Podcast Poll—And Blogiversary Giveaway #2: Sunrise City!

sunrisecitycoverWe're working away in the background to prepare, produce, and, of course, launch our very own podcast, but we thought we'd pause and get some thoughts from you! If you could take 5 seconds and fill out our poll, it would be much appreciated.

So, we'd like to know...

[polldaddy poll=7234366]

We're also happy to announce the next game we're giving away! Clever Mojo Games has graciously donated a copy of Sunrise City! We'll give it away on Saturday, and all you have to do to be eligible is subscribe over on the right---->. One other thing we have to mention is that this contest is only open to those living in the US. We're really sorry about that, but we just don't have the funds to mail a copy of a game around the world. If we pick your name and you live outside the US, the only option is for you to pay shipping. Otherwise we're picking a new name. Also, if you've already won something in this round of giveaways, you're not eligible to win again this round. The chances are small, but still...

Origins: A Week in Preview

OriginsLogo Well, next week the Origins Game Fair will descend upon the greater Columbus area, along with thousands of gamers of all types: tabletop, RPGers, and yes, even the LARPers will be there in force, providing many great photo opportunities.

Scott lives 2 time zones away and is unable to make the journey, so I (Jeremiah) will be heading down with a few friends who are going to help me cover the vast expanses of the convention...in one day.

This is our first large con that we will be covering and we're pretty excited about the opportunity. And I've been lining up meetings with designers, and publishers this week.

Here's a few items we'll be covering:

New Games—We'll be scouring the con for new and exciting (and yet-to-be-discovered) titles, both in the exhibit hall and at the Unpub events.

Video Interviews and Demos—If all goes as planned, you'll see my smiling face alongside those of the people who bring you the games we love—and, they'll be teaching you about their newest/most-popular titles!

Tons of Social Media Entries—If I'm excited about something, I'll burn it up with Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook action. It will be like you're ACTUALLY there!

Plus more. We're still working on what we'll be able to cover, but we'd love to hear from you about what you'd like to see. Is there something you're excited about, or sad that you'll be missing out on? I'll try my best to cover as much as I can! Thanks so much for reading, and be sure to subscribe to our email list on the right.

And follow us in the social media world of Twitter, FaceBook and Instagram!

Fluxx On Your iPhone!

This just in: Looney Labs has announced that a mobile version of their hit card game Fluxx will be available on the iOS platform. The mobile version will feature local play (Pass and Play) as well as solo mode vs. AI, and asynchronous support for online multi-player support. Looney Labs has hinted at a streamlined experience, with most likely fewer rules in the "deck." It appears that the game will be the original version of the game and not one of the themed decks. You can read our full review of the original Fluxx right here. You can check out the official news from Looney Labs about the iOS version right here.


When We Last Left Our Heroes...

Well, we said it at the beginning of the week... This will be a very light week, and in terms of posts this week has been fairly light. We did give you a heads up about the new expansion of King of Tokyo called Power Up! We unfortunately did not have opportunity to shoot any video during the week, but it doesn't mean we haven't been working hard behind the scenes! Stay tuned in the weeks to come as we are currently working on no less than 4 great interviews with game designers, of some games that we are pretty excited about!

Thanks as always for reading, and of course you can expect more gaming news, reviews and general mayhem, here at Theology of Games!

Wizkids is Making a Lord of the Rings-Themed Dicebuilding Game!

Have you played Quarriors? Well you should. Come to think of it, we should probably write a proper review of it. It's a "dicebuilding game"—where you're using dice to build an engine to score VPS. It's like Dominion, with dice instead of cards...kinda.

Anyway...Wizkids just announced that they're making a new dicebuilding game that uses some of the same mechanisms—and cool new dice! There aren't many details, but it sounds like there are cooperative aspects to it--but that someone can be corrupted by the ring. Or something. Anyway, you can read the press release here, and keep an eye out for this game in early 2013. And we'll try to get a review of Quarriors in the mean-time.

Hail Caesar - an interview with Bryan Fischer

If you went to Gencon this year, there's a good chance you heard the buzz about Chicken Caesar. Or you may have been lucky enough to sit in on a demo of Nevermore Games big box game of Roman/poultry politics. More than a tasty salad, Chicken Caesar is hitting hobby stores this month and the buzz has gamers waiting with baited breath to see what the excitement is all about. So we had a little chat with Bryan Fischer, co-designer of Chicken Caesar, and co-founder of Nevermore Games about Chicken Caesar, Nevermore Games, and life in general. Take us through the story of how Nevermore Games got on the map?

My friend, Corey Phillips, and I started Nevermore back in 2010. He was the business guy and I was the creative guy. It wasn’t long though before I realized we really needed another creative guy, so we brought John Sizemore on board. I had been working on Chicken Caesar at the time and pitched it to John. We ran with it and started Nevermore’s mission: to facilitate friendships through strategic and innovative games.

For those of us who didn’t make it out to Gencon, can you give us a quick overview of Chicken Caesar?

Sure thing! In Chicken Caesar, players represent chicken families who are sending their roosters into coop politics, which of course are modeled after the Ancient Roman Government. Through deal making, breaking, bribes, and manipulation, players will compete for legacy.

There are five offices in the game where roosters have actions they have to complete. The roosters in the Aedile’s office decide the tax rate for the round, which in turn determines how upset the coop guards are (and how many will betray the coop by letting the fox in to gobble up politicians). The roosters in the Praetor’s office decide where loyal and traitor guards go. The Censor can exile people, and the Consuls can take bribes to “rewrite history” and give roosters additional accolades they never earned in life. And of course there is Caesar, who gets the all-powerful Veto token and makes lots of corn (money).

So which came first, the Chicken Caesar or Nevermore Games?

Chicken or the egg, huh? Well, both. They happened simultaneously really. I had been designing games for years and about the same time that Corey and I started Nevermore, I was also toying with Chicken Caesar. Of course, Chicken Caesar didn’t really take the shape of its current form until John came on board.

When and how did the idea for Chicken Caesar hatch? (Okay, I promise that’s the last chicken pun!)

These puns are getting pretty fowl ;)  Actually, my wife came up with the name. She was eating a Chicken Caesar wrap, and I was of course annoying her with talk of game ideas I had and she said “Why don’t you call a game Chicken Caesar?” We both had a good laugh. Little did she know I was seriously storing that one away.

What were the pros and cons (if there were any) to co-designing Chicken Caesar instead of going it alone?

For me, co-designing is the ideal situation. I don’t think any game in history has been designed entirely by one person. Whether it’s through co-authorship or not, game designers have play testers and friends, critics and spouses who influence the design process and often come up with ideas for mechanics and theme. Having people to bounce ideas off of is a huge necessity in game design.

John and I make a great design team. He’s a walking economics textbook and calculator rolled into one. It compliments my theme-centric approach to gaming and I believe that’s the greatest pro of co-designing games. Complimentary designers can take collaborative game design efforts to a new level. That being said, John and I argue a lot. That’s what happens when you spend so much time together trying to get something right. It can be stressful, but ultimately the arguing leads to better communication and therefore better game design. I guess that would be a con that turns into a pro.

What’s the one element of Chicken Caesar that makes you all giddy?

Well, mechanically it’s the Suffragium (the voting marker) that makes Chicken Caesar unique in its approach to luckless negotiation and shrewd bargaining. But really, for me, it’s that moment when a player about to be passed the Suffragium suddenly realizes… “I’m going to be deciding the fate of someone else’s rooster; I have the power, and I can be bought!” that gets me. Well into the testing of Chicken Caesar, players were discovering new ways to bribe each other and get epic revenge. Fantastic!

How do you balance being a person of faith and a big geek?

It’s funny how faith and being a geek interact sometimes. Some geeky endeavors, like science fiction, beg answers to questions of morality and truth. They present impossible and (often) unnatural circumstances where people have to make decisions often alien to us. It’s fascinating. Fantasy can often blur the lines for people of faith through use of magic and divination, but it’s not always the case. Look at Tolkien for instance. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is touted as a great Catholic work by many theologians. C.S. Lewis was much more overt. Read A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. and you’ll see how faith can only make a science fiction experience even deeper.

I find the best way to reconcile something that might be offensive to my faith is to first learn about it. If it’s a game, I’ll look at the rulebook or play it. If it’s a film, I’ll usually watch an excerpt or do some reading about the story. There have been times when, after researching something, I have still found it offensive. And the opposite has also been true.

What has been most surprising to you about the response to Chicken Caesar from the gaming community?

The fact that people know of the game! It’s been incredible. At GenCon we had the game set up in a number of places and people walked by and said “Oh yeah, it’s that Chicken Caesar game!” On top of that we met a ton of our Kickstarter backers there and sold out every demo event for the game through Saturday. John and I walked over to the Asmodee booth one morning and while chatting with a French guy working the booth, he says “Wait, you two are the Chicken Caesar guys?! Very cool!” So cool.

So, we've been following the Mars Needs Mechanics Kickstarter; beyond that, what's in the future for Nevermore Games?

We actually have quite a few things lined up for the future. We're working with some really awesome designers to bring the world an awesome, big game next Spring. We have some others in the lineup for after that, so expect plenty of games in 2013 from Nevermore.

Okay, the 1-word 5! Give us your 1-word answers to these questions. (For names we’ll allow 2 words!)

Favorite doctor? (In the BBC Series Doctor Who, please don’t tell us your dentist’s name!)  David Tennant

Who shot first, Han or Greedo? Greedo

Favorite salad?  Potato

Favorite game?  Lifeboat

Cylons or Sleestaks?  Caprica-Six ;)

If you'd like to place your pre-order for Chicken Caesar you can do so RIGHT HERE!

You can also find out more about Nevermore Games RIGHT HERE!

And of course they're on Facebook and Twitter as well!

A big thanks to Bryan for spending some time with us, and as always a big thanks to you for reading!

Dominion Goes Digital

The game that pretty much turned card games on their ear a few years ago is not only getting a new expansion, but it has also been announced that there will be an iOS, Android, and online version of the game releasing soon. Now you won't have to wait to gather your friends together to buy that Duchy; you can do it on the interwebs! The digital version of the game will feature single player vs. bots, multiplayer online (w/friends or random strangers), or a new "Challenge Mode" designed in conjunction with game designer Donald X. Vaccarino and app devs goko. You'll be able to play on your iPad and Android tablets, as well as from your browser via goko.com as well as on Facebook, and in Google+ hangouts (if anyone still does that). While they have given us an iPhone screen shot, there is no word on if there will be a version that scales to fit the landscape of the iPhone, or other non-tablet devices.

Goko is in the beta phase of testing right now! I've applied for the beta, and so can you.

For full details, updates, screen shots, and info on the beta test click here!

Are you already beta testing this? We'd love to hear about it, leave it in the comments!