Friday, January 31, 2014

New Arrivals This Week 1/28/14 to 2/3/14

by Becky "Sushi Layout" Topol

Tokaido: Crossroads is an expansion for the popular and gorgeous game of Tokaido. The base game is fast and easy to learn with some tactical choices to be made, and Crossroads adds a whole new level of strategic depth. Crossroads introduces many more choices and options along the way; players need not take the traditional option at each spot along the road. Every station on the Tokaido now offers two options for what you can do there, meaning that savvy players can make clever, tricky choices. Temples now offer lucky charms for sale which act as “take that” cards to be used against other players. Calligraphy cards introduce the game’s first secret objectives, and gambling is featured in the back rooms of inns. With six new playable characters and a deck of Legendary Objects thrown into the mix, Tokaido: Crossroads adds a slew of new options to this beautiful journey.

Numbers League: Adventures in Addiplication is a truly awesome math game for kids and adults alike. This superhero-themed game pits your super squad against the many villains who have overrun Infinity City. The trouble is that you have to assemble each member of your squad before they stand a fighting chance! The hero cards each feature a head, chest, or legs, all of which have different numbers on them. Once a hero has all three body parts, they’re ready to fight crime, but can only take down villains who are truly their numerical equal! Heroes may gear up with special tools such as multipliers, and can even band together to take down a baddie, with a three-point hero and a two-point hero adding their powers together to defeat a five-point nemesis! This game is tons of fun, while providing a real mental challenge for players of all ages. The energetic comic-book-style art is carried over into its three expansions, Infinity Level, Dinosaurs, and Critters, all of which add new options and challenges to the mathtastic game of Numbers League!

Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends puts you in control of a team of legendary beasts locked in battle in a magical arena. By creating the correct mystic patterns on the playing field, you can summon powerful monsters from one of three factions: Sylvans, Highland Beings, or Imperial Forces, each with their own particular strengths and tactics. Tash-Kalar contains two different play modes. In standard play, you aim to complete various goals set out by the arena masters, such a controlling different points on the board, destroying a certain number of enemy units, or performing a certain combination of summonings. In melee mode, however, your only goal is to entertain the crowd that has gathered to watch this magical battle. Destroy your opponents, make them beg for mercy, and of course, every crowd wants to see a dragon! With its huge variety and magical tactics, Tash-Kalar is the battle you’ve been waiting for!

Wasabi!, also known as Sushi! was originally published in 2008, and is now making its Labyrinth debut! A fun, speedy game, Wasabi! is great for the foodie in all of us. Each player begins the game with their secret sushi recipes tucked into a cool pocketed menu folder. Each turn is simple: a player lays an ingredient card onto the “kitchen” board, then draws another to replenish their stock. As soon as all the ingredients for a recipe are laid out in a line, the player with that recipe gets points, even if someone else put down the ingredient tiles! Special action cards allow aspiring sushi chefs to stack, switch, or change out ingredients, and of course, it always pays to serve your dish with style! Wasabi! is fast and simple, yet strategic, and makes a delicious dish for two to four players.

Along with these great new games, we’ve received a bunch of gorgeous new puzzles! With art ranging from classic to eclectic, there’s sure to be something beautiful to suit every puzzler’s tastes. We also now have new Knowledge Cards in the subjects of African-American History and Classical Music, as well as a Scratch-and-Solve Trivia book from Encyclopedia Britannica. For fans of classic trivia, our ever-popular Trivial Pursuit book is back on the shelves!

A ton of popular games are back in stock as well! Strategy games Sekigahara and Manhattan Project are here again, party games Snake Oil and Mascarade are back, and board game/RPG/storytelling mashup Tales of the Arabian Nights has finally returned! Of course, once you have all these games, they can be tough to store, so we got some Box Bands for you. These handy elastics are specially made to hold board game and card game boxes neatly closed so you never lose a piece. We’ll be selling them individually as well as in packs of six in various sizes!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

New Arrivals This Week 1/21/14 to 1/27/14

by Becky "Ready the Cannons" Topol

Pirate Dice: Voyage on the Rolling Seas is a light strategy game of high-seas adventure. Surprisingly, this marauding excursion is a descendant of RoboRally, with a similar movement-programming mechanic at its core, and of course, plenty of chaos. Pirate Dice, however, is quicker, simpler, and more compact than its predecessor. Players must use secretly-rolled movement dice to plan the route for their ship each turn, in attempt to reach the treasure before their opponents get there first! Of course, things are never so simple on the high seas. Treacherous currents, whirlpools, and hidden reefs can all force ships to stray from their path. And what are pirates without the great follies of violence and drink? Fire cannons at enemy ships to damage them, force them to drop anchor and skip a move, and if you can slip some rum to an enemy captain he’s sure to steer the ship wrong. Full of the chaos and treachery of piracy itself, Pirate Dice is perfect for captains who think they can out-shoot, out-maneuver, and out-plan their enemies!

The Small World 6 Player Board is, as its name suggests, a Small World board made for six players. As with the various boards included in the base game, this expansion board is balanced specifically for the appropriate number of players. However, this board comes with a twist: the players are now in teams of two! Each player gets their own Race and Special Power combo, but may openly discuss strategy with their teammate as they attempt to rule the Small World together. The set contains new rules, places, and a relic, as well as the additional tokens, markers, and coins you will need to accommodate six players. Plus, one side of the map has art matching the original Small World game, while the other side matches Small World Underground. So, no matter which Small World base game you have, the 6 Player Board will give you a whole new way to conquer the world!

Reverse Charades: Sports Edition is a new expansion for Reverse Charades which can also act as a stand-alone game. This mini set contains 110 double-sided cards, which bring 220 new sports-themed words to this crazy party game! As with the original game, only one member of the team doesn’t know what’s on the card, while the rest of the team must attempt to act it out for them. With cards ranging from Chess, to Calf Roping, to Body Odor, to Knife Juggling, this party game is sure to tickle sports fans of all kinds!

Another great new party game this week is 5 Second Rule. This is an essentially simple game of spitting out answers as fast as you can. Of course, there’s nothing like a time constraint to make such a simple task into a struggle. On each turn a card is drawn, and the active player must name three things that fit into the category on that card within the five-second time limit. The timer on this game really stands out; rather than a traditional sand timer, 5 Second Rule uses a group of metal marbles spinning down a spiral track. The marbles rattle audibly as they make their five-second journey, making it much easier for everyone to know when time has run out! With 576 categories including Dog Breeds, Hurricanes, Prime Numbers, and Ways to Cook Potatoes, 5 Second Rule is the perfect test of speed and brains for your next party!

Along with these great new arrivals, we are thrilled to say that Hanabi is finally back in stock! This amazing cooperative game has been totally sold out since it won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres prize late in 2013. This game relies on teamwork and communication, as all players attempt to collectively lay down their cards in the right order. Of course, things are made a little bit more difficult due to the fact that nobody can see their own cards! An awesome and original game, Hanabi has definitely earned its Game of the Year title!

Added to our Game Demo Library this Week: 5 Second Rule, Hanabi

Saturday, January 18, 2014

National Puzzle Day Celebration

by Becky Topol

We will be celebrating National Puzzle Day all day on Saturday, January 25. With great events for all ages, there’s sure to be a fun activity for all the puzzlers in your life!

First, we will be having a Make a Puzzle class for kids ages four to seven from 10am to 11am. Children will get the opportunity to learn about tangrams and jigsaw puzzles. Tangrams originated in China during the Song Dynasty, and consist of seven flat geometric pieces. Puzzlers are challenged to arrange these pieces, called tans, into specific shapes. Kids in our puzzle class will get to play with special felt sets of tangrams, and see what shapes they can make! They will also learn about classic jigsaw puzzles, and will get the chance to color and take home a jigsaw puzzle of their very own! Age-appropriate puzzle games will also be available for kids to play with and explore. The fee for this class is $5, and parents may either drop off their kids or stay and play. All children who wish to attend must be registered via our Eventbrite page, so click here to RSVP!.

From 12 noon to 2pm, there will be a puzzle class for all of our older puzzle fans! Everyone aged eight and up is welcome to come to this class and learn more about our favorite brain-teasing hobby! You’ll learn the history and math behind some popular puzzles, as well as making three puzzles of your own! Did you know the classic soma cube puzzle can be made out of LEGO bricks? This seven-piece puzzle seems simple at first, but can be made into a cube in over 200 different ways! You will be able to build your own soma cube, which can be made into countless different shapes by a puzzler clever enough to figure out how! You’ll also create your very own hexaflexagon: a brain-busting flip-flopping mathematical oddity made from a simple strip of paper. You can also build your own set of classic tangrams out of felt! Cost for this class is $5, and make sure you register for the class at our Eventbrite page by clicking this link!

Finally, our first-ever Jigsaw Puzzle Exchange will take place from 5pm to 7pm! All jigsaw puzzle fans know the old dilemma - once you solve a jigsaw puzzle you rarely want to do it again, but you also don’t want to throw away a cool puzzle! A puzzle exchange is the perfect way for tons of puzzlers to solve that problem, without losing any puzzles! Jigsaw fans are invited to bring pre-owned puzzles of 500 pieces or more to the exchange. Bring as many as you want, just be sure that you have all the pieces, and that they’re secured in a plastic bag inside the puzzle box. Everyone may leave with up to the number of puzzles they came with, while giving the gift of fresh jigsaws to other puzzle fans in the community! There will be a $5 fee per person to participate, and be sure to RSVP at our Eventbrite page by clicking right here!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Arrivals This Week 1/14/14 to 1/20/14

by Becky "Flying Forest Witch" Topol

Steam Park takes place in the coal-powered world of Roboburg, where the robot denizens are looking forward to visiting your amusement park! This management game features a mix of luck, careful planning, and frenzied dice-rolling that you hope will result in the symbols you need before your opponents get theirs. You try to build the best amusement park - meaning the one where patrons are willing to spend the most money - while also keeping the area clean and making sure you have enough room to build the right rides and attractions. The dice determine what actions you can take on a turn. Like in Escape, you can pick up dice and re-roll them until you get what you want, but in this case turn order is determined by how fast you finish rolling, and going earlier gives you and your park a big advantage. A fun, medium/lightweight game, Steam Park is packed with sturdy cardboard pieces featuring creepy-cute art in gorgeous pastels. The game also contains two sets of rules; one intended for beginner gamers, and another for more advanced board game fans. So come one, come all! Ladies, gentlemen, children, and robots of all ages! Test your luck and savvy in Steam Park!

True Colors is the latest data pack for the popular two-player card game of Android: Netrunner, and the fourth in the Spin Cycle. The pack brings in 60 new cards, adding in new layers of deception and bluffing. If you want to be successful as a Runner or Corp in Netrunner, you must balance three worlds: the physical, the virtual, and the world of public perception. True Colors brings cybercrime more fully into the public eye than ever before.

Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia has been in the store a few times since Christmas, but never for long enough to make it onto the blog! But fear not, it’s here again, and you can take the helm of your very own dystopian future. Falling somewhere between hyper-stimulated future of Brave New World and the constantly-surveilled vision of 1984, Euphoria posits a world where you manipulate your workers by using a combination of drugs, intimidation, and information control. Dice act as workers, and can be placed in various zones to complete different tasks. All this labor leads to money and resources with which you can buy new and better goods and artifacts. Of course, you can also benefit from the labor of your unwitting opponents if you play your cards right. With dice-rolling, hand management, and area control, this is a game for people who enjoy complexity. Euphoria is packed full of bits and pieces to facilitate its many interesting mechanics, and is a great option for players who enjoy complex games like Agricola and Le Havre.  What - and who - are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve Euphoria?

Breakin’ Atmo is an expansion pack for Firefly: The Game, featuring 50 brand-new cards. With 25 new Jobs in the exciting world of crimes like sabotage and thievery, you and your crew will have great new options to misbehave and get paid for it. The 25 Supply Cards allow your crewmates to gear up with shiny new doodads like a gentleman’s dueling sword, digital encyclopedias, and vehicle mounted blasters. Load up your new duds, and set out to find new jobs to keep you flying through the universe of Firefly: The Game.
Baba Yaga is the second in the “Tales and Games” series, following the clever dice-roller The Three Little Pigs. Baba Yaga is a fearsome witch-like character from Slavic folklore. She is said to live in a hut that stands on giant chicken legs, and fly around in a giant cauldron. In this game, players take the part of people who have managed to escape the clutches of Baba Yaga, and must make their way out of the forest to safety. In order to escape, you must search the forest for ingredients to three spells, all while Baba Yaga is hot on your trail. With a mix of speed, dexterity, and attention, players must flip over tiles in the hope of finding the ingredients on their spell card while Baba Yaga stalks along her forest path. While one player searches for ingredients, another must take the part of Baba Yaga, and decide whether they should move quickly to endanger the other player, or move more slowly so they can try to memorize ingredient locations. With large, solid cardboard tiles and a Baba Yaga piece shaped like a classic Russian nesting doll, or matryoshka, Baba Yaga is a quick game for two to six players who think they’re fast enough to escape the ogress of the forest!

Skull is an updated version of the bluffing game known as Skulls & Roses. The biker tattoo-style art is gone, replaced by a mix of Día de los Muertos sugar skulls and various styles of tribal art. It’s an unusual mix, but the effect is stunning. Each player chooses one color, or “tribe", with four discs each. Three discs for each tribe feature a beautifully-rendered flower, while the fourth has a skull. Players take turns placing these discs face down in front of them, until one player issues a challenge. The challenger must then flip over a number of tiles, hoping that they will not reveal a skull. If the player finds only flowers, they win the challenge, but if they reveal a skull, they fail and lose a playing disc. It only takes two successful challenges to win, but you never know when your luck may run out. Firmly rooted in analyzing other players’ behavior and keeping up a poker face, Skull is a game for the stony-faced who like playing with the minds of others.

Along with all of these new arrivals, Amerigo is back. Acclaimed for its specialized dice tower element, this game challenges you to sail the Atlantic in search of gold and glory!

Added to our Game Demo Library this Week: Mystery of the Abbey, Discworld, Catan Cities and Knights, Rivals for Catan, Yahtzee, Canasta, Deluxe Pit, Pop-O-Matic Trouble, Baba Yaga, Skull

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New/Back This Week 1/7/14 to 1/13/14

by Becky "Fearsome Aquatic Beastie" Topol

After the holiday rush, we’re focusing on refilling the empty spaces on our shelves! So this week, we’re mostly restocking some great games that we’ve been out of.

Tsuro of the Seas has been gone for a while, but is coming back just in time for its appearance on Wil Wheaton’s popular YouTube show, TableTop! A more complex version of Tsuro, this game has the same win condition: keep your piece on the board longer than anybody else. Tsuro of the Seas adds a new layer of challenge to the basic tile-laying mechanic, in the form of vicious daikaiju sea monsters! On your turn, you must not only place a tile to steer your ship, but you must also roll a die to determine the movement of the sea monsters on the board. Whatever they touch - be it a path tile, another daikaiju, or a ship - is removed from the board. This element of luck makes the game trickier and more unpredictable, especially as the daikaiju multiply!

We’re also happy to have Coup back in stock! This game of hidden roles, bluffing, and lying challenges you to survive a lightning-fast round of deadly court intrigues. Each secret identity comes with its own powers which you must use cleverly to gain as much influence as possible while assassinating your opponents. In the same gaming family as The Resistance, Mascarade, and Love Letter, Coup gives everybody a chance to backstab and murder their way to prosperity, all through the powers of deduction, dishonesty, and luck.

Party game Telestrations is coming back, and is great for any group gathering. Like the classic kids’ game of telephone, players try to relay a message from one end of the line to the other, but Telestrations requires players to alternate between drawing and writing the message they receive onto a whiteboard. Put your communications, interpretation, and drawing skills to the test in Telestrations!

King of Tokyo has been massively popular, to the degree that it is now out of stock at most suppliers and stores. Never fear though, we managed to get a shipment of the dice-rolling monster-fest in! There’s no telling when the game may be printed again, so if you’ve been looking for a copy, make sure to stop in soon before King of Tokyo disappears again!

Civilization-building game Eminent Domain takes place in the vast reaches of space, where you can attack and colonize enemy planets by building and using a deck of cards. Packed with gorgeous components, Eminent Domain challenges you to balance your efforts between war, research, and trade, yet remains quick to play and easy to learn.
We also got a big shipment of ThinkFun games, so we’re fully stocked with games like Cartoon It!, Roll and Play, Distraction, and Swish. A bunch of great new chess sets are in as well, including the gorgeous Taj-style sheesham wood chessmen.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Arrivals This Week 12/31/13 to 1/6/14

by Becky "More Wolves than Normal" Topol

Escape: Quest contains two new expansion modules for everyone's favorite frantic dice-rolling adventure game, Escape: The Curse of the Temple. The Quest module places strange new challenges into the temple, and players never know when they might be coming. Adventurers may have to face ghosts, steal gems from an ancient obelisk, or make offerings of gold to the Tree of Life. Character cards allow players to become one of six different characters, such as the Mechanic, Dark Priest, and Mentalist, each of which has its own unique abilities to choose from. These new expansions can be added to the base game on their own or together. Include previous Escape expansions for a truly wild adventure!

Kingdom Builder: Crossroads is a new expansion for the Spiel des Jahres-winning game Kingdom Builder. Crossroads introduces four new terrain types, two new locations, and Task cards, which add new ways to score along with the classic Kingdom Builder cards. There are also new location abilities, including the Warrior which prevents anyone from building nearby, the movable Wagon, Ships that can sail across the water, and City Halls that count as seven settlements. Introducing a slew of new challenges and options to the subtle, classic game of Kingdom Builder, Crossroads is a great addition for any board game fan.

The Three Little Pigs is a light dice game for players who like building as much as they like destroying. As we all know, little pigs love nothing better than building strong, wolf-proof houses, so players roll dice and attempt to collect symbols to trade in for doors, windows, and roofs for their homes. The more of each symbol you roll, the better the material you can use to build your new house, so you’ll want to push your luck and try to get strong brick instead of straw! However, some of the dice also feature Wolf symbols, and if you get two of those, you must choose another player and attempt to blow their house down! Allowing you to play as both hero and villain, The Three Little Pigs is a quick game of luck and strategy for all ages!

All kids love to imagine and play, but formal role playing games can often be too much for little ones to take on. Little Wizards is an RPG specifically designed for kids aged six through ten, as well as adults who want to share in the magic! Originally designed by Antoine Bauza, creator of award-winning games such as 7 Wonders and Hanabi, and updated for the English translation by Amanda Valentine, veteran of the Best Game ENnie Award-winning Dresden Files RPG system, this little game has a serious pedigree. Focused on imagination, storytelling, and cooperation, Little Wizards takes places on the two-sided planet of Coinworld. One side of the flat planet is beautiful and bright, while the other is dark and eerie. Players can explore both sides of this magical world, using their Body, Heart, and Brain traits to build magical characters. The game comes with three pre-made Tales that an adult Narrator can guide young players through in just an hour or two. A fun, explorational game for young role-players, Little Wizards opens the door to a magical world.

Wooly Bully is a tile-laying game with a strategic element and polka-dotted sheep. Each player is secretly dealt a color assignment along with a hand of playing tiles. Much like Carcassonne, players must place tiles such that the edges match up perfectly with any other tiles they touch. But unlike Carcassonne, players also get to draw several tiles each turn, allowing them to plan and strategize rather than relying entirely on luck of the draw. Players attempt to build enclosures that include as many sheep of their own color as possible. The enclosures can be made by placing fences, cities, or even forests, though there is a danger lurking: the Wolf may creep through the trees, and eat the sheep in the enclosures that touch it! Unless, of course, you have a hunter to protect your flock. Keep your color secret until the opportune moment to grab bonus points, and defeat  the Wooly Bully! 

When the designer of Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension came and demonstrated the game recently, every copy flew off the shelves! In Gravwell, your four spaceships have survived the passage through a black hole, but you have found yourself in a new dimension where gravity behaves in strange ways. Out of fuel, you and your opponents must draft cards to harvest basic elements from space dust and asteroids in an attempt to move your ships. Using this manufactured fuel and the gravitational fields of the objects around you, you must navigate back to the Warp Gate that will bring you back to your home dimension. Slingshot around the gravity of your opponents, as well as the wrecked ships that have tried this journey before, and be the first to make it back through the Warp Gate. Gravwell is a fast, easy-to-learn game for one to four players with the guts to brave the ninth dimension!
And after the holiday rush, we have a lot of re-stocking to do! Games returning to the store this week include: Trains, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Formula D, Mice and Mystics, Unspeakable Words, and Tammany Hall.