Live On Kickstarter…The Lords of Rock!

I recently acquired a prototype of a game launched on KS today and that is The Lords of Rock, a beautiful looking game with a great theme, that I’ve never seen in a game before. Think 80’s hair metal x He-Man x She-Ra x Jem and the Holograms x legends and Gods. It is brought to us by Solar Flare Games/Brave Frontier Studios. In this simple take that/hand management card game you are playing as a range of mythical gods set to take control of the earth via the medium of rock n roll. The KS rewards and stretch goals are really cool, I absolutely love the plectrums and playmat.
You create a band from one of the available pantheons, made up of a bassist, drummer, vocalist and guitarist and you go to the venues (world wonders and mythical places) to play. Based on what the audience is hankering for at that event (drums, vox etc) you tot up your skill level within your band against your opponent’s to see whose skills meet the audience requirements for a good show. You can modify your skills with set cards (aptly named rock songs) to either boost your skills or lower your opponents. The winner is the person who has claimed the most souls (represented by soul stones) after 4 venues have been played.
I was talking a while ago about possibly starting a group gaming session locally for kids/teens and this is the kind of game I would definitely take along and teach. Personally, despite the beautiful art work and the fantastic idea, it is a bit too on the light side for me. I hope there’s an expansion that brings more to it for heavier gamers (designer Dave Killingsworth has mentioned this is in the pipeline) anyway, go check out the KS page and finer details, have a look at the rule book and marvel the gorgeous art work here.

The Bloody Inn, Nicolas Robert


The Bloody Inn. This game made such a big splash last year, and for the few months it was out of print I was desperate to get it. However as I knew it was a card game (no big board, too many components or miniatures etc) I refused to pay a completely unreasonable price for it since I knew it would be back for another print run. So I waited patiently until a couple months ago I finally bought it for its RRP. And this is what I thought.

I’ll start with….it’s an unusual one. It’s a grower. I think perhaps after that anticipation it fell slightly flat first time round (no huge surprise after months of coveting) but as I’ve played it more I’ve grown to like it more. It’s medium strategy, easy to get wrong if you’re not careful and does require a bit of brain burning.

Ok let’s go back to the start. So in a nutshell you’re running an Inn and you kill your guests. Dark right? But fun.

  •  You begin by randomly drawing 6 cards from the central deck, and these are guests frequenting your hotel of horrors. You pop them in their errr lovely little room (on the board) and each player owns rooms, represented by coloured key tokens, some of which are neutral and belong to no one.
  • Each card/guest has a pick up cost. You can spend your two starting cards (‘peasant’ cards) and can either kill guests outright or you can pick them up and use them to kill somebody else, or use them to build annexes (places to bury your corpses).
  • Some cards have instant monetary rewards, some give you money when you build an annexe or when you bury a body.
  • You move along the score track as you earn and can use an action to launder money, so you go back on the track and pick up cash tokens instead.
  • At the end of each round you can gain points for any of your rooms with guests still present and are deducted points for cards left in your hand.
  • All cards used go into a spent pile.
  •  Your only allowed two actions per turn
  •  Building up your annexes means you can use the card abilities/bonuses to help you gain more money and spend less cards.
  • The game ends when your guest cards have depleted and the player with the most money (in both money tokens and on the score track) wins the game.
And that’s the general game play!
So why is this game such a tricky little thing? Well the trouble starts when your Inn is populated by ‘the law’ (constables, sergeants and the like) because if you end your turn with any unburied bodies you pay a pretty hefty fine (lose money/points) and lose the body. Only having two actions per turn is tough, especially when you have to use an action to get your peasant cards back. You have to play carefully to get some necessary end of round points by having your rooms still populated, (and making sure your opponent doesn’t) and somehow end the round by having no cards, all bodies buried but minimising how many times you spend a precious action next round getting your peasants back. All whilst figuring out the best times to launder money and stay ahead of your opponent. How do you achieve this? I wish I knew, I still haven’t cracked it! And therein lies the fun, it seems the more I play the more I realise this game is a challenge. I tend not to play games to hammer other people but to better my score and improve my strategy. This is how I have concluded that it was worth the wait and worth the purchase. I still don’t think a price point about £20 would be reasonable, but I’m glad I held out for it.
My only criticism would be that I think it could have developed on the bribing/trading between players. You have to work together somewhat when the Inn is overrun with the law, and you can bury a body under another players annexe. It would of been cool if you could of bribed an opponent to use your annexe or kill a police officer for you, or traded a card someone else might need for money. But I guess the designers had their reasons for not taking it there. That’s it! More info here. Ps- the art is weird and gorgeous, all these abstract angular faces and beautiful colour. Always a plus!

Back This! Gloria Eternia by Lewis Terry

On my quest to meet like minded tabletop gamers on Instagram I came into contact with Lewis Terry, (@britishbriefs on Instagram) a game designer from the UK. I discovered that he was Kickstarting a new game in June called Glori Eternia, a fast paced card game for 2-4 players where clever hand management and timing is everything. Lewis has been crazy busy preparing for the launch so I was very lucky to get the chance to pick his brain last weekend and interview him. Read further to find out more about Glori Eternia and his journey as a game designer…..

Hi Lewis! So your new game Glori Eternia is launching on Kickstarter. How long has this game been in the making and how has it evolved over time?

‘I had the initial idea for the game many years, and in the last few years I started developing it into a more cohesive and sturdy game. Since its first conception it has evolved dramatically with regards to the art and design, and has become far more powerful. I sought out a talented artist who could bring the images to life in the way that I imagined through the use of traditional painting, and the layout design is through the use of digital art – so there is a nice merger of the traditional and the contemporary. The gameplay itself has gone through rigorous playtesting with a diverse age range, from seasoned gamers to beginners, and it has been tweaked here and there to make sure it is balanced and fun to play.’


The Evolution of Glori Eternia

What was your inspiration for the game?

‘The inspiration for Glori Eternia came from three main things.  I have always loved the idea of the mythical hero who could slay silly amounts of opponents in one blow on the battlefield.  Growing up I really enjoyed hearing tales of mythology.  Later I discovered the Dynasty Warriors series of computer games in which you play as heroes of the past and take on wave after wave of insignificant peons.  Then in cinema, Lord of the Rings really turned that battle prowess into a visual reality.  Sauron cleaving waves of his foes in one strike of his blade. I wanted to recreate this in a game.  I had a few shots at it in my teens and I eventually came up with a solo dice game, which I shall talk about later.  Even though the dice game could be played with more than one player it was still really just a solo game.  I wanted to create something where you had the same banter as Legolas and Gimli in Lord of the Rings, a friendly but heated competition between rivals.  This brought me into a Take That style card game in which you are all fighting to be the best, while screwing each other over in the heat of battle’

Have you ever launched KS before and how are you feeling as the launch date approaches?

‘We had one successful Kickstarter last year, with a print and play game called Breakneck Blitz. Blitz is a game about arena combat, using a dry point pen on a grid to plot your movements. We also did launch Glori Eternia last year too (back then it was known as Eternal Glory), but we launched too close to Christmas and during a sudden, big house move so things were pretty chaotic. We decided to postpone the project and launch after we were settled and had improved the overall layout of the cards. It was a good decision! As the launch date approaches I feel a mixture of excitement and nerves kicking in, which I guess is natural when you are launching a big campaign and attending the biggest games convention in the UK as an exhibitor.’

Tell me a little bit about your background? I understand you’ve been designing games for many years, was it always something you aspired to do? 

‘I was brought up from a very early age with Citadel and Games Workshop games and miniatures.  My dad as a late teen had the opportunity to have an apprenticeship for six months or so with the small six man team that it was back then.  This meant that I was surrounded by a lot of Games Workshop titles, such as Space HulkTalismanChaos Marauders and Chainsaw Warrior, to name a few.  After that he went into computer game artwork and design for two decades.  This allowed me to see the development of an idea to its fruition into a product many times over.  It was an exciting environment to grow up in.

After the initial upbringing of American and UK games. My family started to import games from Germany when the Eurogames really kicked off.  It was seeing this huge amount of games that inspired me.  Seeing both high end production but also the really budget marketplace too.  Steve Jackson’s microgame series and James Ernest’s Cheapass Games, really inspired me.

Both of my parents always encouraged my creativity.  I was always surrounded by paper and notes and I made my own games from an early age.  I guess it was always something I wanted to do but never thought I could do.’


Breakneck Blitz

I’ve seen some of your amazing art work on Instagram, have you ever illustrated for other games or your own?

‘Thank you for the compliment. I got into art as a hobby, a hobby that slowly got very out of hand.  For a few years I spent time trying to illustrate people’s games on the Board Game Geek.  I did a few versions of other people’s print and play games.  One of which was Doubloons that has now been released as Scallywags.  The artwork that I did was okay and it led to me making art for my own games.  You can download on BGG many of my early games.  My favourite was a game called Exquisite Rivalry, about feuding rich siblings trying to make the best town.  I am currently redesigning it as Three Sheets to the Wind.  The artwork is poor but the mechanics are solid.’


Three Sheets To The Wind

What was the first game you ever designed and are there many that never quite made it to the shelf? Would you consider revisiting one of those?

‘I honestly can’t remember the first game I ever created.  I used to make lots of paper and counter games with huge results charts and encounter tables.  I still have some of them in a folder somewhere.  Most of them were made from cereal boxes and paper cut outs. The first proper game I created that I had success with was called Makura Sagashi, which stands for Pillow Searcher.  In feudal Japan people would hide their possessions under their pillow, hence they called burglars pillow searchers.  I invented the game when I was 13 and kept revisiting it.  I played it sometimes at lunch breaks back then and I still bring it out sometimes now.  A few years ago I refined it and uploaded it to BGG as Pillow Searcher and gave it a new look.  Someone on one of the forums pointed out it was very similar to another game called Nobody Here but Us Chickens.  When I went and checked it out it is very similar.  It was crushing to see a game I had worked on for that length of time kind of already existed in another form.  This was also a valuable lesson though and it did not deter me’


Pillow Searcher

‘There are plenty of games I have created that haven’t hit the shelf. Even games I worked up to completion.  Survival of the Fittest and Ouija are good examples of these.  Both I shall revisit at some point, but probably not for a long while. I have eleven games that I have finished and a chunk of them even have artwork and properly printed prototypes but I feel I need to tackle one at a time.’



Survival of the Fittest and Ouija


Some examples of game that didn’t hit the shelf. From right to left (Feed The The Beast, Adventure Team, Dicey Diner, Treacherous Turf, Sphinx, Space Babes)

As a newcomer to board game design what would your tips be for me or any other designers just starting out?

‘Since I started on my game design journey more and more people have come up to me with their game ideas and games they would like to make.  For me, game design has been a long journey.  It is easy to have an idea, but after that it needs to be play tested, balanced, playtested some more, then you need to get the artwork, format the components, source production companies and the list goes on.  Thankfully thousands of people have been there before and there are many great links on the BGG in the game design forums that will help out anyone looking into game design.

I have had to learn many new skills that I never thought I would need on my journey and the biggest piece of advice I can give is don’t give up.  Take criticism and keep improving on your idea.  If you have played the game a hundred times and you don’t enjoy it anymore, don’t try and sell it.  If you don’t enjoy your game other people are not likely to either.’

Can you tell me a little about your other new game Immortal Warriors and where is it available?

‘Immortal Warriors is what Glori Eternia was born from.  It is a very simple push your luck dice game for 1-4 players.  It is really a solo game but like Yahtzee it can be played competitively.  The game was created years ago and I have been playing it for a long time.  Having nothing to sell on the table for the UK Games Expo I thought I should make up a few games that would be easily affordable for people.  I decided to print up Immortal Warriors and make the artwork as luxurious as I could.’

The current version that people can by consists of seven Era map cards, which players battle through to try and earn the most fame and reputation. This is done by choosing a path and trying to get what is required to pass on three rolls of the dice.  If they pass they gain fame and reputation and move onto the next area, if not they suffer injury and lose a die. It is good light fun and hard to beat.  People will be able to buy it from our stand at D31 at the UK Games Expo or directly from our website in the future.’


Immortal Warriors 

How would you sum up Glori Eternia in 3 words?

‘Fast paced fun.’

Thanks for your time! And tons of good wishes to you and your team!

The Kickstarter for Glori Eternia launched this morning, go pay the page a visit here, and if you are visiting the UK Games Expo this week you can find Lewis at stand D31 to pick up Immortal Warriors!

Coming Soon! Rococo: Jewellery Box

I recently discovered that there is an expansion on the way for the Euro gamers favourite Rococo. So stoked for this!  Jewellery Box will add 28 cards with new bonuses to change up the game without changing the rules. As the title  suggests it also attaches a jewellery option accompanied with lovely new tiles and you can receive a master craftsman’s diploma. All for the RRP of £12.95 (in the UK) not bad hey?

Despite its release in 2013 I only bought and played Roccoco this year after a bit of umming and ahhhing. I’m glad I did and could immediately see why it’s a firm favourite. Some games you find just work. The Castles of Burgundy, Suburbia, 7 Wonders, Twilight Struggle, Puerto Rico and Concordia to name a few. They seem to play out smoothly, make sense, are challenging without being horrible excruciating and are just…fun. I find that it’s usually games that aren’t overly complicated, that don’t have 10 million rules that you have to check up every five seconds, then go online to double check and triple check. They cultivate healthy competition without you wanting to reach across the table and strangle another player. They make you think, you strategise, but you don’t have steam coming out of your ears in sheer frustration. You definitely care if you win but won’t be too pissed if you don’t, because you had fun in the process. These games allow the player to gain as they go and feel a sense of achievement. Lastly the theme and mechanics in ‘games that just work’ all meld together nicely.

Roccoco is one of those games. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and on the surface I guess that making dresses for a lavish ball may seem a little feminine, although all the characters (except for the queen) are male. But none of that kind of stuff matters when the game itself is one that works. Everyone can get down with a bit of frivolity and 17th century fashion if the game’s a good one!

Roccoco is a clever take on deck building, there are some tough choices to be made, you are constantly in close competition to your opponents for area control, hiring employees first, nabbing the best monument spots on the board and obtaining the correct requirements in time to make your garments. At the end you are able to reap lots of rewards in the form of prestige points which is always nice (aka not an abrupt ‘is that it then?’ ending) Also, let’s face it the game itself is hella pretty and biiiiiig.


Having said all this I never win it, ever! My partner clearly has more fashion prowess than me.  I am most definitely looking forward to playing it with the Jewellery Box expansion next month! If you have yet to play Roccoco I suggest you do, it’s a real gem. I’m so corny in my posts sometimes *blush*! More info