Sunday, March 24, 2019

Guild of Heroes Report for 3/23

Guild of Heroes Adventures
February 2019

As the winds of winter fade away and new foes reveal themselves... these are the latest adventures of Niln's greatest heroes!

We are excited to see many of you at our upcoming Guild of Heroes School Break Camp on April 4th and 5th, running during regular school hours. The theme for this camp is going to be Cities! We'll be learning about playing in them, creating them, and more. For more details and registration, see our event website.

After that, our next Guild of Heroes sessions will be April 14th. You can sign up for our morning or afternoon sessions.

Pirates!? with Joe

Guild scribes are still hard at work recording the accounts of this adventure. Expect their work here soon!

Death in the Wood with Yoni

Four new Guild initiates (along with Guild member Aerith for help and supervision) were tasked with investigating a series of disappearances in the Bell Wood. In the nearby town of Woodside, they accidentally started a brawl while trying to console Erin, the distraught wife of a missing man named William. After being locked up for the night, they were released on the word of Erin, and the promise that they would help solve the mystery and rescue William.

As they headed toward the wood, they ran afoul of a logger named Manfred, and noticed a distinctive notch in his axe. Delving into the forest, they befriended a very silly sprite named Hunter, fought off a thicket of twig blights that ambushed the party, and found a Gulthias tree deep in the forest. Defeating the tree, they discovered the remains of William, and noticed that his wounds had been made by a notched blade.

The Gulthias tree had grown out of the evil energy from the site of a murder! The adventurers burned the remaining roots of the tree, then returned to Woodside and presented the evidence to the sheriff. Manfred was arrested, and the sheriff begrudgingly awarded the Guild the monetary reward as well as his respect.

Beneath the Waves of Innsmouth with Camilla

The spectral waves of Dagon roiled over the valley below
Harvald, a fish merchant of Oakcrest had gone missing, and there were reports of strange lights from the valley east of the market town. Klefistis, Happy, Nova, Shadow, and Sauron set out, discovering Innsmouth valley plagued with an asphyxiating curse by day and haunted by fluorescent ghosts of the deep by night, all blanketed within a surface of glimmering lights that mimicked the distant surface of the sea. Firstly, they demolished a dam upstream erected by the Giants, for it had diverted the village’s water source (and fisheries) to an Imperial farm elsewhere. 

The party ventured down into the valley at nightfall and found the villagers barely surviving, unable to muster the strength to escape the valley’s depths without their help. They learned that a deal had been struck with one Unkoaka Isthys. The fish would return to the valley, so long as none would be taken out, a stricture that Harvald the merchant had violated, dooming his friends and kin, were it not for the Guild.

This, but glowing, thirty feet long, and flying through the air
In one final foray, they crossed the newly replenished river, finding the deepest canyon beset with stinging jellies and skeletons animated by the swarms of leeches writhing over them. They pushed onwards towards the cave where Unkoaka was said to dwell. Happy was the first to bleed, unwittingly attracting the attention of the Megalodon shark that roamed the valley. Even as they started to fall to the skeletons around them, things got worse when Happy was gobbled whole. Astonishingly, a villager trapped within the belly of the beast was able to save he and Sauron from death. It was a close battle, with almost every member of the party falling near death. Finally, they vanquished the megalodon, revealing the Kuo-Toa sorcerer inside, ending the valley’s punishment.

Enter Alazar with Ben

Someone has been aiding the Guild. For months, they have received cryptic messages and warnings, all written in the same hand. A mysterious summons to Ft. Kraos, the Imperial fortress off the coast of Niln, revealed their benefactor to be Bluto Vel Alrich, the commandant of the Imperial legion. He called the party to the fort to warn them of an incoming threat, one far deadlier than they had yet faced.

Before he could finish his warning, it’s subject appeared. The frost giant inquisitor, Alazar Rune, had come to Ft. Kraos to seize control from Bluto and wage new war on the Guild. For aiding the guild, Bluto was imprisoned, and the party was faced with a terrible choice: submit to this new tyrant or watch Niln be torn apart by his inquisition. X and Soveliss chose to flee, but were quickly captured. Silas, long friendly with Bluto, led Coren and Troy in a fruitless attack against Alazar. One by one, they were incapacitated. Only Flint chose to submit, if only to buy himself time to rescue his friends.

The party, sans Flint, was taken to prison below the fort to join Bluto in the cells. Flint managed to sneak his way in and retrieve the party’s weapons while Silas melted his way through the cell bars and Soveliss stole a set of keys with his Mage Hand spell. Flint’s long lost uncle, imprisoned in the cells, almost gave away the plan, but ultimately provided the party with their escape through the handy tunnel he had been digging for the last few years.

The party said their goodbyes Bluto and set sail for home while their new giant ally swam off towards an uncertain future.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

What's New At Labyrinth: 3/23/19

What's New At Labyrinth: 3/23/19
Welcome back, folks! As always, we've gotten a healthy shipment of new stuff and returning favorites. Let's get to it:

Two Rooms And A Boom 

Leading things off we have the return of a beloved favorite: Two Rooms and a Boom! If you need a game to play up to 30 people, look no further. Players split into two teams: Assassins and Security, with everyone's secret identity contained on a card they carry. Subterfuge, deception, democracy, and betrayal will lead one side or the other to bloody victory.

X-Wing: Third Wave
A new wave of starships have emerged to battle through space in a galaxy far, far away. We now carry the Guardians of the Republic and Servants of Strife Squadron Packs, along with a whole array of individual ships. Enhance your X-Wing force today! 

Smash-Up: World Tour: International Incident  
Smash Up never stops! The latest expansion, International Incident, adds four new bizarre factions: Mounties, Sumo Wrestlers, Musketeers and Luchadores. If you're in for regional ridiculousness, International Incident is the box for you.

Robinson Crusoe: Mystery Tales
Robinson Crusoe, a game of exploration, survival, and danger receives its second big-box expansion with Mystery Tales. This one comes with an entirely new campaign, "The Lost City of Z", along with new beasts, new cards, an entirely new Sanity mechanic, ten new characters, and more! No fan of Robinson Crusoe should miss Mystery Island.

Qwirkle Rummy
Two great tastes that go great together. The set-matching game Quirkle has been rendered into card form! Quick, portable, and hours of fun, Quirkle Rummy is the perfect game for a long trip or a rainy day.

Mastermind is a classic game of deduction and strategy. Beloved since the 70's, two players take on the roles of a codemaker and codebreaker, communicating through colored pegs as they try to outsmart each other. Try it and see what keeps a game popular for 50 years!

Ubongo! is back in print! In this competitive puzzle game, 1-4 players must compete to assemble their polynominos into different challenge shapes. Only the sharpest builder can claim victory. 

Dice Forge: Rebellion 
Dice Forge returns with a new expansion: Rebellion. Adding thirty new, unique die faces to the game, along with new exploits, boards and more, Rebellion takes the existing game and ramps it up to 11. Give it a roll!

Are You Dumber Than A Box Of Rocks? 
Are You Dumber Than A Box Of Rocks? is a simple, yet hilarious premise: a trivia game where the humans play against three inanimate rocks. Players take turns playing a best-of-three with the rocks, and the winner advances a point for Team Rock or Team Human. Dare you take the challenge? Be careful, rumor says these rocks are sharp!

Blossoms is a beautiful game of gardening for two players.  Each particular combination of blossoms results in a unique flower, all with different values. The best bouquet will win the day! If you want a relaxing  game with beautiful themes that still packs a strategic punch look no further. 

Cobra Paw
Cobra Paw is a dexterity game of dice and dominoes.  Players roll six custom dice with unique faces, and then race to snatch the dominoes that represent what's been rolled. Speed and precision is the name of the game: strike like a cobra to win, in Cobra Paw. 

Word-a-Melon is a new spelling game that's also a memory game! The seeds of this melon are actually letter tiles. Roll the dice and flip over as many letters as you can. Each word you can piece together gets you points! Pay attention to your rivals' turns: if you can remember the letter locations, it's a decisive advantage.

Magic: Gold Edition 
Finally, we have a new magic set! (Not Magic: the Gathering.) Card tricks, dice tricks, wands and more: This is the perfect gift for any budding magician. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

What's New at Labyrinth: 3/15/19

What's New at Labyrinth: 3/15/19
Welcome back! We've had a heaping helping of new arrivals, so let's get to it! 

 City of Kings
The City of Kings is a cooperative combat game where you must fight your way through a hostile fantasy world. With procedurally generated enemies and engaging, diceless combat, City of Kings is positioned to challenge Gloomhaven for the top spot of the genre. Don't miss out!

C02: Second Chance
Co2: Second Chance is a game of economics, strategy, and ecology. Players take the helm of different energy corporations competing in a new, climate-conscious age. Trade carbon credits and build green infrastructure while balancing pollution reduction against the growing need for energy. Can you become the greenest of them all?   

Haven is a beautiful new two-player game, where the forces of nature and civilization collide. The ancient forest of Haven has sheltered the spirits for ages, but now the nearby City is expanding in search of its power. An asymmetric strategy game, each side has its own unique abilities and playstyle. Only one side can emerge triumphant!

Arkham Horror: The Secret Name
The first pack in the Circle Undone cycle has your investigators turning towards the past to save the present. With a sinister new coven of witches threatening the city of Arkham, you must dive into the misty past, and confront the ghosts of Salem that still walk the streets. 

 New Lego (And Lego Architecture!)
We've gotten in a new shipment of Lego, including--at long last--Lego Architecture! With these new, high-quality Architecture sets, we're finally able to offer a selection of Legos aimed at adult hobbyists. And we've got more regular Legos that ever! Come take a look!

Anti-Monopoly is a fascinating new take on the classic game, adding in a fundamental choice: Are you a free-market competitor, or are you a monopolist? Each of these options bind players to a new set of rules, adding a strategic asymmetry. Will you play fair, or try and grab all the land for yourself?

Zombie Kidz: Evolution
Zombie Kidz: Evolution is the first Legacy game aimed at younger audiences. In the zombie apocalypse, a crew of spunky kids has grouped up and fortified their school. Help them secure the premises and each game the rules will evolve! An excellent introduction into the legacy game style. 

Gurms is an adorable new tile-laying game where your skills puzzling and prediction are put to the test. Each tile you place adds new Gurms to the pattern. Complete the most Gurms to win!

Pickles to Penguins
Pickles to Penguins is a hilarious new free-association party game. What does a pickle have in common with a penguin? If you can make a connection, you can discard the card! First one to empty their hand wins.

Tudor sends its players headfirst into the cut-throat political melee of the Tudor court. Players compete as courtiers for political access, power, and wealth. Flatter your way up by placing your agents carefully in court. But beware: your rivals will always be looking for a chance to stab you in the back!

Songbirds is an elegant abstract strategy game where players must carefully invest their cards to claim victory for their chosen bird. Players place cards onto a grid of "nuts", each worth points. The highest value will claim the column, but ties will nullify each other, so watch out for the low rollers! With precision and care, you can guide your songbird to victory.

13 Dead End Drive
The confounding classic 13 Dead End Drive is back! A rich relative has died--now you need rub out all your competition for the inheritance. Luckily, the paranoid old coot had crammed their house with lethal traps! Squish your unfortunate relatives to escape with your life and their fortune. 

Stupid Deaths
Stupid Deaths is a new party game with a ghoulish sense of humor. Players take turns reading out cards with common stories of humorous homicide, with everyone else playing a round of True or False. Test your historical knowledge with Stupid Deaths.

Oaxaca is a game of craftmanship and engine building. Players control families of craftspeople in the rich, diverse Mexican state of Oaxaca, and must carefully manage their specializations and output. Play your cards and draft your dice right and you'll find yourself the wealthiest artisan in Oaxaca!

Millenia ago, a tiny, life-bearing planet lost its spin, plunging half the world into eternal night and the other into endless day. Thousands of years later, the societies on the planet Solenia have adapted to this dramatic shift in circumstance--the Day Side provides wheat and wood, while the Night Side provides ore and gems. Players act as the traders, producing goods on floating islands and transporting across the world in floating cities to keep society running. Invest smartly to claim victory in this beautiful game. 

Raccoon Tycoon
Raccoon Tycoon puts you in the furry boots of Gilded Age industrialists, each fighting for dominance as a cresting wave of wealth washes over the land. Invest in factories, towns and products, all while keeping a close eye on your rivals. Only one can be the top dog: make sure it's you!

Honga is a Stone Age action selection game. Players are competing to be named the next chief of the Saber-Toothed Tiger clan by proving themselves apt leaders. Divide your time wisely between gathering food, trading goods, and praying to the gods--but watch out! Honga the sabertooth is always hungry, and if you don't keep a watch on him he'll empty your larders in a jiffy!

House of Danger
Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger is back! This nostalgic callback to the days of youth is a hilarious, fun choose-your-own-adventure game, great for both solo and collaborative play. The first time we got it in, it vanished off the shelves, so don't delay!

Apocalyptic Picnic
A lovely family reunion has been spoiled--by radioactive potato salad! Everyone eating it are turning into hideous zombies, and the only cure is Grandma's Chicken Soup. The last player with a non-zombified family member wins! Goofy fun for all ages.

Kozo is an elegant and ruthless game of balance: Think Jenga in reverse. Players must balance block shapes in an ascending tower of eight blocks; three by three with no block allowed to overhang the sides or center square. To make things harder, after each piece, players can then place a small block to prevent any blocks from resting on a surface! Don't knock over the tower, or you'll lose points.

Ramen Fury
Ramen Fury is a brand new card game in a deliciously flavorful package. Collect and arrange a wide variety of ingredients, each with unique properties, to try and create the most mouth-watering bowl of ramen this side of Tokyo. But watch out: your competitors are aiming for the top too, and they aren't above slipping a hot pepper into your soup when you aren't looking!

We've gotten in a whole new selection of Magna-Tiles. New types and collections, new constructions and more. Take a look!

We've gotten in more than 2 pallets of puzzles this last week, so come sample the new puzzling bounty! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

2019 Survey Results - Part 1

We wanted to thank everyone (all 278 of you) who participated in our 2019 Tell Us What You Want, What You Really, Really Want Survey. We have been going through the mountains of data that resulted from this survey, and we've been trying to distill it into something that we could share with you. This has proved more difficult than we estimated. It has been taking more time that we have to try to put it into some kind of presentable format. So, we decided that we would do a few blog posts covering different sections of the survey.

The most important thing with regard to this survey is that we really appreciate your opinions, and we love hearing your feedback. In yesterday's staff meeting, we went over the results of the survey in detail, and we are already starting to put some new plans into action to respond to your suggestions. The staff even suggested that we have an ongoing survey so that you can always submit recommendations and anonymously give us feedback. They loved hearing from you THAT MUCH. Keep an eye out. We'll have a Feedback Link on our website within the next few weeks.

Here's a general overview of the results. In the next blog post, I'll try to go into more of the specifics.

Here are the results of Question #1. Overall, it seems that respondents are pretty satisfied with us. We really appreciate all the love that this survey provided. It makes us feel great! BUT, the most important parts are how we can continue to improve and serve you even better, so that is what we've been focusing on.

Question #2 was about how often the respondents shop with us. The majority of respondents shop with us pretty frequently (THANK YOU!! We can't stay open without you!), but this was to be expected considering we promoted the survey on Facebook, Twitter, and at store events. The data is obviously skewed towards regular customers, and we realize that the results may not be completely representative of our entire customer population, but we still think that the data provides an excellent place to start thinking about future goals.

Question #3 asked about what respondents buy when they do shop with us. This again was pretty expected as these results follow our sales data pretty closely, with one major exception. We had a bunch of respondents say they buy role-playing games, and that is one of our lowest departments for actual sales. Very interesting. Based on gross sales data, role-playing games and Lego should be swapped. The main thing that I want our staff to remember is that all of our departments are important to the overall success of the store.

Question #4 was one of the most interesting to me. In it, we asked about 4 product lines that we brought in after our expansion in 2016. In later questions, respondents begged us not to get rid of MTG singles or Lego, but it's very interesting to us that the majority of people don't care if we keep any of them.

Partially based on this information, we have decided to try to more intensely focus on MTG singles and construction/engineering sets, and we will be carrying fewer science kits. This is mainly a space issue. We'd like to be able to display the Magna Tiles, Tegu Blocks and Keva planks better. With regard to MTG singles, we know that we can do better with regard to the product area, and we've had several meetings lately to discuss improving our services and product offerings. We've increased our buy list prices, and we've begun to more aggressively sell cards on TCG player online so that we can turn cards that don't sell in the store into money that can be used to buy more cards. Next month we are meeting with several software providers to see how we can improve the functionality of the in-store kiosk as well.

And, finally Question #5 asked what you'd want us to carry that we don't already have. Here a some specific responses to your feedback.

Puppies - No!

Keyforge - We carry it when we can get it. We currently have stock, and we are planning a sealed tournament on March 31. Register now. We are also accepting pre-orders for the next set.

More RPGs - We are working on this. We've already brought in some new inventory, and our RPG staff is meeting next week to discuss event planning and product management.

Bring Back Dex! - Done. I ordered a bunch of new deck boxes and binders this week. They should arrive today.

More Jigsaw Puzzle Brands - We are working on this, and we are ALWAYS getting new puzzles. We recently received a huge delivery from Galison, some of my favorite new puzzles. But we will keep trying to get even more.

Go Boards and Go Stones - We have these. If you want something else, please let us know.

Diet Soda - Probably not going to happen. If we add food or drink, it exponentially increases the regulatory requirements with which we must comply, including the bag tax. Plus, there is a 7 Eleven a couple doors down, and we really couldn't compete. And, space.

Labyrinth-themed accessories - New shirts are on their way!

Warhammer - We discussed this yesterday in the staff meeting. We may try to get in some of the self-contained games, but due to space restrictions and limited ability to hold events, we will not be going deep into Warhammer in the near future. Whenever we've tried to carry it in the past, it simply hasn't sold well for us, and we feel that if we don't have the space to dedicate to supporting events, we can't really be successful with this line.

Additional Pokémon inventory - We are constantly bringing in new Pokémon products, and Arsenio (aka Professor Spruce) has tons of plans to increase both product and events. Stay turned.

There were many other recommendations, and there's a lot more data to get through. We are considering everything! We'll try to post more next week. Again, thanks for your feedback, and please always feel free to tell us how you feel or how we can do better.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

What's New at Labyrinth 2/15/19

What's New at Labyrinth: 2/15/19
Welcome back, everyone. We've got a whole new lineup of stuff to show you, so here goes:

Troika & Zogen
We've gotten in two new games from Oink Games, makers of standout hits Startups and A Fake Artist Goes to New York. Troika is a game of space and strategy. Gems of incomparable value have been discovered on a distant world, and you've rushed over to grab your share. Unfortunately, you used all your fuel; fortunately, these gems can be turned into starship fuel! Balance your greed with need, or else you'll end up the richest corpse in the galaxy. Zogen, in contrast, focuses on a world in minature: the microscopic world of microorganisms. Players race to play out their hands, and only the swiftest evolution will see you to victory. 

Megaland is a push-your-luck game set in a retro-inspired videogame world. Players dive into levels together, splitting loot and bowing out when the risk grows too great. If you escape, you can spend your spoils on upgrades, but if you push yourself too far you'll die and lose everything! Chose wisely and live on the edge with Megaland.

In 1570s China, at the height of the Ming Dynasty, the Longqing Emperor ascends to a throne in turmoil. Seeing the corruption of the court, he embarks upon a campaign of eradication, harshly outlawing bribery. But the canny bureaucrats who ran the empire soon found a way around the restrictions: The unequal exchange of "gifts", a practice known as Gugong. In the game, players take the role of officials seeking to climb the bureaucratic career ladder. Travel the land collecting taxes, maintain the Great Wall, and trade "gifts" to get things done. Climb high enough and you may claim the greatest possible honor: a personal audience with the Emperor himself!

Reyholt is the latest worker placement game from the absurdly prolific Uwe Rosenberg. Set on the frigid isle of Iceland, Reykholt has the players take advantage of the island's geothermal energy to grow fruits and vegetables wildly out of sync with the northern climate. Develop your greenhouse and grow the right crops to win!

Hokkaido, sequel to Honshu, is a map-building game set in the beautiful northern island of the same name, the northernmost island of Japan. Players carefully construct their territories out of interlocking and overlapping terrain cards. Secure yourself the most valuable plot of land in Hokkaido to win! 

Bumuntu is a game of careful strategy and wisdom, based on the folktales of the Bakongo, the largest tribal group in Central Africa. The spirits of the animals are wise teachers, and if you follow their advice by mimicking their movements they'll grant you the knowledge to either improve your movements or hinder your opponent's. Whomever can prove themselves the wisest human, by gaining favor and collecting sacred statues, wins!

Legend of the Five Rings: Children of the Empire
Children of the Empire is the newest premium expansion for the Legend of the Five Rings LCG. It is a time of great turmoil in the Emerald Empire. The traditional balance between the great clans is breaking down, and dark forces long dormant have begun to stir. Into this chaos, the Emperor himself releases a monumental edict, one that will fundamentally change Rokugan forever. Children of the Empire shakes up the meta game with a whole new set of cards and mechanics, including the new Composure keyword. Master crisis to find victory with this stunning new expansion.

The Great City of Rome 
The Great City of Rome is a game of reconstruction and glory. After a grand fire destroyed most of Rome, the Emperor has summoned the greatest minds from around the Empire to assist in the reconstruction. Compete with your colleagues for building permits and the Emperor's favor. Only the greatest builder of the Great City can clam the laurels of victory.

Layers is a fun and detailed pattern-crafting game where speed and a sharp eye are needed to succeed. Players race to fulfill challenge cards by layering special cards with cutouts in the center, overlaying different apertures to match the pattern on the card. Fun for all ages.

Republished after a long run is the classic game Downforce, set in the high-stakes world of experimental race cards and the wealthy patrons who wager on them. If you're looking for a streamlined game of hand management, auctioneering and high-stakes betting, you can do no better than Downforce. We also have the Danger Circut Expansion!

And that's all for this week. Check back in next week for more What's New at Labyrinth!