Days of Ire: Budapest 1956

It’s 1956, and waves of protest in Poland are once again showing cracks of the Eastern European communist bloc. Emboldened by these signs, students and intellectuals in Budapest, the Hungarian capital, organize a protest of previously unseen magnitudes. As the communist leadership sweeps in to kill the movement in its tracks a violent response is provoked, thus sparking the Revolution of the 23rd of October.

One player takes charge of the Soviet forces trying to shape the headlines to his liking and uses the militia and snipers of the State Protection Authority to stop the revolutionaries at all cost. The other player(s) (from 1-3 opponents) co-operatively play as the ringleaders of the revolutionary forces collecting resources (represented as icons on their cards) and recruiting other fighters to ensure the revolution’s events end up in favor of their side, while fighting off tanks and soldiers in this exciting, historically inspired card driven game.

Days of Ire: Budapest 1956 is played over seven days — the last week of October 1956. The Soviet commander plays headline cards at the beginning of every turn, gathering Command Points and triggering effects that sometimes help, sometimes hinder the revolutionary effort. This card-play, reminiscent of well-known card-driven wargames (CDG) such as Twilight Struggle or Labyrinth: War on Terror, is what drives the tempo and the strategic thrust of the game. The other player(s) form the revolutionary side. They collect cards and fighters for two reasons: to resolve events for boosts to their side, and to fight off militia, snipers, and Soviet tanks in a drastic fight for survival. They have to manage their positions while spreading across Budapest, carefully dividing their actions as a team and always keeping an eye on their morale lest they run out of cards. This team-playing aspect — reminiscent of highly successful cooperative games such as Pandemic — guarantees ease of access to players who would otherwise be more intimidated by a traditional CDG.

If any of the revolutionary ringleaders suffer too many wounds, or if they fail to resolve enough events by the end of the game, history changes and the revolution falls. But if they keep the streets of Budapest free from oppression, the revolution lives on, to fight another day.

Spyfall 2

Spyfall is a party game unlike any other, one in which you get to be a spy and try to understand what’s going on around you. It’s really simple!

Spyfall is played over several rounds, and at the start of each round all players receive cards showing the same location — except that one player receives a card that says “Spy” instead of the location. Players then start asking each other questions — “Why are you dressed so strangely?” or “When was the last time we got a payday?” or anything else you can come up with — trying to guess who among them is the spy. The spy doesn’t know where he is, so he has to listen carefully. When it’s his time to answer, he’d better create a good story!

At any time during a round, one player may accuse another of being a spy. If all other players agree with the accusation, the round ends and the accused player has to reveal his identity. If the spy is uncovered, all other players score points. However, the spy can himself end a round by announcing that he understands what the secret location is; if his guess is correct, only the spy scores points.

After a few rounds of guessing, suspicion and bluffing, the game ends and whoever has scored the most points is victorious!

Spyfall 2 features the same gameplay as Spyfall with two important changes: (1) Enough location cards are included that the upper player count is now twelve instead of eight, and (2) two spies can be found at each location, giving all of the non-spy players more of a challenge when it comes to tracking down who doesn’t belong.

The Lords of Rock

A game we Kickstarted! After many millennium of ruling the universe the various gods of the universe find their power diminishing. The gods came together and the ones with remaining power agreed to wage a battle for the control of the universe.

They realized the only way to do this was adapt to the modern age. They have agreed to a galactic battle of the bands. Battling across times and all over the world they agreed that the group with the most fans at the end of the tour will hold dominion over the universe.

You assemble a band of gods from the pantheons you can choose from. You plan Concerts to gain fans, rocking and rolling against each other to become the ultimate force in the universe.

Skull – Back in Print!

Skull is the quintessence of bluffing, a game in which everything is played in the players’ heads. Each player plays a face-down card, then each player in turn adds one more card – until someone feels safe enough to state that he can turn a number of cards face up and get only roses. Other players can then overbid him, saying they can turn even more cards face up. The highest bidder must then turn that number of cards face up, starting with his own. If he shows only roses, he wins; if he reveals a skull, he loses, placing one of his cards out of play. Two successful challenges wins the game. Skull is not a game of luck; it’s a game of poker face and meeting eyes.

Inis – Back in Print!

Inis is a game deeply rooted in Celtic history and lore in which players win by being elected King of the Island (Inis). Players can try to achieve one of three different victory conditions:

  • Leadership: Be the leader — i.e., have more clan figures than any other player — of territories containing at least six opponents’ clans.
  • Land: Have your clans present in at least six different territories.
  • Religion: Have your clans present in territories that collectively contain at least six shrines.

Over the course of the game, players also earn deeds, typically chanted by bards or engraved by master crafters, that reduce by one the magic total of six for any condition. While one victory condition is enough to claim the title of King, a game of experienced players usually has a tight balance of power, emphasizing the leadership of the capital of the island.

At the start of each round, players draft a hand of four action cards (with 13 action cards for three players and 17 for four players) during the Assembly. Action cards not played at the end of one season are not held for the next. Players also have access to leader cards for the territories that allow it and where they were elected leader during the assembly. Each Assembly reallocates those cards. Finally, they collect “epic tales” cards that depict the deeds of the ancient Irish gods and heroes, like Cuchulainn, the Dagda, Lugh and many others. These will be kept and used to inspire the clans and achieve extraordinary feats…under the right circumstances. The cards provide a variety of actions: adding clans, moving clans, building/exploring, and special actions.

Careful drafting, hand management, bluffing (especially once players understand the importance of passing their turn), good timing, and a precise understanding of the balance of power are the keys to victory. After a discovery game you’ll be ready for a full and epic game, where an undisputed will be king by the Assembly for his merit and wisdom.

While Inis has “dudes” that are “on a map”, it’s a beginner’s mistake to play this as a battle game because eliminating other clans reduces your chances of scoring a Leadership victory condition. Peace among different clans, with or without a clear territory leader, is the usual outcome of a clan’s movement. Battles will occur, of course, as the Celtic clans can be unruly and a good player will listen to his clan’s people (i.e., his hand of cards). That battle aspect is reflected in the clan’s miniatures representing warriors. Woodsmen, shepherds and traders complete the set of twelve minis for each player; these occupations have no impact on the game, but give it flavor.