Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I can finally announce that Tasty Minstrel Games has contracted my game Scoville for publication!
As you can imagine, I am very excited about this. Scoville will be my first published game and I’m grateful for TMG taking me into their fold.
So who is Tasty Minstrel Games? TMG is a board game publishing company run by Michael Mindes. On board with Michael is game designer/developer Seth Jaffee. You can check out Seth’s blog at sedjtroll.blogspot.com.
TMG has been putting out very quality games that contain beautiful artwork and are exceptionally enjoyable. Some of their recent awesomeness includes these games:
In Dungeon Roll the player’s goal is to collect the most experience points by defeating monsters, battling the dragon, and amassing treasure. Each player selects a Hero avatar, such as a Mercenary, Half-Goblin, or Enchantress, which provides them with unique powers. Then players take turns being the Adventurer, who boldly enters the dungeon seeking glory.
Belfort is a worker placement game with area majority scoring in each district as well as for each type of worker. Buildings give you influence in the districts as well as income, but taxes increase based on your score so the winning players will have to pay more than those behind! Manage your resources and gold well, choose your buildings wisely, and help build the city of Belfort!
The process is simple: Factories produce the goods (machinery, textiles, chemicals, food, and luxuries) that are coveted by the city folk. Airships – forbidden from landing in the cities but capable of carrying cargo over great distances – must be used to gather those goods and deliver them to depots along the rail network. Trains then haul the goods to the cities that want them, earning cash for the competitor who gets there first! Will you be the “King of Air and Steam?”
Also in the TMG queue and coming to stores soon is the new Stefan Feld game Rialto, the game about Florentine Medici-ness called Il Vecchio, as well as the expansion for Village (the 2012 Kennerspiel des Jahres) known as Village Inn.
But don’t forget about their other highly rated game, Eminent Domain, by Seth Jaffee. You can learn more on the BoardGameGeek page.
I will be keeping you all updated as Scoville progresses toward publication. Thanks for all of your interest. If there are any questions you have regarding Scoville, please post them as a comment below and I’ll be happy to reply!
Thanks! These are exciting times for me and for Tasty Minstrel Games! Make sure you visit them at GenCon at booth 459:
It’s Friday, which means it’s Board Game Review day! Today I’m reviewing Belfort by Tasty Minstrel Games, which currently has an awesome expansion available on Kickstarter (KS link) for only $20. So since the Kickstarter campaign is live I figured now is as good a time as ever to post this review!
In Belfort players take on the role of a builder who has been hired to build the castle Belfort. Unfortunately, other builders were also hired in a mix-up. So you are tasked with being the best builder of the castle. To do that you have to make effective use your elves and dwarves with a worker placement mechanic in various spots throughout the city. Leftover elves and dwarves can be used to claim wood, stone, metal, or gold. Decisions in this game get tough and heavy. But that makes it awesome. The other part of the game involves building the buildings of the castle to claim a majority of a district. That’s how players can obtain points, which are needed for victory. When you’re ready to visit the Pub for some Master Dwarf action, or the Blacksmith to get some metal, then grab your friends and sit down for a game of Belfort!
Here’s a look at all of the awesomeness that is Belfort (image from BoardGameGeek.com):
I’ve played this game a bunch and I totally love it. But the real question is who can find the Ton Ton from Hoth on the game board first?
- ARTWORK: I must start with the artwork. This game is so visually stunning that I sometimes set it up just to stare at it (not true). It just looks so good that I must give a shout out to artist Joshua Cappel! Excellent work!
- STRATEGY: This game looks too fun to be a heavy strategy game, but that’s exactly what this is! There is a lot of strategy behind each decision from the first turn throughout the whole game. Players have to optimize their workers capabilities and then optimize which building to build and where to build it. There’s a lot to think about in this game!
- THEME: The theme of building a castle with your hired elves and dwarves is a lot of fun.It is easy to get immersed in this game and feel like you are really putting your elves and dwarves to work. And everything works together thematically, which always makes a game better!
- ANALYSIS PARALYSIS PRONE: While I am a player that enjoys heavy strategy and tough decisions, there are some players that I play games with that would struggle mightily with indecision throughout this game. There would be times where they wouldn’t know what to do or why they are doing it. Beware that this can lead to long games.
- SETUP TIME: This game has a ton of components. Thus, it requires a higher than average setup time. If you know you’re playing this game during your board game night perhaps you should set it up beforehand!
Designer Perspective – What I Would Change:
Belfort is a brilliantly designed game of worker placement and area control. The upcoming expansion looks like it will enhance the game greatly, so I won’t offer anything that the expansion is already doing (or at least that I know of it doing). If I were to change anything I think I’d add the ability of players to swap buildings between districts. This would add a huge “screw-you” factor to the game, but might also unbalance the game. By being able to swap my Inn in district 1 with you Inn in District 2 I could gain the majority in both! Bonus!
I would normally pair this game with a heavy beer since the game is a heavy game. However, I just can’t imagine the worker elves and dwarves sipping a heavy, gentlemen’s beer after a hard day of work on the castle. So my preferred beer pairing is one that drinks easily, tastes great, and would work perfectly in the hands of elves and dwarves. And that beer is New Glarus‘ Cabin Fever Honey Bock. It is a very tasty beer brewed with clover honey, but not too much. And it goes great with brats, BBQ, and Belfort!
This was at the top of my Christmas list a couple year’s ago and it has lived up to that! Belfort is a great game that is a ton of fun to play. There is deep strategy, awesome artwork, and a lot of tense decisions. I can’t wait for the expansion to come out! I will rate Belfort 9 out of 10 on the BoardGameGeek rating system!
One of my favorite game publishing companies is Tasty Minstrel Games. Why are they one of my favorites? I have two reasons:
- They publish awesome games including Homesteaders, Kings of Air and Steam, Ground Floor, Village, Noblemen, Belfort, and the topic of this post: Eminent Domain.
- They are very open and engaging about their business and they share a lot of awesome information about the board game publishing side of things. Check out Michael Mindes’ “BizOfPlay” Podcast on Soundcloud.com.
For those reasons I don’t hesitate when they launch a new project on Kickstarter. I know that their game developer, Seth Jaffee, will have done an amazing job making sure the game is refined and awesome. But most importantly, TMG’s games are fun to play!
So today I wanted to inform you about their latest Kickstarter campaign which is currently live. It is for the expansion for Eminent Domain. It is called Eminent Domain: Escalation (ED:E). It is the first expansion for the hit game.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the game here is a little background. Eminent Domain is a deck-building game with a space-based theme. Players are trying to settle the most planets, research the most technology, and gain the most influence. Each turn you choose a card from your hand and do the action listed. These actions are things like Gain a Fighter, Colonize a Planet, Survey New Planets, and Research Technology. After performing the action the player will take a card from one of the piles on the table. They then perform the Role of that card. These roles allow the player whose turn it is to reap some benefit. Then all the other players can “follow” by doing the role or “dissent” by drawing a card into their hand. That’s basically how a turn works. To learn more check out Tom Vasel’s review of the game:
I really enjoy this game. I first played it last year in the GenCon library. This expansion looks like it will really add to the game. It adds the capability for a 5th player. It allows for direct conflict. It adds new technology cards. And it will add different starting scenarios, which adds a lot of flavor and replayability.
I highly recommend backing the game on Kickstarter. You can back the game and expansion for $50 or if you already own the game you can back the expansion for $25. Please let me know if you have any questions about the game or TMG. If I can’t answer them I’ll point you in the right direction. You can pledge on the Kickstarter project page!