New products, new design features

Hi all,

You probably noticed by now that we’ve changed the way the site has been designed slightly. You’ll now be able to search for products using our drop down menu for manufacturers on the left. We’ve also shifted the pre-order and out of stock section out so that you can more easily get to it. Hope you like the design changes!

We’ve also recently placed a new order with our distributors which will be shipping out today or Monday. You’ll find a whole slew of new games added to the ‘out of stock’ section of the pre-orders because of this as we await these games to arrive. Some of them include former award winning games like Ark and Incan Gold. Also, we’ve got in 300 : the board game for those movie fans out there.

We expect to have the game here about a week from when the order ships. Our order of Shear Panic, Dragonland and a host of other popular games is also there, so for those of you looking to pick up those games, it’s on the way!

Products in-stock, pre-orders and Christmas season

Those of you who have been keeping close track might have noticed that there has been a slew of popular games coming back ‘in-stock’. Alison finished her run on Monday and has started mailing out all our pre-orders and any other orders that came in while she was away.

So expect to start receiving e-mails with your tracking number soon if you haven’t been contacted about your pre-order. Note that not this holds mostly for products that were out-of-stock – there are still some products that have you to be released on pre-order.

Also, our distributor didn’t have the full order of Seafarers and Cities & Knights of Catan that we made, and we’re awaiting word on when his next shipment is coming in. In there is a product that you wish to order, the safest thing is to enquire about availability from us if it is on pre-order. If we are able to get it in before Christmas, we’ll inform you and you can make a pre-order of it. This way, you will be guaranteed to receive it.

A clear example are all our Seafarer orders that went out – the limited stock that we received shipped to all our preorders.

We do apologise about the amount of product coming in and out of stock at the moment – between the Secret Santa orders and a substantial increase in sales from Christmas, we are finding it challenging keeping all our products in stock. We’re doing our best and hope you can bear with us. We’re committed to getting all orders that are possible shipped well before Christmas.

Next pickup and preordered products

Hi all,

As you might have noticed, quite a few products have moved into the ‘pre-order’ section. We’ve had a huge flurry of orders coming from the Boardgamegeek Secret Santa campaign, reducing a lot of our stock on some popular games.

We are already planning a trip down to the USA early next week (being that they are having their Thanksgiving holidays right now!) and should be restocking on the vast majority of these games. So please do not hesitate to contact us about any game that is in pre-order. We’ll be happy to tell you when we will have it back in-stock.

Top 10 Games under $25

Looking for a gift for Christmas? Well, here’s 10 card and board games that are under $25. All games chosen have great replay value and are stand-alone games requiring no additional expansions.

On that note, here’s our list:


(1) Carcassonne the Castle $17.95

Combining the popular Carcassonne tile-placement, follower-placement mechanic with Reiner Knizai’s genius has produced this exciting new edition to the Carcassonne series. Carcassonne the Castle places players in the city of Carcassonne itself, building and developing the castle and surrounding town. Boasting Carcassonne’s easy to learn mechanics and the deceptive strategic depth that Reiner Knizai brings to any game, this is a great gateway game.


(2) Shear Panic! $21.95

Games Magazines’ Best Family Strategy Game for 2008, Shear Panic! combines cuteness and strategy into one great gift! Players manoeuvre their sheep and the entire flock through the pasture, trying to avoid the shepherd in this award winning family board game.




(3) Mykerinos $21.95

Multiple award nominee Mykerinos is the game of Egyptian archaeology that takes only an hour but offers infinite replayability. Players take on the role of archaeologists and will have to balance their resources between the digs, their patrons and booking rooms at the Musuem.


(4) San Juan $20.95

San Juan is the successor to Puerto Rico in card format. Players travel to San Juan, taking on different roles as they produce and sell goods, looking to maximise their profits at the end of the game. A highly popular, portable card game, San Juan continues to top our best-sellers list.


(5) Zombies!!! $20.95

One of the most popular Zombies board games ever, Zombies!!! is a race to escape the ravaged city center as one of many ‘shotgun’ guys. You’ll take turns exploring the city and taking control of the Zombies to send them against your opponents. To survive, you’ll need ammunition, health and a lot of luck.


(6) Citadels $17.95

It’s good to be King! Except when the Assassin targets you. Maybe you should be a Merchant? But there’s a Thief lurking out there. Citadels is the game of city building and role-choice, where players choose a new role each turn to be as they attempt to grow their own district in the city. You’ll need to be careful though, there quite a few roles that directly target other players.


(7) Red Dragon Inn $24.95

Ever wondered why those adventurers were always raiding dungeons? Well, Red Dragon Inn lets you in on the secret as you play one of four adventurers as they drink, gamble and lose their hard earned gold in the Red Dragon Inn.. A fun, fast-paced card game for two to four players that’s a hit with any fantasy fans.


(8) Alhambra $24.95

Multiple award winner Alhambra is the quintessential city building game. However, in a complication there are four types of builders and four types of currencies that you’ll need, so players will have to balance what currencies they’re taking as well as the buildings. With multiple expansions already released, this is definitely a board game that will keep on giving.


(9) Lost Cities $15.95

Lost Cities is Reiner Knizai’s two player masterpiece of archaeology. In three rounds, players try to play or discard as many high scoring point cards as possible, but they’ll need to be careful to make sure their opponent doesn’t need the card. A must for any couple, it’s a fast-paced, two player game that will draw in anyone.


(10) The Good, the Bad and the Munchkin $19.95

The Good, the Bad and the Munckin is the latest instalment in the Munchkin series. Steve Jackson takes his wicked humour to the Wild West, firing off quips and puns with reckless abandon and not taking prisoners. A combination of easy to learn mechanics mixed with a co-operative/conflict ridden playstyle has made this series a sure-fire winner.


Games Magazine’s Game of the Year – Pillars of the Earth

Pillars of the EartGames Magazine’s has announced their list of the best board games for 2008.  And this year, Pillars of the Earth has won their prestigious Game of the Year.  Designed by Michael Rieneck and Stefan Stadler, Pillars of the Earth is based on Ken Follet’s best-selling historical fiction novel on the counstruction of Kingbridge Cathedral.  For those of you who haven’t read the book, it takes place over a span of years with a myriad of characters whose lives are intertwined with the cathedral’s stop-go constructionPillars of the Earth is a fast paced game of resource management and building that also won the Deutscher Spiele Preis in Germany, a prestigious award voted on by gamers in early September.

Other awards handed out for board games this year include:

Descent : Journeys in the Dark Board Game Review

Descent : Journeys into the DarkDescent : Journeys in the Dark is a board game of dungeon delving adventure. If you’ve played HeroQuest, you’ll know what we mean. The basic idea is that players take on the role of adventurers, journeying through a dungeon to fight monsters to complete their quest – most commonly to kill something. One player, the Overlord will attempt to thwart them. You could almost call it a game of Dungeons and Dragons without all the roleplaying but all the combat.

In that sense, Descent definitely does well. It’s certainly more complicated than HeroQuest, yet it keeps things relatively simple without making things too hard to get into. Overall, I find it a good balance of monster bashing and strategy.

Appearance: Graphics and art and the miniature models are all of good quality. The models, especially of the monsters, are well done and if not individualized, at least distinctive. The adventurers, since they are unpainted, are a bit more difficult to tell apart. Definitely would be improved with a lick of paint (by someone other than me. My last painting attempt turned gray to brown).

The box itself is just that a big box filled with the contents. No plastic inserts at all. With so many punch-outs and different types of tiles, you need a LOT of ziplock bags. I definitely would have thought putting a plastic insert in there to keep the items inside, especially for the cost of the game, would be minimal.

Also, did I mention there are a ton of punch-outs and tiles? There are tiles for rockfalls, for water, for pits, for potions, for poison markers, for stun markers, for actions, for the different familiars, for gold, for chests, for… you get the idea.

Rules / Ease of Learning: Rules for Descent are well laid out in a well written book. The only problem is that they can get a tad pedantic in there, but then again, I would rather have a rulebook written for the lowest common denominator than for experienced gamers. It leaves less to questions later on.

The gameplay is actually easy enough to learn, with rules split into two sections for the players and the overseer in the beginning. Interesting things that jump out of the rules:

  • Adventurers take their turn by decision, not in a pre-set manner
  • players can move, take and action, and continue moving
  • conquest tokens (a.k.a. ‘why won’t you just die’ tokens)
  • coloured dice that dictate damage, range and additional options via ‘power surges’
  • threat tokens that power the Overlord

Actual Gameplay: First thing that comes to mind about Descent – setup can take a long, long time. Putting the board together, setting the various tile that are needed aside, getting player to purchase all their items and get ready, etc. Without proper plastic bags for all the tiles, it can take at least 10-20 minutes to set up the game.

Gameplay itself actually flows well. Each turn, the adventurers go first, taking up to two actions (which can be any combination of move, attack or guard) each. After they are all done, it’s the Overlord who gets threat tokens and new cards and then plays 1 monster spawn card before unleashing his legions. It’s easy enough for one hero to kill a monster, so players go through monsters pretty fast with each action in larger games.

In a 2 hero game though, it almost seems as though the Overlord has the option of too many monsters with the ability to continually spawn them. If he spawns 3 monsters a turn, and there are 3 monsters already present in the room, the heroes can at most kill 4 monsters leaving 2 behind. That is 5 monsters the next turn… and so on, so forth.

Players die. A lot. One of the major comments about the game is that the penalty for dying (for the individual player) is very little. So players almost do not care about dying and it can be beneficial (removing fatigue counters, allowing players to shop straight away, etc.).

Another point that comes to mind is the fact that the Overlord really needs to be merciless in the beginning. By the end of the game, the players are steam-rollering over even the really tough monsters.

Lastly, gameplay balance seems slightly off. Certain characters seem to be much more useful than others, with the balance of power definitely leaning towards pure specialists (melee, ranged or magic). In fact, the range/magic specialists at the end game with the right skills and equipment can be greatly overpowered.

Conclusion: Descent is definitely my favourite dungeon crawl board game at the moment. There’s a lot of variation and tactical decision making, both on the Overlord perspective and the adventurers. While there are issues with game balance and looks, they are not major and the game can definitely be tense and interesting, even towards the end. You do definitely need an Overlord that is mean though, and it certainly lacks a campaign option which would make it interesting. Still, definitely the best dungeon crawl game thus far.

Top 10 Christmas Gift Games for 2007

Putting together this list, I was struck by the range of really, really good games that came out this year. It can be hard, navigating the wide range of games available so I thought I’d try to narrow it down. To be eligible, the game either has to be relatively new (i.e. released in 2007 or late 2007) or a reprint and improvement of an old game. Also, the game should have a high degree of ‘buzz’ and be available in stores.

On that note, here’s our list:

Settlers of Catan 4th Edition (1) Settlers of Catan 2007 Edition
Releasing in November, the new 2007 edition of Settlers of Catan is arriving with new artwork, new upgraded components and the same old rules. This is the gateway game and with the new edition, is a definite must for those who need to be introduced to the world of board games.  In addition, the entire Settlers of Catan series has been updated to coincide with the new design.



Talisman 4th edition

(2) Talisman 4th Edition

Another reprint, Talisman has a major cult following and the 4th Edition release has been met with some major cheering. Keeping many of the same rules as the original but streamlining the game somewhat, the new edition has also new artwork included. A definite must have for those with fond memories of the original game.


1960 the Making of a President

(3) 1960: The Making of a President

1960: The Making of a President is a true political game based around what could be the most important election for the USA in the 20th century – John. F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. In this astoundingly well received game, players take on the roles of either protagonist, vying for election as the President of the United States of America.


Stonehenge

(4) Stonehenge

5 board games in one box. Stonehenge is the first of a new group of games – an Anthology game where 5 award winning designers work together using the same pieces and board to create 5 unique games. This is just a gift that keeps on giving.


Zooloretto

(5) Zooloretto

Spiel des Jahres Game of the Year. Games Magazine Family Games Nominee for 2007. Fifth place winner for the Deutscher Spiel Pries. This great game is fun, fast and entirely family friendly. All you have to do is build up your zoo in this game, collecting rare animals and their children. Just be careful not to overcrowd them or else you’ll lose points.



Khronos

(6) Khronos

Who isn’t intrigued by Time Travel? One of the best received games at Essen – the largest board game convention in the world – Khronos tackles this difficult subject matter for a board game and comes up smelling of roses. An intriguing game fought over three Ages, players build and try to control the flow of time, with actions in one age affecting other ages.



Thebes board game

(6) Thebes

Multiple award nominee Thebes is a game of archaeological research in Mesopotamia. Digging into the ground to learn about the five civilisations that have deeply affected the region. One of the best archaeological games to have come out in recent times.



Shear Panic

(7) Shear Panic!

If nothing more than for the sheer cute factor in Shear Panic! you’ll have to get this game as a gift. Beautifully crafted sheep that will bring a smile to anyone’s face are combined with a great strategy game where players try to manoeuvre their sheep and the flock to avoid those scary shears! A definite winner, even for non-gamers and also Games Magazines’ Best Family Strategy Game for 2008



Age of Empires III

(8) Age of Empires III : the Age of Discovery

This is the game for all those computer gamers out there who are yet to be converted. Age of Empires III is the board game of the best selling PC game and they’ve obviously done a great job – it’s the International Gamers 2007 Winner. A great gift for advanced board gamers and for fans of the original PC game.



Shogun the board game

(9) Shogun

A rethemed edition of the classic Wallenstein game, Shogun / Wallenstein has received a host of awards and nominations including GAMES Magazine Best Advanced Strategy Nominee 2008, International Gamers Awards Best Strategy Game Nominee (special award) 2003, GAMES Magazine Best Advanced Strategy Game Runner-Up 2003. Taking on the role of Daimyo in feudal Japan, players must take over control of counties, building, collecting resources and finally battling in the much discussed ‘Combat Tower’. A very highly praised game that takes an interesting twist to old rules.



Mr Jack board game

(10) Mr. Jack

Mr. Jack is a two player game of logic and deduction. Taking on the opposing roles of investigators and Jack the Ripper, as the investigators you will be moving characters from the shadows to light and revealing clues to the identity of the heinous murderer, all the while having your opponent manoeuvre Jack to escape. A thrilling game of logic and deduction, Mr. Jack is both a nominee for the Best Family Game for Games Magazine and the Best 2 Player Game for the International Gamers Association.



Starcraft the board game

Honourable Mention – Starcraft the Board Game

Another video game to board game adaptation, Starcraft the Board Game has been given the full Fantasy Flight Games treatment with high quality production values, a ton of pieces and beautiful artwork. A great adaptation of the video game, players can take on the roles of any of the three races of Starcraft with two distinct factions per race, allowing up to 6 players to take part. A definite must-have board game for fans of the original video game

New stock in and restocking

New stock has come in, including a ton of CheapAss Games. Some of the most exciting things to have arrived include:

Settlers of Catan (2nd Edition)

1960 : The Making of a President

Thebes

China Rails

Hannibal : Rome vs Carthage (btw, we have very limited stock on this one)

Munchkin : the Good, Bad and the Munchkin

Carcassonne the Discovery

Duel in the Dark

Tikal

– and lots more!

Also, more products are back in-stock including:

Descent : Well of Darkness

Mykerinos

Dork Tower

Guillotine

Expect to see a lot more products arrive and come back in stock soon including Power Grid as our second shipment from our other distributor arrives in the next few days.

Blowout sale of old Seafarers and Cities & Knights

Hi all,

Well, the new Seafarers and Cities & Knights of Catan are coming and we’ll probably get it into stock in a week or two. Knowing that, we’ve decided to conduct a blow-out sale of all our remainder Seafarers and Cities & Knights of Catan.

If you’ve ever wanted to buy the expansions, you’ll never find a better time than now. We have very limited stock though, so first come, first serve.