Origins 2014 Wrap-Up - The Good, the Bad, and the Opposite of Ugly

Origins 2014 Wrap-Up - The Good, the Bad, and the Opposite of Ugly

It's a spaghetti western theme as we finish up coverage from this years Origins Game Fair. Again, I was only able to cover the con for one day, Friday, so I spent all of my time chatting with publishers and designers in the exhibit hall and didn't get to take a look at all of the many, many, other events that take place in the convention center. There is a TON going on, and one small coverage team just can't get to it all in a single day... So with that said, let's wrap things up! Are you ready? Good, let's go!

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Theology of Games Went to Origins!--Part 1

Theology of Games Went to Origins!--Part 1

Last week central Ohio saw thousands of gamers descend upon its convention center: Origins Game Fair once again brought the latest and greatest in new games, and gaming experiences! I (Jeremiah) was able to grab the good ol' video camera and head down for a fast and furious trip to Origins last Friday. Here's a look back at what I saw, and who I got a chance to catch up with!

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide—Stocking Stuffers

coupcoverThis section of of our Holiday Gift Guide is for small games that can fit inside a stocking. Most of them fall into the "filler" category, but some of them have deep gameplay that belies their simple packaging.

HeartlandThe Great Heartland Hauling Company—Breaker, Breaker! Welcome to America’s heartland. It’s time to grab your trucker hat and hit the open road. In The Great Heartland Hauling Co., players will travel the heartland picking up cargo and selling it for profit. Clever design and great thematic gameplay! It's between printings right now, but you can preorder from the Dice Hate Me Games Web site.

MSRP: $20

Ages: Box say 8 and up, but we've both played this with younger kids.


ThrowdownCoverMaximum Throwdown—In Jason Tagmire's card-flinging free-for-all players choose a team (deck of cards). Then they start throwing down... Literally. Each card has special icons that either score points or give special powers to the player who threw them, but if someone covers your cards you lose those powers and points! A fun and unique card game for all!

MSRP: $19.99 (Find it online)

Ages: The box says 12 and up, but that seems way high. Should be fine with 8-year-olds and up.

qwixxdicetowerQwixx—This is a wonderful, fast, easy-to-explain dice game that's completely portable. It's a great filler, and would definitely work with nongamers. We've even played with my 5-year-old. Don't hesitate to pick this up.

MSRP: $11.95

Ages: 8 and up, though younger should work fine with just a little coaching.


coupcoverCoup—Coup just came out in a retail release. And you should buy it. There's so much bluffing in this game. So much intrigue. So much awesomeness. The actor Wil Wheaton even encouraged readers of his blog to read MY review of the game.

MSRP: $14.99 (Find it online)

Ages: 10 and up.


HanabiHanabi—This is on my (Firestone) short list for Game of the Year; it would easily fit on the Gamers' Game list, but is here based on size. You have a hand of cards that you only point away from you. The other players are trying to give you clues about your hand, while trying to figure out clues about their own. And the whole point is to lay down cards in the various colors, in numerical order. It's fantastic.

MSRP: $10.95 (Find it online)

Ages: 8 and up


veronaCouncil of Verona—The first title in Crash Games' Pub Series, a series of games that can be played anywhere. Council of Verona packs lots of game play into a tiny box. It features a good deal of bluffing and intrigue. And fits nicely into any gamer's stocking!

MSRP: $14.99 (Find it online)

Ages: 13 and up

duke expansionThe Duke: Robert E. Howard Expansion Pack

If you're gamer doesn't have The Duke, you should seriously go buy them a copy... Like right now. And what would be a better addition to that game, and a perfect stocking stuffer than a sweet four tile expansion pack featuring the legendary characters from the work of Robert E. Howard!? That's right you can bring Kull, Soloman Kane, and even Conan the Barbarian to fight along side your Duke and hack and slash your way to victory!

MSRP: $9.95 (Find it online)

Ages: 13 and up

Review: (of the Duke)

12 days12 Days

A card game that has an obvious holiday theme, so it seems obligatory that we should add it to the list of  games that should be stuck in stockings! 12 Days was also JUST featured on the latest episode TableTop featuring geek hero Wil Wheaton, if you want to see it being played, click here (Just be aware they use a lot of cuss words -that are mostly bleeped out- on the show)

MSRP: $15.95 (Find it online)

Ages: 8 and up

Stay tuned for our final entry: The Gamers' Games! Thanks for reading!

Kickstarter Weekly, Oct. 21, 2013

Last week was a busy one here at TOG! Essen was in full swing (and we weren't there), but there have been lots of goings-on over on Kickstarter, and we're here to highlight a few campaigns this week, and also hear from you about the games you're backing! So let's get started!

Featured Campaign!

Brew CraftersBrew Crafters: A Board Game About Making Beer - Dice Hate Me Games

There are some games that thematically aren't what you'd call my (Jeremiah's) cup of tea... or beer, wait, how does that work? Anyway, we've been blown away by some great games that didn't necessarily have a theme that we fell in love with. (Heartland Hauling, and Viticulture come to mind) But at the end of the day, superb gameplay won us over. The buzz around Brew Crafters has been solid and positive for months now, and it's finally on Kickstarter. This Euro style board game packs an American theme, and the classic Dice Hate Me Games visual design that we've grown to love.

They should hit their funding goal TODAY they're so close!

A $60 pledge get's you a copy of the game sent to your door and the campaign closes on Nov. 24. You can get more details about the game, and upcoming stretch goals, right here!

Snowball battleThe Great Snowball Battle - Game Salute

This fast playing card game for players ages 8 and up, is the age old classic battle of every winter, a snowball battle! The game looks simple but fun, and thematically it's something I (still Jeremiah) love! Winter! I know, I'm weird. The funding level was super low, so they've already pushed past it, and are looking to add some interesting stretch goals!

You can grab a copy of this game with a $15 pledge, and the campaign ends on Nov. 22, get the full details on the campaign page!


Get LuckyGet Lucky - Cheapass Games

To win this game you're going to have to get Lucky, Doctor Lucky that is. This new card game is based on the original board game Kill Doctor Lucky, which won the Origins award for best board game in 1996. Players take on the roles of folks who -for whatever reason- want to kill Doctor Lucky.  The card game boasts, faster, more streamlined play, and better, more character driven mechanics.  Three stretch goals have already been achieved and there's still plenty of time for more to be unlocked!

You can get in on this one for $20 and the campaign ends Nov. 17. You can find the campaign here!


Kings of IsraelKings of Israel - Funhill Games

Players are working cooperatively as prophets in ancient Israel, trying to lead God's people through turbulent times, removing sin and false idols and such. At first look, the game play looks a little Pandemic-ish, but I will say the cards, and artwork look awesome, and everything seems to be historically accurate, there are even companion bible studies available for the game. We're really intrigued by this one!

A pledge of $45 scores you a copy of the game and the campaign ends on Nov. 26. Check out full details right here!


Thanks again for checking in with us here at TOG! We know there are plenty of awesome games being funded on Kickstarter, and we only have room/time to write about 4 of them. Let us know what you're excited about and backing in the comments below!

And we'd love it if you subscribed to the blog via email over on the right!

AND! Don't forget about our contest! We're giving away a copy of Pixel Lincoln: The Deck Building Game, for details tune into our latest podcast episode!


Kickstarter Weekly—July 25, 2013

Hey everyone! Welcome to yet another installment of Kickstarter Weekly! There are a lot of projects on Kickstarter asking for your hard-earned dollar—some are good, some are great, and others... We write this piece every week to let you know which ones we're excited about and hopefully give you some useful information along the way!

Let's get started -

pack of heroesPack of Heroes - Adventureland Games

Set in an alternate vintage comic book universe (that totally doesn't exist) Pack of Heroes is a 2-player head-to-head card game battle. Using your heroes and their abilities the goal is basic: Defeat your opponent! If nothing else this game looks super stylized and has awesome fake retro art! $20 gets you a copy of the game and all unlocked stretch goals. They've already funded so every backer will push them onward toward those stretch goals. Plus there are some sweet add-ons including T-shirts and action figures! You can find the campaign here.

pigpenPigpen - Island Officials

We told you about this one last week, but wanted to remind you to check out our interview with designer Kevin Kulp, and developer Jason Tagmire RIGHT HERE! This is an inexpensive family game that we think you'll enjoy! Our Double-Take Review is on its way too! Check out the campaign here!

byzantioByzantio - LudiCreations

This 4-player board game takes places in a realm that finds itself without an emperor, and no heir apparent. As one of the noble houses you will try to gain control of the throne. The 4-player game is said to take only an hour (and that includes teaching the game!). They've already funded within the first 2 days and are on their way to knocking over stretch goals! You can still get in on the early bird funding price of $38 to have it shipped to the US and EU. Check out the campaign here!

privateerPrivateer - Ensignia Games

Well you know I (Jeremiah) especially have a soft spot for pirate games, and this one looks like a winner! Claiming lots of player interaction and shifting circumstances that keep all players involved even while players are not taking their turn, the goal is to increase your captain's infamy by way of buying, selling, and stealing cargo and goods. You can get in on a few early bird levels—right now the lowest level is $43. Check out the campaign right here.

ShurikenShuriken - Awesome Enterprise

This modular tile board game boasts a battle between 2-5 ninja clans and 250 plastic ninja miniatures. Along with the modular boards comes the possibilities of special scenarios and unique setups to increase replayability! This one is a bit pricey, coming in at $75 for the game, but all those pieces parts will quickly run up the cost of a game like this! You can check out the campaign here.


vivajavadiceVivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game - Dice Hate Me Game

A big congrats to the folks at Dice Hate Me for crushing the campaign for VJTCGTDG! They managed to unlock 5 stretch goals in the process, which means Angry Dice are on the way! Be on the look out for this fun dice roller, and we'll be sure to check in with designer TC Petty III and Chris Kirkman of Dice Hate Me to keep you up to date on all things VJTCGTDG!

Thanks so much for reading, and check back tomorrow for an special installment of Kickstarter Weekly as we feature nothing but games powered by Game Salute! Yes, they have that many games in the pipeline that we're giving them their very own post! So, don't miss it!

As always we ask that you subscribe to the blog over on the right. And you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now on YouTube!

Kickstarter Weekly—July 11, 2013

Hey! Kickstarter Weekly is back! And boy is there a ton of stuff going on in Kickstarter Land, so let's get started! vivajavaVivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game - Dice Hate Me Games

The follow up to Dice Hate Me's coffee game, the dice game appears to be more than just a dice version of the original VivaJava, but introduces new game play themes and concepts. The campaign funded super fast and they've already knocked down a couple stretch goals, with plenty of time left! $30 gets you the game and any stretch goals as well! You can check it out here! You can also check out our interview with designer TC Petty III right here!

the agentsThe Agents - by Saar Shai

The Agents is a card game based around a series of characters who are all decommissioned secret agents who have been reactivated. The game play invovles playing agent cards and choosing to either score points, or use their ability—the catch is that whichever you choose, the other effect works in favor of your opponent. We'll be getting the latest prototype of this game and let you know our full thoughts very, very soon! Check out the campaign here; it just launched and you can get in on the early bird deal, which scores you the game for $15!

ancient thingsAncient Terrible Things - Pleasant Company Games

Game Salute is powering another Kickstarter Campaign, and they're doing it very well (as usual)! Ancient Terrible Things is a dice roller with some meat on its bones. A good level of resource management adds some nifty decision making elements to the game. Check out Jeremiah's video preview of the game here. You can check out the campaign here, it's been funded and they've also hit several stretch goals. A pledge of $45 will score you a copy of this fun dice-roller!

Coming Soon!

frog flipFrog Flip - Sprocket Games

Jason Kotarski has designed a mini game, along with his daughter Claire, that plays in just a few minutes. We've reviewed the game, and it's a great kids game! The campaign doesn't begin until tomorrow (Friday, July 12) but you can get a sneak peek ahead of time, right here!


photo (11)Princes of the Dragon Thrones - Clever Mojo Games

We're super excited for Clever Mojo, who just brought this one in under the wire! This is yet another successful campaign by Game Salute. This game has been a long time in the works, and we're glad to see that it will make it to the marketplace soon! Jeremiah was fortunate enough to play one of the prototypes, you can read his full review here. Want more Dragon Throne goodness? Check out our interview with Fred and David Mackenzie here!

Council of Verona - Crash Games

The first in Crash Games' Pub Series of games, that feature small games with big game play! The campaign funded at 303% hitting over $27k! That unlocked what Patrick says is the most exciting stretch goal - a 5th-player expansion! We haven't played this yet (unreal!) but we LOVE the idea of the game, and see a smash hit coming to market with this game's arrival! Congrats Crash!


Thanks so much for reading, as we continue our 1-year Blogiversary! Don't forget to subscribe to the blog over on the right, and you can win a copy of Clever Mojo's game Sunrise City! And look for us wherever social media is happening, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

We Have a Winner—Blogiversary Giveaway #1

HeartlandDid we say 7 ET? We meant 8... The response to our contest has been great so far! We appreciate you joining the crew. Our first giveaway was graciously donated by Jason Kotarski, designer of The Great Heartland Hauling Company, and all-around super-nice guy! So who won? Read on...

First, I went to, entered the number parameters for our followers, and it chose random #14. I went from oldest followers to newest, and #14 is Eric Nisly! Feel free to offer him congrats and grumbles... But worry not! We've got more giveaways planned for the month. All you have to do is subscribe via email over on the right. Thanks again, and have a great weekend!

Don’t forget you can find us all sorts of places: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!!

Happy Independence Day! Want Free Stuff?

fireworks- by Jeremiah For those of you who are reading from the US we don't need to tell you that today is the day we celebrate our independence as a country. We are grateful for a country where we have the freedom to write our thoughts, speak our minds, and worship our God! So what better way to celebrate than to eat delicious food, and watch flashy explosions in the sky!? Well blowing up stuff of your own would be fun, except the state of Ohio is one of the few states in America's heartland that doesn't allow its citizens to set off fireworks on their own.


Speaking of the heartland... You can celebrate our country's independence yet another way: by entering to win a free

copy of Jason Kotarski's "The Great Heartland Hauling Co." from Dice Hate Me Games. We couldn't be more excited about that—we really LOVE this game!! How?? I'm glad you asked!

It's simple: This month, as we celebrate our blogiversary, we'll be giving away as much stuff as we can get our hands on! And as our way of thanking our readers, we're giving them away to the folks who have subscribed to the blog.

So, get yourself entered by typing your email address into the box over on the right ------>

And then tell your friends and family about our contest and have them do the same; yes, this does lower your chances of winning yourself, but it makes our little marketing scheme a success and will enable us to keep doing cool stuff like this in the future! (Plus, if your mom wins, she'll probably just give it to you anyway...) If you're already subscribed, then you're already entered; thank you for supporting us during our first year!

Thanks as always for reading! If no one read, we wouldn't be able to do what we do, so we truly do appreciate it. And best of luck in our contest!

Don't forget you can find us all sorts of places on the interwebs: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!!

Happy 4th of July!

It's Our 1-Year Blogiversary!

HeartlandBy Firestone Jeremiah and I met nearly two years ago. He was at my company to attend a mini conference with some youth ministry luminaries. I can't even remember how it came up that we were gamers, but it did. Then, a few months later we met up again at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference, where Jeremiah and his wife introduced me to Quarriors. Once they went home, his wife said, off-handedly, "You guys should write a blog together..."

We thought that was a great idea.

So on July 1, 2012, we started Theology Of Games—with a review of Carcassonne. Over the next few months we started to find our "voice" a little more. And we started some of our more-popular features, such as interviews with people in the gaming world, and our favorite thing: Double-Take Reviews.

But we wouldn't be here if there weren't people reading the blog, so we'd like to sincerely thank you for reading, following, and contributing.

And, of course, we celebrate anniversaries with gifts, right? I think the traditional 1-year gift! (I think every anniversary gift should be games, but my wife completely disagrees with me on that.) Some generous people have kindly donated games for us to give away.

150px-Carcassonne-gameWhat do you have to do to win? Just subscribe to the blog. That's it. Everyone who is already subscribed is automatically entered to win.

And that's not all, the past year has been great, and we're excited to have recently launched our YouTube channel featuring coverage from the Origins Game Fair, and we'll be rolling out more video previews of new and exciting games!

But wait! There's more! Be on the lookout later this month as we'll be launching our very own podcast, which will feature both of your friendly TOG writers, as well as special guests from the gaming world and beyond! Stay tuned for more details and our official release date!

Again we want to thank you, the readers, and all of the warm friendly folks from the gaming world who have welcomed us into this community—we hope to stick around for quite some time!

So make sure you subscribe over on the right. -------> We're giving away some cool stuff, including a copy of The Great Heartland Hauling Company from Jason Kotarski and Dice Hate Me Games!


What You Missed... What's Coming Up...

HeartlandThis week has been a crazy/busy/fun/hectic week for us here at TOG (and that's both on the site, and in our lives), and we're not done yet! First let's take a quick look back at the week that was...

First, if the question is "ARE YOU ASKING FOR A CHALLENNNNNNGE??" Pixel Lincoln's answer would be "Yes.". As Jason Tagmire has issued a game design challenge!

We brought TWO, yes TWO, Double-Take Reviews! One for the upcoming Emperor's New Clothes (which is still Kickstarting, until Monday. And the second for Jason Kotarski, and Dice Hate Me's, The Great Heartland Hauling Co. We both had awesome things to say about each one; go read all the words!

Mayfair is making an even bigger name for Catan, and now it's showing up in classrooms!

relic start

And Thursday we brought you TWO, yes TWO, Kickstarter Weekly Features. Relic Expedition which looks AWESOME (look for an interview with the Foxtrot Games guys soon!). And our good friends over at Game Salute are funding a cool accessory for your sci-fi themed games - Rocket Dice!

And we've asked folks to chime in on our Facebook page and tell us who your favorite A-Team member is!

Crown-of-ThornsToday on Good Friday, we take pause to remember the impact of the greatest act of love we have ever known.

As we push forward into the weekend, we will celebrate with friends and family, and maybe even play some games on International TableTop Day tomorrow! (Ok, Scott will for sure!)

Check back with us this weekend as we continue to celebrate!

Thanks so much for reading our posts we hope you find them 3 F's - Fun, Factual, and inFormative!