns choosing available actions on the “action crane.” This crane is a wheel that holds action tiles that show two possible actions. A player will select a tile and, based on its position on the wheel, may gain additional benefits or may have to pay an additional cost. They pick one of the actions on the tile and execute them. The players must manage resources (gold and stone), which are used to fund the improvements they build during the game. The higher production levels for the commodities will trigger some immediate benefits once unlocked. Several actions allow the player to upgrade their action board. Basic actions can be upgraded by selecting the appropriate tile. These upgrades function only for the player who chooses them. The player can also add wall tiles to their action board to unlock bonuses and score points. The placement of these tiles on the player’s action board also allows them to receive certain adjacency bonuses when placed next to other tiles. Finally, there are actions that players can use to build projects in Prague. The two main ways to improve the city is by constructing buildings and the King’s Road. The Construction action requires the use of resources. Players can use clever planning and proper tile placement to claim additional bonuses. Progress on the King’s Road unlocks rewards and allows the 14 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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player to eventually begin construction on the Charles Bridge, another important landmark in Prague that still stands today.

Game Features Praga Caput Regni features high-quality attractive art that will take components and players back to the era of King Charles. The player boards are dual-layered and designed to track the production of resources without the possibility of being disrupted by a bump to the table. The large main game board features bright graphics and amazing art. There are also (if the players choose to use them) 3D representations of three important structures built during this time: the Charles Bridge, the Hunger Wall, and the Prague Cathedral. These give the game a stunning presence on the table. Praga Caput Regni is a game for 1-4 players, ages 14+, with a playing time of 30 minutes per player. For more information on these or other Rio Grande Games titles, please visit our website: Author: Ken Hill, Production/Marketing Manager

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Pr Un bu Th Pl bu

Sa co wh


Pl Pl


Welcome to 14th Century Prague! Charles IV has been crowned King of Bohemia and ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. From his castle in Prague, he oversees construction of new fortifications: a bridge across the Vltava River, a university, and a cathedral rising within the walls of the castle itself. Prague is already among the largest cities in Europe. King Charles will make it the capital of an empire!

Praga Caput Regni is the latest game from the genius of Vladimir Suchý, award-winning designer of Underwater Cities! During the game, players take the role of wealthy citizens who are competing to build various projects. Players choose from six actions on the game board using the “action crane.” These actions are always available but linked to a constantly shifting array of costs and benefits. Players can increase their resources, improve the usefulness of specific options in the future, or build new projects in the city. Savvy players will discover synergies between carefully timed actions and the rewards from constructing civic projects as all of the mechanisms mesh together. At the end of the game, the player who most impressed King Charles wins.

COMING DECEMBER 2020! Players: 1-4, Ages: 14+ Playtime: 30-120 minutes 2020_AroundTheTable_04_Fall.indd 15

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CGE LAUNCH KITS How to best prepare for Czech Games Edition New Game Launches


t this point in time, 2019 seems like it was a long, long, time ago in a land far, far away. However, that was the time when we engaged in a new experiment, at least it was new to us. When Letter Jam was getting ready to be released, we had #9 promo chips and extra pads from production and we wanted to get as many demo copies of the games out to retailers as we could. Because, only by truly experiencing the game can you grow to love it as much as we do. That is when we decided for the first time to offer a launch kit. We decided to include three copies of the game to sell, a store demo, and promotional #9 chips and pads … but what additional value could we add? We decided it would be a cool idea to offer a great looking, but surprisingly difficult 500-piece puzzle. And the CGE launch kits were born! We were so amazed and grateful by the overwhelmingly positive response to

these kits that we have decided to continue this program for our new titles (excluding expansions). Flash forward a whole year to 2020, and as we worked on our new game releases Under Falling Skies and Lost Ruins of Arnak, we knew we wanted to offer launch kits. But what should be in them? We decided to do a puzzle for Under Falling Skies featuring the amazing box art by Kwanchai Moriya. For Arnak, although we love the box art, for a bigger box game we felt it made more sense to include a demo copy of another of our games. We felt this would better help our retail partners, so when play spaces can reopen, everyone will have more of our catalog available for patrons to try. We decided on one of my personal favorites, Adrenaline by designer Filip Neduk of Sanctum.

So that is the essence of the launch kits – not only do you get three copies of the games to sell in your store (which we have no doubt will be easy to do) but this is the ONLY WAY you can guarantee yourself a demo copy of our new titles upon launch. We encourage (and hope) you will take advantage of these kits when they become available. It will help us track demand for our new products (and forecast our print runs) and provide you the best bang for your buck! You pay for the three copies but receive a demo copy for you to display or put in your demo library. We only ask that you not sell demo copies, or the promotional items that can be used however you wish! We’d love to see how you use the puzzle, if you put it into your demo library, hang it completed somewhere in the store, or have an event and use it as a prize. To wrap things up, we are filming store walkthrough videos to help promote our FLGS partners as it is safe to do so! If you’d like to have your store featured, please reach out to me and we’ll make it happen. Until we can all be together again, be safe, stay healthy and we can’t wait to see (and play games with) you again. by Justin Sweigart, CGE Retail Support Specialist

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TAKE CHARGE OF DEFENDING CITIES OF EARTH FROM AN ALIEN INVASION! Under Falling Skies is a solo game with a multi-mission campaign where all your actions are powered by an innovative dice placement mechanic. Expand your underground base, shoot down enemy ships, research their weaknesses, and complete your mission before your base is destroyed!

AGE: 12 +


TIME: 20–40 MIN

MSRP: $29.95




s/uf s


! S E S A E L E R

EXPLORE JUNGLES, FIND ARTIFACTS, AND DISCOVER THE LOST RUINS OF ARNAK! Players lead rival expeditions to a newly discovered island. Through a unique combination of worker placement and deckbuilding, each expedition attempts to uncover the lost island’s secrets.

s/ari a . e g c

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AGE: 12 +



MSRP: $59.95

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A fast and engaging traditional card game with a

Werewolf Twist!



ilver Dagger adds 14 Some of the other cards in Dagger new characters with can assist you with that, like the all new abilities to the Sentinel (#3) that prevents Silver series. Whether you play other players from giving Return to the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral in it as a stand alone game or you a Zombie, and the * Sagrada: Life , the second of the three GreatReverser Facades combine it with the previous (#11), which entries: Silver, Silver Bullet, and direction of play expansions. Introducing new challenges to changes test your Silver Coin, it can dramatically so that the player who has artisanal skills and enhance your crafting experience. change the way you a faceup Zombie doesn’t take Gain helpful abilities through apprenticetheir cards, draft think about the cards turn after you. Mixing in masterwork dice to tackle tricky restrictions worth more in your village. cards from other Silver games (you do this by simply swapping The Silver series points, and reap the rewards of new toil public objectives.out all of games all have the cards of one number for the *This expansion is not stand-alone. The Sagrada base game MSRP: $19.95 the same premise: same numbered cards in other is required to play, but other expansions are not required. FGG-SA04 Reduce the number of Silver game) can give you more werewolves (the numbers options, like Silver Bullet’s Goth on the cards) Girl (#3) which lets you discard to Ages 1-6to the lowest 30-45 13+ possible, by exchanging the bottom of the discard pile (bye high value cards for low bye Zombie)! Players Minutes value ones, and using special Dagger isn’t just a one-trick undead pony, though. There are a abilities that usually assist TH E SAGRADA FAM I LY bunch of other great new cards in you in that goal. OF ES CONTI N U ES newGAM card that it, such as the Debt Collector (#0), The TO GROW! everyone can’t stop talking which can give you -1 point for each about is the Zombie (the #4 card in your opponent’s villages… card), because they add an element you can actually end up with negative of persistence (they can’t be placed points in a round this way! There’s the on top of the discard pile, but can be given Halfling (#2), which divides your score facedown to the previous player if they are faceup in in half when it’s time to score if faceup, your village), and horror, but a slightly different sort than which can make those sticky Zombies what you’d expect. You see, because of the limitation that they just a little more palatable. And finally, there’s the Approximator can’t be placed on top of the discard pile, if you draw a Zombie (#5). Normally, in order to exchange more than one card for a card from the deck, you’ll need to keep it. Even more unsettling, if you you draw, the cards have to match. But the Approximator changes exchange a Zombie from your village blindly (not knowing it was that up, allowing you to discard ANY two cards instead. This is a Zombie before you exchanged it), you can’t (again, it can’t go another way to get rid of those pesky Zombies, too! on top of the discard pile), so you end up having to put the card Silver Dagger provides a wealth of new strategic and tactical you wanted to keep on the discard pile instead, with the Zombie for Silver, andPASSION can also beEXPANSION a great place to start playing if SAGRADA 5-6 PLAYERoptions EXPANSION MSRP:you $24.95 $19.95 staying in your village face down.MSRP: $39.95 haven’t had a chance to MSRP: play any other Silver games!



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Diligently build scaffolds and machines up the side of Whistle Mountain, collecting resources and upgrading your abilities along the way. The evolving gameboard creates ever-changing options as this worker-placement, strategy game progresses. With the help of your airship fleet, hurry to escape the melting snow and save your workers from the rising waters!

2–4 90 min 14 + Untitled-1 1

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Bringing The

Joy of Gaming To Another Level

by Ian Birdsall - Marketing & Brand Management, OffDutyNinja, LLC


loodgate is ready to make a colorful splash this year with Holi (pronounced ho-lee). Holi: Festival of Colors is an area control game, designed by up-and-coming designer Julio E. Nazario, for 2 to 4 players and can be easily played in a little over 30 minutes! A little backstory on the theme. The “Festival of Color” is a Hindu tradition that celebrates the end of winter. Playfulness, joy, and color are at the center of Holi! Floodgate worked with several cultural consultants (including Shivam Bhatt, MTG Commander Committee member and Hindu Priest) during the design process to ensure that they honored the spirit of the festival in a respectful manner. Gameplay focuses on one of the more iconic aspects of the celebration, the throwing of colored powders and liquids, in a vibrant display. Playing Holi replicates the feelings of joy and playful competition around your table. Throwing your colored powder tokens onto another player is not only a tactical move in Holi, it also puts you in that setting. Vincent Dutrait illustrated Holi, and the look and feel of the components help the immersion with vibrant colors from top to bottom. Let’s talk about the game board! Floodgate worked with Gametrayz to design the unique game board for Holi. Gametrayz is typically known for their game box organizers and inserts, and the high quality of the production is clear from the moment you set up the game. Turns in Holi, are simple yet tactical as you master this area control game. On your turn, you’ll perform between one and 20 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

Untitled-1 2

three actions in any order. For each action, you’ll choose from one of the three cards in your hand – the pattern on the card determines where your powder tokens go relative to your location as you position the card’s pattern to avoid other tokens and try to score a direct hit on other players. To get in the best position to throw you can move your player marker anywhere on your current level that isn’t occupied by another player. If the spot has a color token on it, you simply pick it up and add it to your area. This lets you gain another token to use later if it’s your own; or you collect another player’s color that will score them points at the end of the game. I love the imagery of this, running through a cloud of red powder to get in the right position to throw blue powder. It’s great! Scoring in Holi greatly depends on your powder tokens placement, typically 1, 2, and 3 for their position on each respective tier. To move to another level, you must be surrounded by color tokens on your current level, and another player can’t be directly above you. You’ll want to pay attention to where powder tokens are on other levels, too. Throwing a token on a higher level, without a token on the same spot below it means the powder will fall. The token may land on another player, which is delightful when it happens, but if it falls it will be worth fewer points. Offering loads of fun, a quick play through time, and additional rivalry cards that offer rules and scoring variability is a winning combination. Holi: Festival of Colors is hitting stores just in time for the holiday shopping season.

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BU I LD A HOM E AMONG TH E STARS! In Cosmic Colonies players strategically field their workers’ unique abilities as they aim to build the best asteroid colony! Each round brings new opportunities as each players’ workers will orbit to other players after they’ve been activated. Loaded with fulfilling choices each turn, Cosmic Colonies is critically acclaimed and an excellent addition for players of all experience levels. MSRP $44.95





Ages 13+




“This is a great game! I’m very impressed with it.” - Tom Vasel, The Dice Tower

Untitled-1 3

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B REATH E N EW LI FE I NTO YOU R STAI N ED GLASS MASTERPI ECES. Return to the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral in Sagrada: Life*, the second of the three Great Facades expansions. Introducing new challenges to test your artisanal skills and enhance your crafting experience. Gain helpful abilities through apprentice cards, draft masterwork dice to tackle tricky restrictions worth more points, and reap the rewards of new toil public objectives. MSRP: $19.95 FGG-SA04





Ages 13+



MSRP: $39.95 FGG-SA01

Untitled-1 4

*This expansion is not stand-alone. The Sagrada base game is required to play, but other expansions are not required.




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SPREAD SOM E JOY ON GAM E N IGHT! Colors, celebrate joy and friendly In Holi: Festival of Colors rivalry wrapped in a delightful area control game! Themed upon the traditional Indian spring festival of the same name, players will cover game spaces, and other players, with their powder tokens to score points.





Ages 13+

As the colors spread, players will need to climb higher on the 3D game board in order to claim new even more valuable scoring spaces! Quickly playable, and loaded with strategic choices, Holi: Festival of Colors is a delightful game for the whole family! MSRP $39.95




TO WI NTER 2020!



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Building the


ight months into social distancing, yet in-person gaming remains a critical miss for the foreseeable future. We’ve flocked to online gaming tools, but humans are social beings and Zoom fatigue is real. Screens box our interpersonal communication into two dimensions. We burn brain power grasping digitized nonverbal cues and strain to untangle multiple voices as “unmute yourself ” simultaneously becomes 2020’s unofficial motto. Although we play numerous online games mediums, here I focus on bottling analog and in-person tabletop gaming using online tools. I write for the players longing to place meeples, shuffle decks, inhale pizza, and plunge their arms elbow

deep in their friendly local game store’s big bucket o’ dice – tactile experiences that video games can’t replace and narratives that AI’s can’t replicate.

The Power of the Magic Circle

In his classic work Homo Ludens (1938), Johan Huizinga argued that the temple and tennis court are synonymous. The game board, baseball field, and Buddhist shrine are all sacred spaces inside which rituals become real for participants and the outside world diminishes. Also called liminal spaces by game thinkers such as Roger Caillois and Jane McGonigal, the learning and

emotions players experience remain with players outside of the game while the consequences remain behind. Games are safe spaces for players to practice new identities and strategies without risk. Although negative emotions may be carried into the real world, players have long used debriefings to safely remove negativity while protecting the game’s positive effects. At face value, virtual tools appear as poor mediums for sanctifying magic circles. Reiterating Matthew Gravelyn’s Spring 2020 Around the Table article on online RPG gaming, learning online tools incur varying monetary costs and time investments. The most popular

(continued on page 26)

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C CIRCLE in Online Games by James “Pigeon” Fielder

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MAGIC CIRCLE (continued from page 24) tools I’ve encountered include digital message platforms (Discord and Slack), conferencing software (Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Zoom), and virtual tabletop programs (Astral, Fantasy Grounds, Roll20, Tabletopia, Tabletop Simulator, and Vassal). My advice is to learn just a few tools well rather than attempting to master, as the saying goes, all the things. In my case, I use Zoom and Astral for almost all my gaming needs. In turn, my son Eric swears by Discord, other friends love Roll20, and I know a military officer who runs professional analytic wargames over Slack. Tools also vary in complexity, with some players running “theater of the mind” games with basic Zoom tools and others designing new board games from scratch in Tabletop Simulator. I’ve even seen gaming groups mount phone cameras to project physical boards! Regardless of method and medium, the more intuitive the program and time dedicated to mastery, the less friction to crossing into liminality.

Building your Online Gaming Temple

Harnessing symbolic correspondence is a powerful method for building online magic circles. Symbolic correspondence originated with pre-modern religious ritual. By wearing an animal’s furs or a fantastic mask, participants embodied the animal or spirit that the physical symbols represented. Fast forward to the 21st Century, and the same is visible in both sacred (religious) and profane (secular) arenas, from the face-painted sports fan, the decked-out convention cosplayer, and the robe-draped judge. First, build a consistent gaming space.

While you’ll likely use the same bedroom, kitchen table, or sofa as with work or school, the intent is to envision the table as a liminal space. Also arrange visual cues such as dice, cards, paper, rulebooks, pieces, and other tactile objects. Just the act of touching familiar gaming objects makes the mind receptive to liminality. Next, insert a game-appropriate background on your web conferencing app, or adjust colors, icons, and other user-controlled graphics settings on your messaging platform (I personally favor a tavern background). If not your screen, consider altering your room’s lighting to suit the theme. Third, incorporate music or ambient sounds. Play music on low volume for yourself if muted between rounds or have the host or another player DJ the session. My friend Sean Patrick Fannon of Evil Beagle Games is a master at spinning game music vinyl during sessions that immerse rather than distract players. Another friend, Michael Surbrook of Evil Beagle Games and Michael Surbrook Presents, prefers ambient sounds and effects rather than music, loading up YouTube playlists of creaking space hulks, howling storms, and groaning ice floes. Fourth, end the game with an around-the-room debrief. Debriefing allows players to memorialize the event and save notes, ideas, and plot hooks for the next session. Debriefing also helps prevent bleed, or negative emotions carrying over into real life and affecting interpersonal relationships. Debriefing is particularly useful for salving online communication fatigue and strengthening personal bonds lost through lack of in-person interaction. And forget the naysayers: wave when you close the

session! Online interaction lacks the small nonverbal structures we use to close inperson communication: handshakes, fist bumps, final bows at the door, and so on. Waving brings closure that clicking “end meeting” lacks. But wait! Before finally closing the session, who else misses deciding on food delivery, making greasy spoon runs, and game snacks and noms? Sharing food is culturally important to human social interaction. While we can’t pass pizza slices through our screens (there’s an invention waiting), we can still share meals together. Before signing off, then, enjoy a sandwich and beverage with your friends. This shared gamer fellowship also helps memorialize the event and ensures you have sufficient carbs stored to power your next adventure.

Enlarging the Circle

We should also overcome an unspoken side effect of socially distanced gaming: digital divides. I speak cavalierly above about Zoom and pizza, yet I’m painfully aware that not all gamers have easy access to even minimum gear or internet access. Something friends and I have done in the Colorado gamer community is donate older laptops with basic Zoom, Discord, Slack, and other tools either preinstalled or bookmarked. Following Creta Cretu’s Summer 2020 Around the Table article on online gaming road shows, local gamer groups and game stores such as Fort Collins’ Gryphon Games also provide quick guides, FAQs, and volunteers to help new players learn online tools. I’m hoping my tips here, then, help you strengthen the magic of your own circle while we expand the circle for others.

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© 2020 Garphill Games. © 2020 Renegade Game Studios. • Epic finale of the West Kingdom Trilogy! • As the King’s reign comes to an end, seek the favor of the townsfolk. • Increase your influence while traveling throughout the kingdom.

1-4 Players


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60-90 min


MSRP $55

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The NOMAD™ is a Game-Changer


et us take you back to a simpler time before Magic Arena, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, the Pokemon TCG app, or any other digital method of playing card games. Back to an era when Hearthstone was a spot by the fireplace and Runeterra was gibberish made from elvish (or Klingon – who could tell?). Back then, if you were anything like us, playing card games often meant dueling it out on the sidewalk, on the grass, or in the backseat of a car. It was a simpler, more carefree time, one where scuffed card backs were secondary to playing a game we love. We can all agree that times have changed. No longer do we primarily play outside or on the sidewalk. Playing in cars or across plane trays is often more cumbersome than it’s worth. Frankly, there are easier methods of playing our favorite card games now, many of them on our smartphones. But what if there was a way that we could go back to that simpler time? To relive the joy of a playground card battle without the risk of damaging our cards or losing them in the wind? What if we could embody that nomadic spirit of adventure that came with the freedom of playing with our friends wherever and whenever we were? Here at Dragon Shield we are passionate about creating innovative accessories that allow players to do more. The NOMAD is an outdoor and travel playmat that offers an elegant solution to playing outdoors and in typically inconvenient spaces. It’s a time capsule, taking you back to those bygone, carefree days. The NOMAD is a portable playmat that allows you to play

outdoors. The NOMAD opens like a book. Lift the strap and open The NOMAD to reveal three rows of clear sturdy pockets that hold your cards in place during play. The strap is then used to hold your deck in place while playing. We tested The NOMAD against high-wind conditions and can assure you that your cards stay in place. But what if you are interrupted? Just close the NOMAD and pick up where you left off later on. Your flight is boarding? You’ve arrived at your destination? Shut The NOMAD to quick-save your game and pick up later exactly where you left off. Your cards will still be in place. Each player will need their own NOMAD, as it is only big enough for one side of the playing board. The exterior is a tough textured dragon skin material. The NOMAD has a slick, thin design meaning it is super portable and fits easily into backpacks. The NOMAD is also useful for playing while socially distanced. The NOMAD is also like a time machine. It allows you to maximize your time by transforming NOMAD travel time into playtest time. Going to a GP with your buddies? Take a couple NOMADs along and playtest to your hearts content. The NOMAD is out now and is available through GTS Distribution and other distributors across the US and Canada. It comes in three colors; Black, Forest Green and Midnight Blue. With stunning new dragon artwork on the packaging by Antonio José Manzanedo and a tribal dragon design indented on the front by Raul Cruz. Check out the NOMAD to see how it works for yourself!

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Available from GTS Distribution 2020_AroundTheTable_04_Fall.indd 29

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and the Power of Table Presence By Sean Jacquemain , Kids Table Board Gaming (KTBG)


ou’re in for the discovery of a lifetime in KTBG’s latest game, Fossilis, from designer David Diaz! Take on the role of a paleontologist exploring a dig site that is a treasure trove of lost bones. The idea of the game is simple enough; you must uncover pits to find dinosaur bones and spend plaster to extract them from the ground. With your newly acquired bones, you can work on assembling various dinosaurs from different eras, locations, and families. Fossilis has a straightforward concept and ruleset, but what makes it really shine is how beautifully the components complement the gameplay. When you look at the 3D dig site board that makes up the main play area, it’s immediately clear what the goal of the game is. The dig site is covered with multiple layers of sand, clay, and stone terrain tiles. The paleontologists make their way around the site, sliding terrain around and even off the board to uncover pits in an effort to

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discover some long lost lizard remains. The terrain tiles themselves are made of thick, chunky plastic, and they slide around the board with ease. As the terrain falls from the board, you can collect the pieces which contain fragments of Amber, Footprints, and Eggs and exchange them for Tools and Supplies to help with your treasure hunt. How about those fossilized treasures you’re looking for? Hidden in the 25 pits that make up the dig site are dozens of ribs, legs, claws, hips, and skulls. As each new deposit is found, players can add the bones to their collection using the state-of-the-art paleontologist tweezers to extract the bones. It all comes together for an incredibly satisfying tactile experience. Completing Dinosaur cards is one of the main ways to score points in the game. Each card requires a different collection of bones to complete it, but you can always score them early for partial points. The game features art by the super talented Apolline Etienne, who also worked with KTBG on Wreck Raiders and Haunt the House. Aside from the points you’ll earn for spending bones on the Dinosaur cards, each one features three characteristics: its era, diet, and mobility. Focusing on collecting sets can earn you points, but you can also earn rewards for diversifying your collection of completed dinosaurs. The actions and theme of Fossils are directly tied to the components in the game. You’ve likely played a set collection game in the past, but Fossilis tasks you with physically searching the dig site and pulling out the bones to collect your sets. Paleontologists move around the board, compete for spaces, and can even knock each other off the board. As with every KTBG title, the rules are designed to allow for the removal of more complicated elements for younger gamers and those new to the hobby. All items which result in direct conflict between players are clearly marked as well, allowing you to choose whether to use them or not. In Fossilis, you’re in for the dinosaur dig that just might make your career! Prepare yourself for a multi-layered puzzle that players of any age will love solving. Available for your FLGS in Q4 2020.

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Aeon’s End : A Outcasts eon’s End: Outcasts continues the celebrated Expedition system first introduced in Aeon’s End: The New Age, but with a twist. This time, you’ll be in charge of protecting a powerful ally as you play through the seven different chapters of Outcasts, each of which features a new, powerful Nameless. Outcasts also introduces a variety of new mechanics to Aeon’s End, such as the Cursed Deck. It forces players to place detrimental cursed cards into their deck, interrupting their flow and slowing down their attacks, as well as wandering monsters, which are defeated using aether instead of traditional damage. You’ll also find a variety of new market cards, which can be mixed and matched with those of any previous Aeon’s End game to create a market that is unique to your deckbuilding experience. The four new breach mages included in the game will make use of these market cards, in addition to special tokens that work with their asymmetric abilities. Ilya is a powerful breach mage with the ability to cast all of her prepared spells in one volley. Kel is great at manipulating gems and can boost her hand size to buy more powerful cards. Z’hana places glyph tokens on the market, giving special bonuses to those who purchase those cards. And lastly, Taqren places out barriers to support and help teammates. 32 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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These four breach mages will leave the safety of New Gravehold to take part in an epic adventure, with a few exciting twists along the way. As with the previous Expedition system, each scenario will build upon the narrative and lore of Aeon’s End. It will include new Nameless to fight, story segments to read, and decisions to make along the way. You’ll be able to upgrade your characters by adding new treasures into your deck and build out your market with more powerful cards as you progress. However, the Expedition system is not a legacy element. The campaign can be completely reset and played through again, with new characters pulled from any of the Aeon’s End boxes. In addition, each Nameless can be played independently of the Expedition system,

giving you an incredible amount of new content to mix in with your Aeon’s End collection. For those who are new to Aeon’s End, Outcasts contains everything needed to play – no additional content is required. This allows the players to enter into the world through these scenarios, each of which instructs new players on how to set up the game and shows exactly which cards and tokens are needed for each battle. For those who are returning, the Aeon’s End: Outcasts narrative will build on everything that has come before it, filled with hints to previous Aeon’s End experiences that will be sure to thrill the hardcore enthusiast.

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Tales of a First-time

Game Designer and Publisher “Pretty Please, Buy a copy at”

by Aloha Bob Moffa

“Possibly the most strategic board game combining cutting in line and fart jokes the world has ever seen.” - Anon 36 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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t all started back in the 1990s. My friends and I were into pro wrestling, and when we watched the pay-per-view events, we would often create prediction sheets for us to fill out and guess who was going to win the matches and by what means. We thought it would be fun to create alter egos of us as the worst wrestlers in history – the Waple family was hatched. The newsletter, WAPLEworld, quickly turned into a magazine, and after six or seven years, peaked with the Halloween 2001 issue. This issue was 130 pages long and included everything we could think

of, including the idea of a video RPG. It also included a full page of Failed Waple Ventures. Fast-forward 15 years. I was looking through that issue and read the Failed Waple Ventures article and realized we never made the video game, nor anything else on that list. My real family and I were now into board games and loved playing them several nights a week as a way to enjoy family time. A revelation hit me over the head – why not turn that old game idea into a board game? I did.


The game, tentatively named Adventures in Mediocrity, would be akin to a Dungeons and Dragons tabletop game where you would move your character through different places on the board and defeat bad guys. But because this was a Waple game, things would have to be funny, not fantasy. We wanted the game to include the kind of people you would see in everyday life: a soccer mom, stuntwoman, deli sandwich maker, and a Q4 2020 • AROUND THE table 37

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Stupidly Funny yet Surprisingly Stategic! fat guy in a wrestling mask. They would have armor and weapons such as whiffle ball bats, spitball shooters, cans of fart spray, and propeller-topped beanies. Instead of destroying an evil necromancer’s staff to free the village of zombies, the heroes would spoil the evil real estate mogul’s plan of turning the local mountain ski resort into a parking lot for his condo. I had a good prototype, what I thought were decent mechanics, and even 3D minis, but I knew that I had to go beyond that and find somebody that knew games more than me. Even though I enjoyed board games, I was never good at interpreting rulebooks, and we didn’t play games that were too deep. Our game style was more akin to King of Tokyo. While at a local game store, looking for someone to paint my minis for promotional photos, I found Michael, who quickly became my game design resource. He knows pretty much everything about games and can whip up ideas for making a game better in a matter of seconds. When I wanted to do something, he would think of how that idea would impact the whole game. This teamwork works because I am a big picture guy and look at games from the perspective of someone who has little gaming experience, whereas he looks at it as a gaming pro and loves the details and numbers. I decided to figure out how much this game would cost. At this point, I 38 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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hadn’t a clue and was shocked to find it would have to sell at about $100 retail with an investment of over $35k to make the 1,500 minimum quantity the manufacturer required. I was highly skeptical that people would spend that much on an unknown franchise filled with goofy characters. I knew we would need to start smaller. unPerfect Heroes: Battle Lines became the new game that we would use to introduce the world to our intellectual property. We came up with an origin story of sorts. These characters thought they gained superpowers after finding they could bribe or even almost fight their way to the front of a line in which they are standing. The game has players battling to the front of six different scenario lines, like getting to the front of the buffet line or fighting to exit the doomed space station.


I cut production cost by using punch-out standees instead of miniatures, reducing boards from about 15 to three, using a smaller box, and using a deck of cards for all combat. I am a graphic designer, but I am not a character artist. I did all artwork that was non-character but needed a character artist. I knew drawing 60 characters could take a long time, so I wanted to start that early. I went to and and found several styles I liked for this game. I narrowed down


to a few artists on the low side of the price range, and I gave them all a concept illustration of one of the characters. I paid them their price to draw their version of that character. Luckily, an artist sent me something in a quick time frame that captured what I wanted and added, without me asking, the humor that this game required, and I knew that he was the one for me. He really gave this game what it needed visually.


One of the game strategist’s duties was to play the crap out of the game with other gamers. He gauged if the game was too slow or fast based on the numbers and many other factors. He’d see if his pro gamers found it fun and easy to understand. My role was to play with my son’s friends and parents, people who may not be gaming experts, and look at it from their perspective. ALWAYS be sure that a game is easy for someone to get into, or they may quit and call the game too hard or just say, “it sucks.”


Now that I had the game that I wanted to sell, a decision on whether to crowdfund or fund it myself needed to be made. A big lesson that I learned was to promote a game from the very beginning, which I did not as we only had a few followers at this point. I had to choose to either try to crowdfund it now and risk failing while trying to raise $7,000 or finance it myself and take the emotional (continued on page 40)

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Buy letters and create words worth the most points in 30 seconds ds to win!



30 MIN

SKU JKR02498 • • Contact Us: ©2020. The United States Playing Card Company.

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unPerfect Heroes (continued from page 38)

Shove e and Brib Your Wat yof

to the Fron es! Six Epic Lin

win. Since this game was in the works theoretically for almost 30 years, I did it myself. Money be damned, I had a dream!


How the heck do I manufacture the game? The production process centers around finding a company that can manufacture the game to print, cut, sort, box, and wrap it all up. When you need prototypes for reviewers, make them in the US (if you are an American), but Asia is much more cost-effective for mass production.

FINDING THE RIGHT PRICE I’m ready to make my 1,500 copies, the usual minimum manufacturers will do – but who to use? I sent out requests for quotes to seven companies, but the final price isn’t the only concern. Some companies had a lower price because of cheaper cardstock. I wanted a quality game with cardstock with a rigid core that helps cards snap back after shuffling. Research what makes prices different between manufacturers. Consider customs fees into your country before your crates get stuck there. In other words, always be sure to ask specifically everything that they are charging for and what these terms mean – yet another roadblock for me. After signing with a company, I needed to send them the graphics. Yay, back to something in which I have a lot of experience. They tell you how much

space to leave outside of your cut marks and make templates for your boxes to paste your graphics. I knew the card and main box’s length and width but had no idea how thick the box would be from top to bottom. They calculated the thickness of all the contents and made the box templates with the appropriate heights. If you have no idea what you’re doing for graphic design, it is essential to find someone who does.


Since the games would soon ship, it would have been dumb not to know where they would be shipped. Well, color me stupid. My initial plan was to ship to my house, store them in my garage and do all the shipping myself. However, my wife and I found a lot of moldy art papers in the garage – not a good place to store $7,000 worth of games. Our next thought was to rent a storage space, and whenever we had to ship an order, get it and drive it to the post office. This sounded like a lot of extra work. I called a local distribution company and found they could store the games for less than renting a storage space, and they would do all the labeling and shipping for about $2 per game. Now color me sold.


First time game designers and publishers feel like a kid at Christmas when they get to open their game for the

first time. I was positively giddy! I finally knew that all this hard work I put in for the past few years has paid off. But has it? Had I done this whole thing via crowdfunding, I would have known at this point how many sales I had. Did I make 1,499 too many?


Not wanting to bypass the publicity that crowdfunding could still lend to the game, I decided to do a minimal campaign with a $500 goal. The purpose was to allow people to purchase the game and receive four exclusive bonus cards. After it funded, I used the money to design, print, and ship them; and got a decent amount of games sold in the process. When I crowdfund Mount Tiki Games’ fourth game soon, Race to Stuff Your Face, with these same characters, being a publisher with a success will give us a bit of an edge. Had I decided to simply design games and pitch them to publishers, I can guarantee that my life would be much easier. However, I’ve always liked doing things myself. This experience has been excellent because I have learned so much, and life is learning. If I had signed off with a publisher, I could have possibly had the seven games Mount Tiki Games is working on already in the system. But instead, I chose the way that I wanted to go, which makes me the leader of my fate. My God, what have I done?


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No matter who you are or how you play, Bicycle has a game for you


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11:41 AM









Ultra PRO has you and your family covered for games and accessories to make every game night memorable.

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Fumbling Ferrets is a word game in which players use their animal instinct to buy letters and ferret out words. Playing over three rounds of four turns each, players buy one letter each turn. At the end of the fourth turn, players have just 30 seconds to make the highest-scoring word they can using their cards.

With Whistle Mountain, a unique tile laying, worker placement and resource management game, players collect resources with the assistance of airships as they build their scaffolding up the mountainside. Players spend their hard-earned resources on scaffolds, machines, and equipment to climb higher than the competition and save their meeples as the water rises below.

It’s time for the annual Temple Festival! In Kokonana!, players look for matching stepping stones to help move their racers across the river. The first to reach the temple and find the door that matches their key, wins! It is a fast, exciting racing game for players aged 5 to 99!

Graphic Novel Adventures: Season 3 is here! Whether you wanted to see where our intrepid Pirates went next, see Sherlock Holmes face Jack the Ripper, build the ultimate theme park, hunt down monsters as Lily Van Helsing, or even become a criminal mastermind, we have the adventure for you.

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Many brave contestants have entered the tournament, but only a chosen few will join the Tidal Blades! Compete in challenges held across the aquatic realm of Naviri, fight your way to the top of the Champion’s board, and defend your home against dangerous monsters from the deep ocean!

Meet Schotten Totten 2, the explosive sequel of one of the best card games in the world! WELCOME YOUR NEIGHBOR: PREPARE THE BOILING OIL! In Scotland the war between clans is stronger than ever and your enemies are now attacking your castle! Defend your walls and prevent your opponent from finding a breach! Play as the attacker or defender in this fast asymmetrical and tactical card game that will appeal to your sense of bluff.

Ascension Eternal is a new entry into the fastpaced deckbuilding game designed by Magic Pro Tour champions Justin Gary, Rob Dougherty, and Brian Kibler. Including art from the 10-year history of Ascension, this package adds new art, new cards, and streamlined mechanics. It brings all the strategy and tactics of the award-winning deckbuilding game to a new low-priced, 2-player version accessible to casual audiences! With a 20-minute play time, it’s easy to learn and a perfect entry point for new players! Add multiple copies together for more player action! MSRP: $20.00

Aeon’s End: Outcasts is the next chapter in the ever-popular deckbuilding franchise Aeon’s End. Outcasts brings even more of what players love, including 4 new mages, 7 new Nameless to battle, a slew of market cards, and an entirely new non-legacy narrative campaign that takes you across a new landscape. Q4 2020 • AROUND THE table 45

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In Holi [hoh-lee], players gain joy by throwing color on the boards (higher levels are worth more points), getting color on others, and by collecting sweets. Play your color cards cleverly, climb up at the right time, and spread the most joy! Holi: Festival of Colors will be available Q4, 2020

Honey Buzz - the “Worker Bee” is a placement game for 1-4 players! Expand your beehive engine, forage for nectar and pollen, produce various kinds of honey to sell at the Bear Market, and compete for the queen’s favor!

In Southern Rails, 3-5 players compete to build track that will connect more cities to that railroad’s network, increasing the value of that company’s shares. Points are awarded according to which railroads lead in various categories. However, a railroad must stand above its competitors, as shared titles are worthless.

The King’s Armory, the Tower Defense Board Game returns for a fullyremastered 7th Anniversary Edition. Heroic choices await in this cooperative game for 1-7 players with infinite replayability through endless hero synergies, a modular board, and endless customization. Join us now to see what today’s Daily Unlock is!

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On the bus or in the park, The NOMAD keeps your cards on the playmat. The elastic band holds the folded NOMAD tight and keeps your deck in place during use. Clear pockets make sure your cards stay in the game. Available in Black, Forest Green and Midnight Blue.

In The Court of Miracles, players lead a guild of beggars to try and take over 16th century Paris. Players use worker placement and area influence to vie for control of neighborhoods, leading inevitably to standoffs where Renown can be won or lost. Using Plot Cards and the secret values of Rogue Tokens allows for deceptive tactics, while a large mix of abilities and actions gives a huge variety in every game. MSRP $39.99

In a world torn by storms and war, only the Knights Radiant can face the wrath of Odium! This is the official board game of The Stormlight Archive, Brandon Sanderson’s epic fantasy series. Using the Call to Adventure game system, it challenges you to build original characters in the world of Roshar. Over the course of the game, you will acquire Traits, gain Allies, and overcome Challenges. Play competitively, solo, or cooperatively. Win or lose, every game creates a unique story!

The magic exam is tomorrow so you and your classmates head to the Atheneum Mystic Library. In exchange for this after-hours intrusion, however, the security guard asks you to clean up and organize the library shelves. So roll up your sleeves and get to work! Available now!

Monza is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. A limitededition, collector’s tin of Monza is available. It plays just like the original, but with updated art, shiny silver dice, and a second track to race along. Play the original game or add the new Professional Drivers Variant for a more strategic experience. Q4 2020 • AROUND THE table 47

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The Zodiac Die is a big 12-sided die that has all the signs of the zodiac. It comes with a 16-page book by Steve Jackson, showing how to use the Zodiac Die to create personalities for your roleplaying characters. A great item for collectors, too! or contact

Under Falling Skies is a solo game with a multi-mission campaign. In each mission, you take charge of defending a besieged city. Your actions are powered by an innovative dice placement mechanic. When you choose an action, you are also choosing which enemy ships will descend. Bigger numbers give better effects, but they also cause ships to descend faster. 306735/under-falling-skies

In this setting, you play one of the only remaining souls alive after an undead apocalypse has brought civilization to a dark and bloody end. This beautifully illustrated game book provides everything you’ll need to experience The Lost Citadel through the lens of the world’s most popular roleplaying game.

TALI, the historic Roman version of Knucklebones, features the tactile feel of simulated bones and historically based coins (upgradeable to metal). It’s two games in one! Included is the historic 1000-year-old rules and a micro-role-playing game with more player options and complexity. It’s also a great roleplaying accessory. MSRP $25.00

BCW 3,200 ct. Card Bins, available January, are premium plastic versions of our 4-row cardboard boxes. Card Bins are stackable, and have hinged lids that tuck under the bins when open. When closed, latches keep the lids secure. Four Card Bin Partitions come with each bin. Identification slots are located in front of each row. The rows are wide enough to accommodate toploaders and magnetic card holders. 48 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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Gamers Want to find Your Store! We want to help them! Add your game store to the STEVE JACKSON GAMES

Store Finder! And join the Steve Jackson Games Retailer Group on Facebook for the latest product releases and retailer opportunities! #PLAYSJGAMES 2020_AroundTheTable_04_Fall.indd 49

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Employers Benefit from Offering

Healthcare Coverage

by Rick Reiman, MJM Global Insurance Brokerage Group


ccording to a survey by one of the largest job and recruiting sites, employees report health insurance is, by far, the most important benefit they receive from their employer. That is why employers often offer health insurance as an initial company benefit. As an employer, you realize, though there are multiple benefits you can offer your employees, many may seem helpful and important, but there is one that has more value than cost. Offering health insurance is important, but what if you could guarantee your employees more value via your association membership? What if signing up for health insurance was a simple process? These ideas are grand and obtainable with the healthcare coverage offered by As an employer, you can set your contribution to your employee healthcare coverage. Setting your contribution and offering healthcare to your employees allows: • Tax advantage: According to the IRS, if an employer pays the cost of an accident or health insurance plan for his/her employee, including an employee’s spouse and dependents, the employer’s payments are not considered wages and are not subject to Social Security, Medicare, and FUTA taxes, or federal income tax withholding. • Recruiting tool: If a potential employee is deciding between two jobs, an employer offering benefits like a superior health insurance plan can tip the balance in the favor of the potential employer. • Reduced absenteeism: Healthy employees are often more productive, less prone to injury and less likely to miss workdays. • Employee satisfaction: Research shows employees feel more favorable about their jobs and employers when health benefits are provided. • Retention: Employers understand employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers valuable insurance benefits, and that these employees would be more costly to replace. For an employer, these features combine to increase value while bringing your team the healthcare benefits they want and need. The simplified enrollment process completes the search for appropriate coverage by comparing plans from the nation’s leading carriers and making sense of a plan before enrollment. Even if an employer only has two employees, and one waives coverage, there is a choice of plan options. As a sole proprietor or a 1099 independent contractor, you will also find available options. No matter your need, is able to assist you in finding coverage options. In addition, when you enroll through your association marketplace, Prosper Benefits is bundled with all plans at no cost and no co-pay. Prosper Benefits includes programs like TeleHealth, TeleMental, Medical Bill Saver, and Health Advocacy. These benefits should be considered savings when adding up an employee’s true cost of healthcare coverage. Having a portion of medical costs paid through an employer’s benefit package can be quite a comfort to an employee. It is no exaggeration to say that an individual without health insurance can be one major injury or illness away from financial ruin. has taken the guess work out of healthcare coverage. If you do find yourself having a question or needing assistance, there are representatives available via phone, chat, and email to help you through the process of finding the best plan for your needs. Whether you are an employer, or an employee, choosing the best avenue will depend on your unique circumstances. Please visit, offered as a benefit by your association. Rick Reiman is Vice President, Employee Benefits at MJM Global Insurance Brokerage Group, Inc. Rick has over 15 years experience in the employee benefits marketplace including specific experience in associations. 50 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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Walk through your healthcare coverage today with a trusted advisor at

Healthcare is easy when you have a trusted advisor on your side every step of the way. We are here for you and your family to make healthcare simple. Visit to begin

An exclusive member benefit provided by

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EDUCATIONA ICON KEY Industry-wide Topic

One of the many benefits GAMA members receive is access to educational webinars and pre-recorded seminars. See listed here or visit

Publisher-specific Topic

to explore and access recordings from the

Retailer-specific Topic

Designer-specific Topic

2021 on a topic in which you are experienced,

20+ webinars and seminars GAMA held in 2020. If you are interested in hosting a webinar in please contact Education Manager Melissa Jacobs for further information at

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January 23, 2020 Improving Presentation Quality Before GAMA Expo 2020

March 20, 2020 Road to Premium: A Journey Not a Destination

Jared DeMartini , The Gathering Place

John Coviello, Little Shop of Magic

March 20, 2020 Store Security: Thwart Fraud Theft Don & Kelly Allen, Comic Quest

March 20, 2020 LGBTQ and other ABCs of Inclusion

March 20, 2020 Marketing 101

March 20, 2020 Growth Planning for Success Jennifer Ward, Crazy Squirrel Game Store

March 20, 2020 Financing Your Store Josh Wilhelmi, Game Goblins

Bryan Winter, I’m Board! Games & Family Fun

March 20, 2020 Finance 201

March 20, 2020 Getting the Most Out of Interviews

Aaron Witten, Witten Financial Services

Jason Clark, Geek City Games and Comics

March 20, 2020 Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

March 20, 2020 Capitalizing on the New Gamer Demographic of 2020

Julie Ahern, Greenbrier Games

Brenda & Paraic Mulgrew, Knight Watch Games

Mikaela Wingard-Phillips, Math ‘n’ Stuff

March 20, 2020 Selling Used Games With (Almost) Zero Risk Bryan Winter, I’m Board! Games & Family Fun

March 20, 2020 Complicated Calendars: Planning Events & Premium Experiences

March 20, 2020 Intellectual Property in the Tabletop Gaming Industry Eric Perrott, Gerben Law Firm

March 20, 2020 GAMA 101 John Stacy, GAMA

Jay Mason-Grant, Black Knight Games Q4 2020 • AROUND THE table 53

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Webinars (continued from page 53)

March 20, 2020 Optimizing Your Playtesting Mike Elliott, MSE Consultants

March 20, 2020 The Dos and Don’ts of Mixing Mobile Games with Board Games Vincent Vergonjeanne, Lucky Duck Games

March 20, 2020 Pitching Your Game to Publishers Panel Mike Elliott, MSE Consultants, Alex Yeager, Steve Jackson Games

March 20, 2020 Designing With Constraints Julie Ahern, Greenbrier Games

March 20, 2020 How to Get Into Retail

August 26, 2020 How We Built a Million Dollar+ Game without Kickstarter - A Financing and Marketing Journey Jay Bobo, Cards For All People

Molly Zeff, Flying Leap Games

September 9, 2020 Tips on How to Address Sexual Harassment Situations Jackiethia Butsch, Katbro Consultants

October 14, 2020 Supporting You to Source and Manufacturer Responsibly Carmel Giblin, ICTI Ethical Toy Program

November 13, 2020 You Thought You Knew Marketing. I’ll Show You how To Get To CREAM (Content Rules Everything Around Me) Status Latesha Williams, Cards for All People

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• Stores over 3,200 loose trading cards • Rigid, acid-free plastic • 4 partitions included, additional partitions sold separately • Identification slots for each row • Made for stacking • Secure sliding locks • Holds sleeved cards, toploaders, and magnetics

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2020 Origins Award Winners Announced The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design is pleased to announce the Origin Award winners and the Academy Hall of Fame inductees for 2020. Academy Hall of Fame – Class of 2020 Inductees Reinhold Wittig, Designer – Game designer since the 1970s with more than 200 titles and exceptional contributions to the professional recognition of game authors. Wolfgang Kramer, Designer – Game designer that was a pioneer in area control games, founding member of German Game Authors Guild with more than 10 million copies of his games in print around the world. Wolfgang Warsch, Rising Star Award – designer of a dozen games including The Mind, That’s Pretty Clever, and Quacks of Quedlinburg. Yahtzee, Notable Product – first produced in 1956, it is considered the grandfather of Roll And Write and Roll and Re-Roll Games. BoardGameGeek, Notable Product – founded in 2000, BGG is an important resource for the tabletop game community.

Origin Awards 2020 Best Board Game/Game of the Year: Tiny Towns | AEG | Peter McPherson, Gong Studios, Matt Paquette Best Card Game: Point Salad | AEG | Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, Shawn Stankewich, Dylan Mangini Best Family Game: The Quacks of Quedlinburg | North Star Games | Wolfgang Warsch, Dennis Lohausen Digital Adaptation: Tsuro VR | Calliope Games / Thunderbox Entertainment Digital | Tom McMurchie Best Collectible Game: Marvel HeroClix: Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati Booster Brick | WizKids Best Role-Playing Game: Teens in Space | Renegade Game Studios | Jonathan Gilmour, Doug Levandowski Best Game Accessory: Citadel Contrast Paint | Games Workshop Best Miniatures Game: Warcry | Games Workshop | The Warhammer Studio Best Historical Miniatures Game: Bolt Action: Campaign D-Day Operation Overlord | Osprey Games / Warlord Games | Robert Vella, Peter Dennis Best Historical Game: Pandemic: Fall of Rome | Z-Man Games | Matt Leacock, Paolo Mori, Atha Kanaani, Olly Lawson, Antonio Maínez We would like to thank the 40 volunteers who served on the Origins Award Jury for 2020. They reviewed more than 300 titles and products and we appreciate their service to the industry. For those interested in being part of the Origins Awards Jury in 2021, please send an email to with your name, industry experience, and which jury you would like to be a part of. Review of games will occur in January and February with the goal of announcing finalists in March and winners during the 2021 Origins Game Fair. All jurors receive a complimentary badge for Origins and an invitation to the awards ceremony. Submissions for the 2021 Origins Awards opened on November 24, 2020. To be eligible for consideration, products must be available for purchase to consumers through retail channels between November 19, 2019 and November 24, 2020. For more information on how to nominate titles or products, please go to . 56 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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Many brave contestants have signed up for the tournament, but only a handful will be chosen to join the Tidal Blades, the elite guardians of our island realm. To succeed, compete in Challenges held in the 3 Arenas, rise to the top of the Champion’s Board, and protect the realm from the everincreasing threat of Monsters from the mysterious Fold. • Worker placement and dice management with high strategy and depth set in an immersive high fantasy water world! • Compete in strategic dice rolling challenges! • Use asymmetric character abilities to achieve victory!

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Suggested Age: 14+ Number of Players: 1-4 Playing time: 60-90 minutes

CONTENTS • • • • • •

11 boards • 253 cards 62 dice • 169 tokens Thematic Round marker Metal First Player marker 6 standees + bases Scorepad, Rulebook, Almanac


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GAMA EXPO 2021 Will Be Virtual – New Friendly Local Game Store Day Announced Online: EXPO & Game Night Tuesday, March 16 & 23, 2021 Online: Professional Development Day Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Friendly Local Game Store Day Saturday, March 27, 2021 As we recently announced, the 2021 GAMA EXPO currently scheduled for March 15-18 in Reno, Nevada, will not be held due to the COVID pandemic. In its place, GAMA will host an online program consisting of four days of content spread over two weeks, culminating with a new program for 2021, Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS) Day. The online show will consist of two EXPO days featuring the Exhibit Hall, Premier Presentations and Game Nights on Tuesday, March 16 and 23 respectively. On Wednesday, March 17 GAMA will hold a Professional Development Day with specific educational tracks for retailers, publisher/ manufacturers, and designers plus a special e-commerce track for everyone. The program will also feature a speed pitching opportunity for designers with publishers, scheduled meetings with distributors and facilitated group discussions on important topics facing our industry. In addition to the online program, we are very excited to announce a new promotional program for next year, Friendly Local Game Store Day, which will be held on Saturday, March 27. The goal of this initiative is to drive consumers to GAMA retail stores to purchase products by GAMA publishers. More information will be provided in the coming weeks as we finalize details on both GAMA EXPO and FLGS Day.

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GAMA Hires New Communications Manager The Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is pleased to announce that they have hired Kelly Mignogna as their new Communications Manager. Before joining GAMA, Kelly spent nearly seven years as the Communications Manager for the Ohio Beverage Association. During her time there, she had the opportunity to work with some of the most well-known companies in the world, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper. Her expertise includes social media, content creation, event planning & promotion and project management.

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The 2020 ESSENtial Retailer Summit

was a two-day virtual trade show, hosted by GAMA, which provided publishers and retailers the opportunity to grow their businesses by forming new relationships across the globe. We were very pleased that 155 retailers from eight countries (Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, France, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States) participated in the program. The recordings from the 28 publishers’ presentations are available on our On Demand Webinar page:

Choose Your Boss! Build Your Map! Conquer the overworld in this tile drafting game from the makers TM of Boss Monster! Coming January 2021. Also in January, the Next Boss Monster Expansion! 62 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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the Around the Table Editorial Board

To support and promote diverse voices, GAMA is recruiting for an Editorial Board to help steer the conversation and themes featured in Around the Table. A quarterly publication, Around the Table features articles by thought leaders across the industry sharing insights and experiences, previews of upcoming games, as well as practical tips and advice on how to create, promote, and sell games. If you are interested in joining the Editorial Board for 2021, please email!


The animals are climbing all over each other to form an ever-taller Christmas pyramid. But which one will make it to the top? The players take turns carefully balancing squirrels, snow bunnies, penguins and reindeer on stars, fir trees and sleds on top of each other in this wobbly Christmas stacking game.


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By Caleb Wilson


was sipping my morning cup of wildflower tea, with honey, of course, when I heard a great buzz of excitement. I felt the lumbering motion of the drones who guarded the hive. Into the cafeteria flew a team of scouts, who began their waggle dance for all to see. Encoded in the dance was wonderful news: the scouts had discovered the perfect site for the new hive, which meant the contest could begin! The new hive couldn’t be built soon enough, in my opinion. The old hive was lovely, of course, but it was getting overcrowded. At the heart of the hive lived the Queen-in-training, and I’d heard she was almost ready to take over, as soon as a new site was selected and the old Queen and her retinue flew off to oversee construction. There were a lot of factors to consider for designing a new hive, and I’d been studying them all my life. It was important to listen to the royal accountants: the Honey Market was booming, and the architect of any new 64 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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hive had to keep track of which kind of honey was most in demand. A hive isn’t just a random collection of hexagons! So much more can be done with careful planning. You have to craft custom spaces for different nectars; which ones must be decided based on market competition. And then there are all the special cells that any modern hive just has to include. Even the most rustic drone wouldn’t want to live in some backwoods hive without access to fan chambers and a bank branch.

I don’t want to brag but I was the first in my class at Hive School. The model hives I produced were marvels of efficiency. They won prizes. The best prize, the only prize I wanted now, was for my design to be picked by the Queen as the new main hive! My head was buzzing from that strong sweet tea. I was lost in a daydream of wax cells, all spinning around me like petals. I thought of all the nectar evaporating into honey in the chambers I would design, the sweet smell of it intoxicating. I thought of the Queen, sitting secure in her royal chamber with her posse of loyal drones, sampling the honey while her accountant showed her a graph with the upward trend of all her bank accounts. I would be famous, each cell of the new hive stamped with my mark so that every larva, every scout and forager and all the new architects who studied my designs, would remember my name. A gust of wind rattled my wings and the daydream evaporated. The scouts were dispersing, and I recalled the contest still before me. There was a hive to design, a contest to be won! I was born for this challenge. This was going to be fun, and victory would be sweet. Do you have what it takes to win the prize? Find out! Honey Buzz is now available at your friendly local game store. You can also order the game and the deluxe component upgrades at

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INDEX OF advertisers Company........................................................................................ website adverstory page.................. ad page Arcane Tinmen ApS.................................................. 28.................................... 29 Arcane Wonders..................................................... 67 AWEbase............................................................................... 12.................................... 13 BCW 55 Best Coast Pairings........................................... 58 Bezier Games............................................................... 18.................................... 19 Brotherwise 62 Candor USA.................................................................... 50.................................... 51 Czech Games Edition.................................................. 16.................................... 17 Easy Roller Dice Company..................................... 6 Elf Creek Games....................................................... 64.................................... 65 Floodgate Games.......................................................... 20.............................. 21-23 Gate Keeper Gaming....................................... 59 Green Ronin 61 HABA / Habermaass 63 Hooterville 58 IELLO........................................................................................ 70.....................back cover Indie Boards & 32.............................. 34-35 KTBG/Burnt Island Games......................................... 30.....................front cover Lucky Duck 8.........inside front cover Parallel Games 60 Peachstate Hobby Distribution................................. back cover Renegade Game Studios.................................... 27 Rio Grande 14.................................... 15 Skybound 57 Southern Hobby Supply...................................... 54 Steve Jackson 49 The United States Playing Card, 41 Ultra Pro 42-43 USAopoly, 33 Van Ryder Games................................................... 9...................................... 4 VRGames / VR-Soft................................................................. 68.................................... 69 To advertise, contact Amy Colburn at 315-789-6431



Mailing Date

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4

January 15 April 9 July 9 October 1

February 19 May 14 August 13 November 5

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Historic Gaming to the Future


R-Soft’s VRGames studios published Swords & Sails, Rewrite history in 1000 AD one year ago. It’s an epic strategy game using a unique mix of area conquest, diplomacy, intrigue, economic, and simultaneous game play mechanics. Accurate historic representations define both the game map and inspire the special powers for each of the sevenplayer factions in the game. They give each player the feeling they are actually commanding either the Byzantine Empire, Holy Roman Empire, Fatimid Caliphate, Kievan Rus’ Empire, North Sea Empire, Kingdom of France, or Kingdom of England. This same dedication to historical accuracy also helped inspire the Swords & Sails game coins, which are available as metal coins in a separately packaged add-on. Four denominations from 1000 AD, a Byzantine gold histamenon, an Anglo-Saxon silver penny, a Byzantine copper 40 nummi, and a Byzantine bronze 5 nummi are all represented by using 3D sculpting techniques to accurately represent the coin’s relief. The metal coins can also be used as a game accessory for other games, including role-playing games and other historical games. Following the success of its epic game of Swords & Sails and the historic metal coins, VR-Soft has now published another game based on the same historic period of 1000 AD. This time, players take on the role of gamers from 1000 AD, playing the historically popular game of TALI (Latin for knucklebones) in a Byzantine gambling hall and trying to win the same historically inspired

coins created for Swords & Sails. 3D scans from actual sheep’s ankle bones were used to create molds for the custom knucklebones dice. The digital model was then further sculpted by inscribing the Roman numerals of I, III, IV, and VI on the sides that come up when thrown. The two remaining sides of the knucklebones are too curved to be landed on. Just like modern six-sided dice, the values from the opposite sides add up to 7, as TALI, Roman Knucklebones are the historic precursor to dice. VRGames is re-introducing TALI to the modern gaming world in two forms. As two games in one, players can choose to play the original historic rules of TALI, re-created from the written records of Byzantine Emperors or as a game within a game by using characters to play the role of a historic gambler from 1000 AD. Each character card has their own background story and abilities to influence either the throw of the dice or other game play elements. Available as knucklebone dice only packaging (with online rules) and in role-playing packs with Knucklebone dice and metal coins only. As part of the response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, VR-Soft has created programs to assist retailers in internet sales by seizing the virtual technologies. Programs include direct to customer drop shipping and virtual demos through 3D virtual gaming on the internet. Both Swords & Sails and TALI now have virtual digital versions playable on Tabletop Simulator ™ (TTS). Virtual Demos and play throughs can be scheduled (demos@vr-soft. com). Play TALI on TTS: ( filedetails/?id=2149007550) TALI and Swords & Sails TTS demos are available through both pre-scheduled sessions and during select upcoming virtual gaming conferences.







Both games are available as part of GAMA’s “Buy One, Donate One at 50%” A Game On Every Table program, supporting Toys for Tots.


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The Historic Roman Game of Knuckle bones with Custom Dice and Metal Coins Tali is two games in one, the base game attempts to re-create the historical game as the Byzantine Romans from 1000 AD would play the game. The Micro-role playing version of the game adds character cards. Each one has their own unique character abilities and story backgrounds.

Rewrite History in 1000 AD! A unique game combining strategy, negotiation, economics, and medieval warfare.

The year is 1000 AD, the mid-point of the medieval period. The European continent is constantly at war as competing political factions try to control Europe through military might and political intrigue.

VR Games • • VR-Soft LLC For Sales Inquiries, email or visit

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King of Tokyo Dark Edition


Gift Ideas H Gift Ideas By John Stephens, Sales Programs Director - IELLO USA

oliday gift giving is all about matching the correct gift with the correct giver, so that it can be given to the correct recipient, and no one has more great gifts for this holiday season than IELLO, with top notch hits like King of Tokyo, Bunny Kingdom, and spectacular stocking stuffers like the Mini-Games line - Big games in Small boxes. IELLO’s partners, Le Scorpion Masque, have not only brought hits such as Decrypto and Zombie Kidz Evolution, but also great new titles for the holiday season, and this holiday season is the first time that these two companies are joined by new partners Vesuvius Media, bringing these former Kickstarter projects to retail for the first time ever. Every gamer, and every family, can find the perfect title in the IELLO catalog, from aforementioned evergreens to these newer releases, and bring the joy of great gaming to their holidays this year.

King of Tokyo: Dark Edition - For the discerning collector there is no greater joy than a limited edition version of a megahit game. This Dark Edition of King of Tokyo (IEL51678) brings a noir feeling to the entire experience, with new art on every card by popular artist Paul Mafayon, a new mechanic by Richard Garfield, and upgraded components that deliver a top shelf version of Tokyo-smashing fun. This can’t miss version of IELLO’s evergreen hit is sure to please fans both new and old, and offer an engaging experience for gamers of all ages, or a beautiful showcase piece for their collection. Kitara - If your customer is looking for the next big hit, Kitara (IEL51682) is the perfect gift this holiday season. Featuring a clever combination of card drafting and area control, beautiful custom meeples, and different boards for each number of players, Kitara offers a frenetic give and take as players battle over the remnants of this mythological empire in the Great Lakes region of Africa. With beautiful art by Miguel Coimbra that remains true to the traditions and myths of this region, this game by Eric Vogel is both gorgeous and engaging, ensuring that Kitara will be a favorite for years to come. Zombie Teenz Evolution - The kids saved the school in the #1 Kids Game on

BoardGameGeek, and now the teens move out to protect and secure their town in this hotly anticipated follow-up. Perfect for kids, and envelopes of fun for the entire family, ZTE (IELZTE01EN) brings legacy-style gameplay into every home, with 14 envelopes in the box to add great new content, as well as a passport book that kids can use to track their progress through the game. Work together to find the ingredients needed to end the zombie threat in this standalone, but compatible, sequel. 70 AROUND THE table • Q4 2020

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Master Word - For the family looking

for a lightweight cooperative game, nothing beats the masterpiece that is Master Word (IEL00103). Guaranteed to bring laughter to every holiday gathering, Master Word sees a group of seekers attempting to go from a one word clue to a final answer, with the assistance of a guide that tells them if their clues are right or wrong, but not exactly which clues are right or wrong, because what fun would life be if we had perfect information?

Dwar7s Fall - If your gift giver is looking

for a great game at a medium weight, the search is over with Dwar7s Fall (IEL51797), the first game in the Dwaf7s line from IELLO USA’s latest partner, Vesuvius Media. This game seamlessly integrates concepts integral to tile laying, hand management, set collection, and worker placement as your dwarves work together to gather gems, build up food stores for the winter, and defeat the occasional monster that gets in the way. Plan your turns wisely as you lead your clan through their preparations before the giants of winter awake.

Pacific Rails Inc. - The train game genre gets a great new title in this clever combination of worker placement and engine builder, perfect for the gamer looking to enjoy a new train game, or just a new worker placement adventure. Will your train company be the first to complete the Transcontinental Railroad? To get there you’ll need to gather resources, strategically move your workers on and off of task spaces, and maybe bribe just a couple of senators. Can you set the correct route, build your telegraph stations, and win the race from coast to coast? You can contact IELLO USA at retailers@ for further information. IELLO - Great games, Unforgettable experiences.


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PHD Celebrates 15 Years Now with over 15 years of experience, PHD has become a leader in U.S. game and hobby distribution and we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the publishers and stores that made it possible. PHD will continue to provide a full line of TCGs, Miniatures, Board Games, Card Games, Sports Cards, and RPGs, as well as Comic, Gaming, and Hobby Supplies. With experienced staff and personalized organized-play support, we willl do what it takes to help you grow your business.



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