VPG: The Crimson Courier, 13 February 2015 Edition

Other February 15, 2015 0
VPG: The Crimson Courier, 13 February 2015 Edition

By VPG Staff:

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with an additional 10% off Sale, February 13th – 16th!

VPG is showing you some love, with every game 10% off for a limited time! Best of all, this discount is cumulative with VPG’svolume discounts of 5% off for orders over $50; 10% for orders over $100; 15% at $150; and 20% at $200. If you ever wanted to share the love with a red box full of something other than candy (i.e., games!), this is the sale for you!

(The sale runs from 12:01 am Friday to 11:59 pm Monday, Pacific standard time.)

Valentine's Day Sale


New Releases

The Angels (One Five) Get Their Wings
After some production snafus with computer files, copies of Angels One Five have been winging their way out our doors and many a gamer will be taking flight this holiday weekend with their WWII fighters and bombers. We’re sorry for the delay, but this Philip Sabin game from his book Simulating Warfare should prove well worth the small extra wait.

Pew! Pew!

Pew Pew!

If you used to play those great video arcade games in the 1980s, take a look at this. Pew Pew! (sound effects not included) from designer Nathan Hansen is a solitaire boardgame of marauding alien spaceships coming down the pike toward you with their unpredictable moves, firing their weapons, and attempting to fly past and damage your Homeworld. You, on the other hand, are the last Starfighter who must destroy ten of these invaders before ten slip by you.

In this amazingly deep, diceless game, your reflexes will not be tested (which for many of us reading this is probably a good thing), but your tactical-planning mind will be! As you deploy your pews and mines, dodge enemy missiles, and position yourself to have as much energy as possible on the next turn, only your combat cunning can save you!

Are you up for a fast, raucous game that will have you smiling at old memories and new gameplay? If so, set your sights on Pew Pew!


Upcoming Games

Wallachia 20

Go Where No Wargame Has Gone Before!

Okay, so maybe some wargame or other has covered a campaign in Wallachia, but we can’t think of any that covered the Russo-Turkish war of 1806-1812 nor know of any that have looked at Kutuzov’s two decisive battles that ended this war. And so it is with new Russian game designer, Artem Kharinin, using the vaunted Napoleonic 20 game system to simulate the battles of Rousse and Slobozia along the Danube River.

Rousse 20 simulates the earlier of these two engagements, fought on 22 June, 1811. In this battle, Ottoman forces advanced northwards, towards the present day Bulgarian-Romanian frontier. Russian infantry and cannons were able to stall the polyglot Ottoman army, and although they managed to eke out a marginal victory their commander, General Kutuzov, chose to yield the key town of Rousse to the Ottomans, convincing them they had won a great victory. The Czar was not pleased.

Slobozia 20 focuses on the latter battle of 2 October 1811. In this engagement, Kutuzov conducted a surprise march which cut off and surrounded the bulk of the Ottoman army, trapping it on the northern (Bulgarian) shore of the Danube. The result was a decisive Russian victory that permitted negotiations to end the war. This had the dual advantage of allowing Russia to transfer key reserves to oppose Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, and also prevented Austria from contributing more forces to support the French invasion.

Introduced to the Napoleonic 20 series are the Ottoman Turks, whose army is vast collection of irregular and unreliable troops, supplemented by a few Janissary regulars. Slobozia 20 also features this series’ first naval unit, a Russian gunboat flotilla on the Danube River. As a bonus, Wallachia 20 includes a campaign game, where players first fight the Battle of Rousse and its results affect the situation in the second game at the Battle of Slobozia.

Dixon to Carrier: Scratch One Flattop

Three Feet from the End of the Runway

With Angels One Five off and Bountytown approaching completion, Esteban Fernandez’s Dixon to Carrier, Scratch One Flattop is back on our radar screen. This fun co-op game of carrier combat in WWII is bound to be a hit with any gaming group. The fast play and constant tension is enough to turn even the most grizzled grognards into excited children as they quickly roll and re-roll the dice to obtain a successful engagement outcome. It is simple enough to be accessible to younger players, but with enough meat to provide a very challenging puzzle to the most hardcore gamer.

Dixon to Carrier, Scratch One Flattop comes with distinct difficulty levels and a plethora of optional rules to let the players customize the difficulty to their liking. Play can range from challenging to downright evil! The core gameplay is close to complete; the remaining work is mostly streamlining the game mechanics and ensuring that the rules are as accessible as possible. The art from Tim Allen is also coming along beautifully. This game gives a good sense of the difficulties of Carrier combat (such as finding the opposing fleet, fuel conservation, and carrier landings) all in a highly playable format for one to four players. There is no question that Dixon to Carrier, Scratch One Flattop will give players tremendous bang for their buck.


Map of Jena 20 (in progress)

The Napoleonic 20 Series’ Glory is Still Rising!

GMT’s Napoleonic 20 Games Return to VPG

As announced earlier this week in GMT‘s newsletter, keeping our Napoleonic 20 games published, in print, and in stock is an important matter for a small game company like VPG. We really can’t afford to have our top-tier titles out of circulation, and so we’ve agreed with Gentlemanly Gene Billingsley, et al, at GMT to bring these games home and release them ourselves in our great new v4.0 standard. If you’ve seen España 20 (featuring Bailén 20 and Arapiles 20), or are looking forward toWallachia 20 (which should be released around the end of this month), then hold on to your shako!

Two games from what would have been Rising Glory, Jena 20 second edition and Eylau 20, are completed and receiving a final inspection before going off to VPG’s art department. These will be packaged together as Prussia 20 and include a linked campaign game where the outcome at Jena-Auerstadt influences the situation at Eylau. By the way, the new second edition ofJena 20 turned out expertly and is a truly brilliant little game thanks to Lance McMillan’s redesign and les grognards of theNapoleonic 20 team. Tim Allen is doing a yeoman job on the map (shown here).

As the second game published in this series it was very much in need of a fresh take, and now Jena 20 will be quite a jewel in the Emperor’s crown. Our publishing goal for Prussia 20 is to have it ready in time for ConsimWorld Expo this June (but with the change in graphic artists at VPG, see below, it could be released even sooner as the new artist’s first project).

Completing playtesting this month will be half of the pair of games in Hundred Days 20 (our next offering in this Napoleonic 20series), featuring new title Tolentino 20. King Murat’s Neapolitans versus two veteran Austrian corps creates quite a spectacle on the game map, and the playtest reports posted up on various ConsimWorld forums make for some great reading. The other game paired with it is, of course, Waterloo 20 third edition, the game that started it all! What’s new in the third edition ofWaterloo 20 is a version 4.0 overhaul, glorious new graphics, and an extended map that opens up the action a day earlier as the French forces cross the Sambre River at Charleroi. With this opening move of the campaign, the French and Prussians armies maneuver into position for their opening battles and can pick their ground. Our goal is to have this game ready in time for the holidays.

There is even more happening with this series as we also put Kim Meints’ great designs on the table for v4.0 upgrading and pairing with new titles, and these newsletters will bring you the latest dispatches!

Infection screenshot 1Infection screenshot 2Infection screenshot 3

Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp

A Tale of the Digital Game Version

A short “developer preview” style video from HexWar is now up on YouTube! It’s more of a hands-on with the game than a trailer, but nevertheless very exciting! The iPhone, iPod, and iPad version of the game is planned for an early March release, followed up afterwards with a PC, Mac, and Android edition.


Goodbye, Michelle! Hello…?

One student from Alan Emrich’s school, The Art Institute of California: Orange County, who was not one of Alan’s students but has been working at The Little Game Company for some time now is Michelle Ball. She has been doing graphic design for your games and taking our packaging up several levels. We are delighted that she has graduated and that her portfolio (with some cool VPG stuff in there!) has helped her land a job at a very tony Orange County corporation (which pays far better than the boardgame industry!). On behalf of everyone at VPG, with a lump on our throats and tears in several eyes, we wish to say, “Good bye and good luck, Michelle!” You’ve done wonders while you were here and everyone at your game company family will miss you tons!

Not surprisingly, we have been busy looking to fill that chair in our graphics department! After quite a search and inspecting several candidates, we believe we have found one who is the perfect fit for The Little Game Company, and will be introducing him to you at a later date.

Behind the Scenes…

There are no full reports written on every game in progress, but yes, we’re still plowing away at your favorite title! Nemo’s Warsecond edition, The World Will Hold its Breath, Frank Chadwick’s ETO, the next (as yet unnamed) Darkest Night expansion kit, Bountytown, Frontier Stations, To Fight and Die for Dixie, A Near-Run Thing, Wings for the Baron, Road to Damascus, Chariots of Rome, Trenches of Valor Deluxe, and many, many others are currently with both our in-house and out-of-house development teams.

Oh! Stop the presses! An email just arrived from Ian O’Toole, the artist working on Nemo’s War. Here is the relevant news as progress continues:

The ship counter illustrations are all finished (barring some outliers like the sea monsters and airships) – phew! Even in a simple sketch style, 94 ship drawings is a bit of a task! I’m currently working on the character tile and motivation illustrations, which will complete the token sheets. Finishing off the adventure cards will follow after that, and I’ll send you an update on them next week.


In Development: Conquest at Kismet

KismetConquest at Kismet is an upcoming card game from VPG by newest developer, Joseph “Jay” Vales (pictured below, on the right). This is the first of the Cosmic Skirmish series of card games, where players control a mothership occupied by an alien race in a battle over the space-lands of the Raccroc Galaxy. You can play as the space-bending Trice or the massively overwhelming Storm, using time, strategy, and luck to your advantage to destroy your opponent!

The Cosmic Skirmish series is easy to learn, hard to master, utilizes a small table area, and is highly strategic. Kismet has been called “The Sci-Fi Magic: The Gathering” amongst alpha testers because it breaks a lot of conventional card game norms and re-assembles them into something that feels fresh-yet-accessible, balanced, and fun.


The Last Word: VPG’s Paradigm Shifts

It is time for a paradigm shift at The Little Game Company. As you know, we’ve tried many game publishing ideas and have expanded some (print on demand boxed games) and abandoned others (app games). Now we’re about to clean house and also try something new (for us).

In the cleaning services department, we simply have too many slow-selling “old school” VPG titles on our roster. It has reached the point where supporting their handful of sales each year isn’t really economically viable. We will be analyzing our close-of-year sales and letting go of a number of these games, thanking their designers and truly wishing them the best. We loved developing almost every game we’ve published, and each has its special place in our hearts, but this is a change that needs to happen. Once selected, these titles will be announced as going out of production later this year and one last “going, going, gone” sale will be offered in plenty of time before we permanently remove them from our catalog.

In the something new (for us) department, brace yourself… we are planning on launching a new line of mass-produced gamesthis year! This means that The Little Game Company is adopting a hybrid manufacturing model, retaining our in-house print-on-demand manufacturing while adding an out-of-house printer component. Quite frankly, we’re a victim of our own success. We spend so much time manufacturing our top-selling games that, if we could take that pressure off our factory (as well as reducing the slower-selling games in our back catalogue, as mentioned above), it would be much less strain to keep launching new titles and expanding our game line. To that end, one of the titles we will soon discontinue manufacturing is Dawn of the Zeds second edition (although we will continue to keep The Director’s Cut expansion kit in print for owners of that edition). That’s right, it’s “collector’s item” time for “Zeds 2.”

Watch for news and announcements about a fresh, mass-produced version of Dawn of the Zeds third edition being published later this year. We have been working together with the game’s most ardent enthusiasts to bring you a wonderfully new version of this game that should offer something for everyone in your gaming group (hint, hint; but for you, especially!). We are cramming that big box with gameplay value and can’t wait to tell you all about it, and will be doing so soon.


Letters! We Get Letters!

Lego Dice RollerHello,

I just wanted to send this email to say how much I love your games and also to show what I do with the small dice that come with the bagged games. I actually rolled them for a while into a dice box but then I saw someone on Board Game Geek rolling them in a small clear cup, just shaking the cup around. Later I actually saw a small Lego roller like these made by another BGGer. I decided I could design one that was smaller and cuter and here they are, Lego travel dice rollers! Great for airplanes and such.

Again, thanks for producing such great games,
Chris Holmes


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