Beignets & Boardgames — Preview of Moonshine Run coming to Kickstarter in June

(Editor’s note: We thank A Madman Or Two Games for providing us with a preview copy of Moonshine Run. The artwork, by Starcat Games, is presented here with permission of Zack Ringler. Here’s Bradly with the preview:)Webbed.jpg

Recently the Krewe de Gumbo got their hands on a game going up on Kickstarter on June 6, 2017 called Moonshine Run.

Developed by Zack Ringler from A Madman or Two Games, Moonshine Run is a card driven, push your luck game where you are attempting to get your white lightning down from the mountains where it is made into town where it can be sold.

PrintThe game itself is simple and has a small footprint. Essentially, it is a deck of cards which includes a round tracker and a turn order card for each player, alongside a collection of markers denoting money, and a rule book. Each round players will draw a card from the top of the deck equal to the round they are in (so 1 card for round 1, 2 for round 2, etc). Players then get the option to buy additional cards from the deck; one card for one dollar (and you start with $10). Cards drawn from the deck, whether free or bought, are placed face down in front of the player who drew them in the order they were drawn.

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Someone pushed their luck too far?
That is when the push your luck element comes in. The cards in the main deck come in several flavors. There are stash cards, hazards, quality cards and item cards.

 

XXX Quality x4
An example of the artwork from the “quality” cards
Stash cards are ultimately how you earn money. Each card is a representation of the moonshine you are trying to sneak past the police. You will earn money depending upon how much moonshine you can safely transport to town without getting caught. Hazards are things like the police stopping you on the road, rival moonshiners looking to steal your stash, or even something as simple as a fallen tree.

 

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The ole Tommy Gun…
Quality cards change the value of your liquor when you sell it. They can either make it more valuable, or less. And finally item cards come in several types, like the Tommy Gun
which either lets you fight off Rival Moonshiners or attack other players and steal their stash.

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Is that a place to stash some booze?
The game play is easy to pick up. One by one, on their respective turns, the active players will reveal the cards in front of them, each time deciding if they are happy with what has been revealed already, or if they are going to risk the next turn of the line up. The round continues until a player either chooses to stop, reveals all of their cards, or runs into something that ends their turn.

 

Round Tracker
Handy turn order card
For a push your luck game, Moonshine Run is both entertaining and small enough that you can have it on you for quick filler games. Most of the problems the Krewe had revolved around the quality of the copy we played, but that is likely due to the fact that we had a review copy. There were some places we saw where definitions of rules could be better or organized in a better manner, but we are hoping that ultimately these minor glitches will be fixed in the actual production copy.

 

The game was fun for all of us that tested it, and not surprisingly, many of the Krewe wanted to purchase a copy for themselves as soon as it comes out especially if the production quality is increased.

Look for it on Kickstarter on June 6, 2017.

 

Aliens (not yet) Among Us — A Preview of Alien Artifacts from Portal Games

One of the scheduled releases for Gen Con 2017 is ‘Alien Artifacts’ from Portal Games, a 4X card game of interplanetary domination designed by Marcin Senior Ropka and Viola Kijowska. I got my hands on this beauty at BGGCON 2016 and thought I’d share how the game works and my initial impressions.  Please bear in mind that this is still a prototype and although it seems that the core mechanics are fully developed, there is sure to be some alteration to the game by the time it releases next year.

Alien Artifacts primarily runs off of a single deck of cards.  Each player will draw multiple cards a round, and each card will have a number from 1 to 4 on them.  These numbers are only used during combat or when other special effects require them.  Mostly the cards are used for the symbols on them.  There are four colored symbols; blue, red, green, and yellow, and each card will have two sets of symbols of up to 3 symbols each.  For instance, a card might have 2 green symbols and 3 red symbols.  Each run through of the deck constitutes a single year of the game; for the demo we played through 2 years but there were tiles for Years 1-5 available, so I’m assuming a full play of the game would be a full 5 years.

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Players begin Alien Artifacts by selecting one of the galactic corporations.  Each corporation plays similarly except for their starting technology (this may have just been for demo purposes).  Corporations have several statistics that they can raise throughout the course of the game.  They are: Assembly (green), Production (blue), and Storage (yellow).  Assembly is how many cards you can assign a turn, Production is how many cards you draw a turn, and Storage is how many cards you can bank total.  You can upgrade each statistic in two different ways.  One, all statistics can be upgraded by paying a certain number of credits.  Each statistic can also be upgraded by completing certain milestones.  For Assembly, you automatically upgrade it for completing a certain number of technologies, while Production upgrades based on your combat power and Storage upgrades when you explore planets.

The game essentially runs off of a single deck of cards (some 200 of them for the purposes of the demo).  Each turn, a player either draws as many cards as his/her Production allows, or takes another action available.  The additional actions include claiming a planet, beginning a new technology, upgrading one of the three statistics with stored credits, or buying a ship.  If you decide to draw cards from the deck, you then have to assign them.  Cards have 2 sets of symbols each, either being Blue (used for research), Red (used for Combat), Green (used for Exploring), or Yellow (wild cards that can be used for anything).  You can assign these cards to those purposes, remembering that you are limited in the number of cards you can place by your current Assembly and you can only place to one effect a round (for instance, if you had an Assembly of 2 you couldn’t place one card for technology and another for exploring.  They would both have to be placed to the same effect).  

You also have the option of storing the cards as credit, selecting one color and storing the cards as credits, one for one, based on the number of icons that match that color (so if you stored a card with 2 green symbols and another card with 3 green symbols, you would have a total of 5 credits scored).  Stashing cards for credits in this way is not limited by your Assembly score.

image02Cards assigned for combat (red) must be placed under a ship that you control.  Each player begins with a single Freighter that can have a total of one card placed under it.  Additional ships can be bought from a shared pile of 4 different types of ships.  Each player may own only one ship of each type and the ships get more expensive the longer you wait to buy them.  The first player to buy the Mothership pays only 10 credits for it, while the next player must spend 12.  The Mothership can hold an impressive 4 combat cards under it while also granting an innate 3 combat power, and grants additional victory points is fully equipped at the end of the game.

Cards assigned for technology (blue) go under a specific technology, and technologies are completed once you have a specific number of symbols assigned to them.  Technologies come in 4 different types; Blue (Expand), Green (Explore), Red (Exterminate), and Yellow (Exploit).  Expand technologies typically either make your technologies stronger or easier to complete.  Explore is the same for planets (one green technology might give you the ability to assign both green and red symbols to exploring planets).  Red technologies affect combat, while Yellow technologies change fundamental rules of the game for you alone.  For instance, one of the yellow technology cards that I got let me copy one of my opponents’ technologies.

image05As well as the decks of ships you can buy, there is also a deck of planets.  There are always two planets showing from this deck, and a player can, as their turn, claim one of those planets instead of drawing from the main deck on their turn.  Planets require Green (explore) symbols to complete, but once you do they grant you a one-use power.  Some may allow you to buy ships at a discounted rate, and some let you search for Alien Artifacts (which consists of drawing the top card of the main deck and gaining a number of Victory Points equal to the card’s numerical value).

Attacking other players is also a possibility in Alien Artifacts.  To do so you first have to draw one of the combat cards from the deck during your draw phase.  Drawing these cards is the only way to attack other players during the game and they are fairly limited in number.  Once you attack an opponent both he and you draw a card from the top of the main deck and add it to your combat power (your combat power being a total of the red symbols assigned to your ships).  If you have the most combat power after drawing, you steal a victory point from your opponent.  If they have the most, they effectively fight off your attack and your turn is over.

I enjoyed the games I played of Alien Artifacts, but by no means do I think it’s perfect.  The game is so far along already, however, that I have high hopes for it when it releases at next year’s Gencon.  Personally I would like to see something done with the combat system to make it more interactive.  As it stands now all you do when you attack is draw a card from the main deck and compare combat strength.  Since the cards in the main deck only go from 1 to 4 that means if you attack someone with fewer than 4 combat strength than you have it’s an automatic win.  I’m also not a huge fan of the Alien Artifacts powers of the planet deck.  Again, when activating these powers all you do is draw a card from the main deck and gain Victory Points from it.  I’d much rather see a separate deck for the Alien Artifacts that include unique bonuses as well as negative effects such as aliens assaulting your company.  That would add a sense of uncertainty to completing a planet that grants an Alien Artifact, and would allow for the artifacts to be slightly more powerful than their current state.

Ultimately ‘Alien Artifacts’ provides a 4X experience, similar to Eclipse, in a card game that takes less than an hour to play.  If they’re able to add a little more flair to the game in the next few months, then I foresee it being a massive success for Portal Games.

— Bradly @BradlyBillingsl

 

Gen Con Preview 2016!!

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What is the largest board game convention in the entire western hemisphere (and arguably in the world?) GEN CON of course!

The Krewe Capitain at Board Game Gumbo has some tips for you…your guide to the best games debuting at Gen Con 2016.  We could also call this list “The Top Five Games I Don’t Want You to Purchase” because I don’t want the publishers to run out before I get there on Friday!

1. SeaFall — Yes, the wait is finally over! pic3002143_md From Rob Daviau, the designer of Pandemic Legacy and Risk Legacy (among tons of other games) comes the highly anticipated legacy game that is all about exploring an uncharted ocean, and battling for the lands and treasure you find with up to three other  players. Poo-yie! I doubt that there will be any left on Friday afternoon when I get there, and you can always pre-order them from the Plaid Hat Games website, but boy does this one look good.

I have played a few campaign games (most notably the D&D series) but have yet to try a legacy style game. I tired out on Risk way back in my youth, and couldn’t find anybody psyched enough to try Pandemic Legacy. But this SeaFall looks like it hits all of the markers for both my family and my game group. Five cayenne peppers on the Gumbo hotness scale.

2. Oceanos — One of my favorite designers is Antoine Bauza, the designer of 7 Wonders, Takenoko, Tokaido, Hanabi, and many, many more.pic2897710_md Antoine brings a new take on card drafting with what looks like gorgeous components and fun game play. Gotta try this one out.

I love the games I have purchased from Iello, heck Steam Park is one of my all time favorites. I am assuming that the game company will also do right by a designer of Bauza’s stature. Four cayenne peppers on the Gumbo hotness scale.

3. The Networks — Gil Hova is an interesting designer, and I just love the theme of this one. pic2896170_mdForget your tired Trading-Zombies-in-the-Mediterranean-Space-Fantasy themes — Let’s run a television network! This game looks like a cross between the movie UHF and a typical Euro, but the artwork and the theme draw me in like a moth to the campfire. Plus, Gil Hova seems like an earnest, nice guy, hard working designer on all the board game media he appears, so I am rooting for him on this one.

The only downside? The hype has been building since Origins, and I am afraid it is going to sell out! Stay away! Four cayenne peppers on the hotness scale.

4. Simurgh — You like worker placement? You like good art? You like dragons? Have I got a game for you! pic2604563_mdOkay, I know this is a 2015 release, but I don’t think it ever made it to American shores or USA consciousness until this year. So, I am sticking with this pick.

I really got interested when I saw Tony (the other guy from Rolling Dice and Taking Names podcast) posting pictures of the game play at Mega Moose Con. The RDTN boys seemed to talk it up a lot in their last cast, so let’s try it out.

Three cayenne peppers on the hotness scale.

5. Arcane Academy — you want to talk long waits, how about the loooong wait for this gem from the hit duo of Eric M. Lang and Kevin Wilson?pic2965189_md That’s right, these two giants have teamed up for a game that has Tom Vasel drooling in anticipation. (That’s good enough for me!) Three cayenne peppers on the hotness scale.

LAGNIAPPE: can’t leave a blog post about Gen Con with out a little something extra! Go by the Blue Orange booth and check out the new promos and expansions for NY1901. That is the game designed by Chenier LaSalle that I voted for best family game of 2015. It has been sorely needing some goodies, and it looks like the folks at BO have some great stuff. All I ask: just PLEASE leave me a set of minis?!?!?

How about some runner ups? There’s plenty to choose from, but I plan to check out:

Imhotep

Karuba

Rails and Sails for Ticket to Ride

Cry Havoc

Adrenaline

Islebound

Scythe

Dastardly Dirigibles

Legendary Encounters: Firefly

Isle of Skye
Hope to see you at Gen Con! Until next time, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

B.J.