Fantasy Flight Brings Us a New LCG: Warhammer 40K

24 03 2014

WH40KCoverThe LCG model must be paying off for Fantasy Flight because they’ve just announced a brand-new one…

Read the rest of this entry »

What You Missed…

22 03 2013

planklogoA fun week here at TOG. Thanks for joining us; here’s what you might have missed.

AEG announced they’re bringing the surprise Essen hit Trains to the US.

We reviewed the classic card game filler Coloretto.

Then we had the opportunity to bother the gracious Eric Lang for another interview. Now with 100% more Monty Python!

And finally, we brought you Walk The Plank!, a new Kickstarter project from a couple of Firestone’s pals.

Next week, we’ll be reviewing The Great Heartland Hauling Co., and bringing you more news, reviews, interviews, and shampoos nevermind…we’re both bald. Thanks for reading!

Another Interview With Designer Eric Lang

20 03 2013

cropped-Eric-Head-ShotWe’re glad to welcome back to TOG Eric Lang, game designer extraordinaire, to chat about some of his upcoming projects, the latest Star Wars The Card Game news, and much more!

Eric, so glad we didn’t scare you away the first time; thanks for coming back!

WHAT?! Oh, sorry. You frightened me there.

So, from the looks of your twitter account @eric_lang you’ve been doing some serious game design work away from home. Tell us a little bit about where you were and the project(s) you’ve been working on?

I’ve been in my comfort zone for the year, at all times juggling 2-4 games in various stages of completion. Two of them are currently in post-design, and ready for announcement within the month.

So, in total, how many projects have you had your hands on since we last talked?

Seven, I think? Maybe? It’s hard to keep track. Some games are ongoing developments, others are near-completion, and yet other ongoing games are in publishers’ capable hands but still need attention (like Star Wars LCG and Quarriors).

Via Twitter you’ve given each of your projects their own code name. You said several weeks ago that “Project Phoenix” is heading to production; can you tell us more about the game, who is publishing the game, and when we can expect to see it hit the shelves?

It will be published by Cool Mini or Not, and my producer is the extraordinarily talented David Preti (from Dust Games). They will be announcing it soon. I wish I could tell you more, because this is a game (and original IP) I’ve been working on for a long time.

How often do you leave town to get work done? Do you make the same pilgrimage every year, or do you travel to other places around the world? If so, what’s been your favorite place to work so far?

I generally get work done at home, actually, and travel for inspiration or to crunch on administrative or production deadlines, which are easier on-site with publishers.

I love Brazil for the climate, the gamers, and the food. Singapore for the space-age lifestyle, the gamers, and the food. Malaysia for the gamers, the amazing islands, and the food. Minnesota for all my longtime friends, and the food. There’s a general food theme.

kaosballYou said that “Project Phoenix” is something you’ve wanted to do for a long time; where did the idea first come from, and how did you get it to production?

Project Phoenix is a game I’ve wanted to do for about five years. It is a hybrid of two genres I really enjoy in gaming (which I sadly can’t talk about until the announcement). The nucleus of the game coalesced while I worked on other games, but crystallized when I met with David Preti in Brazil and pitched the basic concept. He said, “We’re making this game,” immediately, and then asked me for an IP to go with the game. I built the foundation of this world over a weekend, and we worked together to flesh it out (me on world details, he on visual direction).

We’ve also heard that your funding a project through Kickstarter, what can you tell us about that, and when will we see it over on KS?

I actually have four projects, with various publishers, slated for Kickstarter this year. Unfortunately I can’t talk about any of them 😦

Since we last spoke with you, Star Wars The Card Game was released; we’ve enjoyed the base set and are looking forward to the multiplayer expansion. What can you tell us about the multiplayer experience?

Sadly, nothing of substance (NDA, as you’d guess). I can say that multiplayer completes the core vision I had for the game.

The idea of having multiple players team up against a single dark side player is really making me kind of giddy! And it seems that you had this in mind all along. Is there a reason the multiplayer expansion is delayed, or wasn’t a part of the base set?

It was part of the game’s DNA from the start, but we realized during development that it would take a significant chunk of the core set’s card pool to execute as fully as we wanted. And we wanted to maximize variety in objective sets for regular play, both because variety is good and this game was experimenting with a new deck-building philosophy, so we wanted to give it breathing room.

It didn’t take long to realize we could easily take the multiplayer component and expand it even further if we made it a deluxe expansion box. Expect some surprises!

QuartifactsWe’re both pretty big fans of Quarriors, is there any news of what’s coming down the line for that title?

The Quartifacts expansion is coming soon, which adds quests—an entirely new play pattern—to the game. Beyond that, they announced the exciting “Light and Dark” expansion that Mike and I finished a few months ago, so it won’t be coming for awhile.

We got the press release from Wizkids about Train Stations. There’s scant information so far, but the description reads like a standard pickup-and-deliver-type train game—but then we noticed it comes with 50 custom dice… Is this some sort of Quarriors/Age Of Steam mashup, or what?!

There are lots of dice, but the game is nothing like Quarriors. It’s more of a risk management game with a ton of player interaction (with mild cooperative elements, even though there is only one winner). I designed this game as an homage to Sid Sackson, one of my favorite designers, and even though it shares no mechanics with his games, my guiding process during design would often be to ask myself, “What would Sid do?”

Are there any other new and exciting projects that you can tell us about?

Absolutely! I am working on two games with my good friend and awesome designer Kevin Wilson, codenamed Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The games are not related; the codenames symbolize something else (shhh). One is a really fun little strategy game that “scratches your OCD itch” and the other is an intense psychological social game dripping with warped theme. Both are based on really cool existing IPs, and will be out later this year.

Last year I finished design on a risky but really compelling game that adds a new twist to a classic genre. I call it Project ZOMG, and have described it as a “youthful power fantasy come to life.” This one will be announced by a major publisher shortly. I can’t wait to talk more about it.

Finally, I started work on another big game for FFG. This one won’t be out for awhile, but the initial design is already mostly done, and I’ve scoped out some crazy ambition. One thing I can say is that I love how FFG is a big game company and still likes to take risks and try new ideas.

Here’s another round of 1-word questions!

2861869-monty_footFavorite Monty Python member?

The Foot

Kirk or Picard?


Favorite Star Wars film?

Empire (obviously!)

Bill S. Preston esq. or Ted Theodore Logan?


Favorite comic book hero?


Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us!

Thank you! Fun questions as always.

Update: Shortly after we finished this interview with Eric, Cool Mini or Not leaked some info on the Project Phoenix game, which is Kaosball. From Eric’s Web site:

“Kaosball is a fantasy sports game based on modern world pop culture. It has a different approach than most sports games, using card play rather than standard miniatures style simulationist rules for resolving conflict. There’s luck and variance, to be sure, but key skills like bluffing and reading your opponent enhance the drama and can turn the tide.

The sport (a 2-4 player cross between rugby and domination-style e-sports) is designed from the ground up to play well as a team management board game focused on special powers and their interactions. It’s bloody and lethal; in fact, kills help your overall score! Four teams come in the core set, but I have already designed over a dozen more.

More details and blog updates to follow over the next few weeks. I have been waiting a very long time to talk about this game!”

We can’t wait to hear more about all of the games Eric is juggling right now. Thanks, Eric, for the interview, and thanks to you for reading—and please check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Wizkids Announces a New Quarriors Expansion

6 02 2013

quartifactcoverAlright you dice-rolling fans…Wizkids has a new expansion on the way, and it looks fun, fun, fun.

According to Wizkids, “In Quarriors! Quartifacts – the fourth expansion set for the Quarriors! dice-building game – all of Quaxos’ magical items have gone missing and you, mighty Quarrior that you are, must take it upon yourself (with the help of your trusted Squire) to find them!

Quest cards are available in the Wilds for you to send your Creatures to capture the all-new LARGER Quest dice that wield unimaginable power. (No, seriously, we have no idea what these things do.) Quarriors! Quartifacts includes five new Creatures and two new Spells, in addition to a new Basic card (the Squire), twelve Quest cards, and six Quest dice.”

Image from BGG user gladpanda

Image from BGG user gladpanda

So it comes with bigger dice (!), and some pics from the Nurnberg Toy Fair show that they’re including a non-winding score track, too. Now if we could just get them to include some decent individual players boards…

At any rate, we’re excited to hear about this, and when we get a chance to give a whirl, we’ll let you know what we think.

Thanks for reading, and as always you can find and even “Like” us on Facebook. And over on Twitter too!

Wizkids Posts an Overview of The Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game!

17 01 2013

51MK0L72dqLWizkids has posted an overview for their newest dice-building title: The Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game. If you’re a fan of Quarriors, chances are you’re going to want to look into this title as well. The game is said to have a similar feel to the game play of Quarriors, but also contain a few new elements to make it a fresh experience for everyone—including the fact that it’s a co-op. And of course, the way-cool Lord of the Rings theme!

The co-op aspect sounds pretty cool. The overview describes it this way: “Players alternate taking turns for Sauron and his forces. Sauron’s forces are represented by three sets of “Enemies” dice. Early in the game, players will face the likes of Goblins and Trolls with The Fellowship of the Ring Enemies dice. As players progress in the game, they will encounter tougher foes such as Wargs, Mumakil and Nazgul with The Two Towers Enemies dice & The Return of the King Enemies dice. If players are not able to defeat all of Sauron’s forces before his next turn, they may not advance to the next stage and Sauron gains corruption. Corruption is spread onto the cards on the playfield making the dice associated with these cards useless while corrupted. If too many cards are corrupted, Sauron has conquered Middle-earth and all players lose the game.”

You can read our full review of Quarriors here.

While the preorder on Amazon claims that the release date is Feb. 28 of 2013, Wizkids is saying March. At any rate, you can pre-order it on Amazon RIGHT HERE!lotr-article-main6a

Star Wars The Card Game Videos Are Up!

10 12 2012

box-SWLCG-leftAs if we weren’t already excited about Star Wars The Card Game, Fantasy Flight just posted five tutorial videos that give you a good idea how the game will play—and make you drool in excitement.

Looks pretty fun! Hopefully at least one of us will get this for Christmas, and we’ll give you a report ASAP.

You can check out our interview with designer Eric Lang right here, or go watch the tutorial videos right here!

Thanks for reading!

What you missed

23 11 2012

Well, even though it’s a holiday week, we certainly didn’t slow down! Here’s a full recap of all thing TOG this week!

Monday – we brought you the first installment of our 2012 Christmas Holiday Gift Guide!

Tuesday – Firestone reviewed Star Wars: X-Wing the miniatures game

Wednesday – Speaking of Star Wars, we interviewed the one and only Eric Lang, designer of Fantasy Flight’s newest Living Card Game, Star Wars The Card Game! You can read it right here.

Thursday – We gave thanks.

Friday – We brought you our second installment of the 2012 Christmas Holiday Gift Guide: Family Games!

Thanks so much for reading; check back next week for more news, reviews, interviews, and more great gift ideas for the gamers in your life!

An Interview Eric Lang – Designer of Star Wars The Card Game

21 11 2012

Eric Lang is the designer of the long-awaited Star Wars The Card Game, which will soon be released by Fantasy Flight Games.

Eric, thanks for taking some time to chat with us.

Thanks for having me!

First I just have to ask: When Star Wars The Card Game was first announced, Lucasfilm was still owned by George Lucas, and there was no hope—or even an expectation—for new Star Wars films. What’s your take on the Disney purchase, and the forthcoming films?

I am crazy excited. I was as surprised by the announcement as everyone else, but it took me only a few seconds to process … and I must admit that I did a little Snoopy dance.

Pixar, of whom I’m a giant fan, runs deep in Disney’s DNA. And the thought of new Star Wars movies with that kind of talent at the helm makes me so happy. When I read that Michael Arndt was writing Episode VII … be still my heart!

How did you first become interested in gaming? And when did you start designing games?

I’ve been designing games since I was playing them as a kid with my grandmother in Germany. It started out by modifying mass market Pachisi and Stratego clones, then I got into RPGs in high school and never looked back. When Magic: the Gathering hit in 1993, after one game I was determined to do this for a living.

My first published credit was for FASA’s Shadowrun CCG (playtest and development) back in the mid-90s, and I’ve been designing full-time since 2001. I’ve designed games for a number of companies including Fantasy Flight, Wizards of the Coast, Wizkids, Mattel, Alderac Enterainment, and Z-Man Games.

Your game design resume is quite extensive; do you play a game regularly after you’ve completed it? What are some of the titles you still go back and play? Or do you move on to the next design?

Time is my enemy, and many of my own games are of the “lifestyle” sort (like FFG’s Living Card Game series). I wish I had more time to play, but I do have decks for each of my LCGs ready to go. I play Warhammer: Invasion more often than most, due to its speed of play and my short attention span.

What are some of your favorite board/card games?

A short list would include: Cosmic Encounter, Magic: the Gathering, D&D, Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, El Grande, Heimlich & Co., I’m the Boss!, Crokinole, Geschenkt, and Nexus Ops.

The Lord of the Rings Dicebuilding Game uses some of the same mechanisms as Quarriors. How involved are you with the design of the LotR game, and can you tell us how it will be different than Quarriors?

Mike (Elliott) and I designed an early draft of the LOTR game, but were unable to finish it due to schedule issues. The published design (by Brett Myers and Jeph Stahl), is cooperative whereas Quarriors is competitive. It is also slightly more complex and focused on narrative, which offers quite a different experience even with shared mechanics. I think co-op players will really like it.

Star Wars The Card Game has been a long time coming; how involved were you with the first concept of the game? And how hard was it to scrap the whole thing and go back to the drawing board?

I was not involved in the first version at all. FFG made a really tough call going back to the drawing board, but I agree that it was the right one. I can’t speak to the decision process, but my own opinion was that there were some unsolvable long-term issues, and the inability for players to play the dark side, as compelling as Rebel co-op is, was really rough.

The original game had some real strengths, though, and you’ll likely see some of its influences in the current game.

Fantasy Flight has enjoyed the success of the “Living Card game” genre with several blockbuster titles (we’re BIG fans of The Lord of the Rings and Netrunner). What about Star Wars makes it stand out in the genre?

I think Star Wars is the first game to start deeply exploring what makes LCGs different from other customizable games.

The way you customize your decks is different from all other games; easy to simply jump into and play, but requiring a whole new way of thinking to really tune at a high level. I think both hardcore and casual players will enjoy this new approach, even if for different reasons.

I feel like this game captures the desperation of the Light Side and the monolithic but inertial drive of the Dark Side. I wanted to do this in a simple, intuitive way that did not bog the players down in rules exceptions, but rather let the game itself stand aside and allow card interactions to take center stage.

The gameplay is more hand management than straightforward resource management in most customizable card games. You are more focused on when and how to use your cards, than how to squeeze maximum value out of your board position. Combat is easy to grasp, but the way Edge battles work (combined with the card pool) add a psychological element that is sometimes game-defining, other times peripheral.

Overall, I feel as though the variance in gameplay in Star Wars is key. More than most card games, the same exact same two decks will play differently from game to game. All the game mechanics were designed to offer this experience.

Did Lucasfilm/Lucas Arts keep a close eye on the product and sign off on it?

Lucasfilm licensing worked closely with FFG on the game. They were really helpful with suggestions in the naming and flavor text department, too.

Did you get to meet George Lucas?

Sadly, no.

We found it interesting that the first cycle of Force packs is going to take place on Hoth; what made you decide to jump ahead to Empire, instead of working through Ep. IV first?

We wanted to make it clear right off the bat that we are not doing sequential releases, but rather “idea space” cycles. I pitched Hoth as an obvious first expansion, as it has a unique feel and milieu, and allowed us to create a nice set of cards that worked together while not reinventing the game right away.

I think it’s important for the first expansion of an LCG to deliver “more of the same, with a minor cool twist” (pun intended). Hoth’s place in the original trilogy fit that to a tee.

One Word (or Phrase) Response Section:

If you had a lightsaber, what color would it be?

The color of the sun.

If you could visit any place real or fictional, where would you go?

Mos Eisley

Favorite Quarriors creature?

Primoridial Ooze

Favorite cookie?

Mint Oreos!

Favorite author?

Oscar Wilde

You can follow Eric on Twitter @Eric_Lang.

Thanks, Eric, for the great interview. And thanks to you for reading; have a superb and game-filled Thanksgiving!

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