10 Games for Summer Holiday Fun!

July 1st, 2015

The July 4th Holiday weekend is upon us once again and what better time to introduce your friends and family to some new games?

Here is our list of 10 fun, portable, family-friendly games perfect for the picnic table:

1. Bohnanza (Rio Grande Games) – Plant your bean fields and harvest your crops to sell them at market for top dollar. The art is playful, the theme light-hearted, and it’s easy to teach to non-gamers. Plus, it’s fun to declare yourself the Stink Bean Mogul.

 

2. Sushi Go (Gamewright) –A pass and play card game with deliciously adorable art and fast-paced rounds, this game becomes addicting and will surely be a go-to game for future family gatherings.

 

3. Red Hot Silly Peppers (Rather Dashing Games) –In this silly game of salsa-making, more is better. Play card combos to make the hottest salsa, but watch out for other players using more ingredients and stealing your points!

 

4. Telestrations (USAopoly) – Pictorial telephone is the way of this game. Illustrate your clue and pass the book, taking turns drawing and guessing what the clue is. At the end of the round reveal the hilarious interpretations from the group.

 

5. Gravwell (Renegade Games) – Use the elements to escape the blackhole and boost your spaceship closer to the safe zone. Watch out for dead ships and other players using the forces of gravity to advance their own ship past yours. There’s actual science behind this one, so go ahead and geek out a bit.

 

6. Bears! Trail Mix’d (Fireside Games – hey! that’s us!) – Add this die to your existing copy of Bears! for crazy mixed up fun and new ways to stump your fellow campers and survive the bear attack. (Don’t already have your own copy of Bears!? What are you waiting for??)

 

  7. Roll for It (Calliope Games) – Roll your dice and stake a claim to the cards that match your rolls. Go all in to score big, or go for the sure bet and watch your winnings stack up steadily.  Play as many rounds as you like with this portable, easy to learn, dice game.

 

8. Bang! The Dice Game (Da Vinci) – The Wild West is alive and well in this dice game of hidden identities and flying bullets. Roll the dice and play them against the bandits or the Sheriff, depending on whose side you’re on. Careful, there’s the quick and then there’s the dead, so stay on your toes to survive this standoff.

 

9. Citadels (Fantasy Flight Games) – Fortune and city-building, with some good old-fashioned intrigue, this game requires a balance between long-term strategy and short-term opportunity. Choose your identity carefully each round to secure the wealth needed to build your city with an and come out on top.

 

10. Mag Blast (Fantasty Flight Games) – Who needs diplomacy when you have laser-blasters? Captain your own fleet of inter-galactic ships, using your cards strategically to take out your opponents before they reduce you to space junk.

 

What are your favorite games to break out at the family picnic? Share in the comments below!

 

Bears! Trail Mix’d Available Now!

June 24th, 2015

The latest threat to your woodland fun isn’t marching toward the Castle, it’s invading your campsite, and game stores everywhere, today. The brand new expansion to Bears! is now available!

Bears! Trail Mix’d is a single die expansion to our fast-paced, dice-pairing game Bears! and changes up the game play by introducing 6 new rules to shake up your strategy and keep you on your toes.

This expansion easily fits into the base game box and is fully transportable to your next summer picnic or bonfire. Be sure to pick up your copy before the July 4th family reunion and get the whole family involved in the frantic, fun, and addictive experience of gaming.

Bears! Trail Mix’d is rated for ages 7 and up, retails for $4.95, and requires Bears! to play. Ask about it at your Friendly Local Game Store.

Want to have a little extra fun? Write your own product announcement with our silly fill-in-the-blank word game, or download and print your own score sheets for the game!

Write the Product Announcement – Word Game

Download & print your own score sheets!

Ask Fireside: How Long Does a Game Take to Design?

June 18th, 2015

In this article, Anne-Marie De Witt, CEO of Fireside Games and designer of a hefty percentage of our products, shares some insights on the product development cycle and compares the design processes for Bears! Trail Mix’d (releasing June 24) and The Village Crone (due out this fall).

How long does a game take to design from initial idea to publication?

Quick Answer: It varies widely.

Real, In-Depth Answer: When planning a game, we try to keep to a one-year development cycle. The longer a game takes, the higher the expenses and the higher the sales need to be. However, a game that hits all of the right deadlines and turns out to be no fun won’t sell or cover its costs either. The best course is to pursue the game design diligently, know when it’s working, and be willing to kill it when it’s not. A game isn’t worth publishing if it isn’t strong. There are too many great games on the market to invest money in a mediocre idea.

The shortest development cycle we have had was 8 months, which was for Bears! The concept came rapidly and was refined almost to its end state as I wrote it out for the first time. The whole game design process took just 2 weeks. Art development, graphic design, and layout took about 4 weeks. The remainder of the time was spent in manufacturing, shipping, warehousing, and fulfillment.

It actually took longer (10 months) to develop Trail Mix’d, the expansion to Bears!, because the game design was harder to nail down. If I had trusted my instincts, it would have taken a shorter amount of time, but I spent some time chasing down other solutions that didn’t pan out. In the end, though, the assurance I have in my final design was probably worth the time spent even though I could have gotten it to market more quickly.

Knowing what constitutes your initial idea can be tricky as well. After working on different approaches to a witch game for a couple of years, I couldn’t get it feeling right. I hadn’t worked on it for several months when the inspiration for The Village Crone hit me while training a volunteer for GenCon 2014. I excused myself and asked Justin to take over so that I could write it down before I forgot it. The game design evolved tremendously from that flash of insight and required the sacrifice of almost all of the guiding mechanics.

Although I look to that day of inspiration as the beginning, you could argue that it started years before and required substantial stewing before it was ready or that its start date was closer to its current incarnation. By the time the manufacturing and fulfillment are complete, getting that game to market will have taken 13 months (ironic for a game in which the winner is the first person to score 13).

Because of the uncertainty in the game design stage and the necessity of it being as solid as possible, most publishers prefer to license games. The designer sinks all of the time in that phase and is compensated based on a percentage, tying his or her return to the strength of the sales. Not only does that help the publisher control costs but it also helps to create a more predictable product development cycle. Of course, unforeseen problems in the publication process (such as strikes by dock workers) can and do occur. But having a plan in place allows you to steer through the obstacles and hit the right time from initial idea to publication to ensure the highest degree of success.

- Anne-Marie De Witt

Do you like articles like this? Want more insider information? Let us know! Email us your “Ask Fireside” submissions and you might be featured in a future blog or newsletter.

Origins Game Fair ReCap

June 10th, 2015

What a way to start the summer! We returned to Origins Game Fair in Columbus, OH after a few years away and were greeted with warm smiles from eager gamers.

The quiet before the rush.

When the hall opened on Thursday morning there was a steady stream of attendees getting their first look around the hall and we even had a few beeline straight to make their Bears! Trail Mix’d purchase. This expansion to our fast-paced, dice-pairing game Bears! doesn’t officially release until June 24, but we had a stash of advance copies and people weren’t shy about snagging one of their very own.

We had a lot of interest in The Dark Titan expansion to Castle Panic and kept that demo table running regularly most of the weekend. There were many Castle Panic first-timers sitting down so they got to experience the true panic the expansion brings to the game. The ratio of wins to losses was pretty evenly matched and everyone seemed to actually enjoy the anxiety brought by the new Monsters and Agranok.

Edgar taught a 6-player group how to fend off Agranok in this Castle Panic and The Dark Titan demo.

There was a heightened interest in Dead Panic so we cracked open a copy for the second demo table and that one stayed full most of the weekend as well. We had a fantastic play through with a young gamer and her dad. She was a boss at taking out zombies with her chain saw and there were a lot of smiles in that apocalypse.

Our favorite zombie apocalypse survival team of the weekend.

The best thing about doing game conventions is all the familiar faces and the new friends we make, and this year’s Origins Game Fair was no exception. We want to thank everyone who came by the booth to say hi, pick up the latest promos, and take a copy of a game home with them.

New game promos included a 6th Level Agranok card for The Dark Titan and an Alarm Clock for Bears!

If you missed out on the 6th Level Agranok promo or the Bears! Alarm Clock, don’t worry, we’ll have them at other shows this year. Check out our Calendar for future appearances.

We hope to see many of you in July at GenCon in Indy. (We’ll have The Village Crone on the table there, as well as a special promo you’ll want to be sure to pick up.) We’ll be in booth #1949.

See You At Origins Game Fair!

May 29th, 2015

We are returning to Origins Game Fair this year! We invite you to stop by our booth (#839) to check out the latest games and promos, get in a demo, and update your game collection with our new releases.

Our in-booth demos this year will focus on Castle Panic and the brand-new expansion, The Dark Titan, and Bears! and its new expansion Trail Mix’d.

The Dark Titan released in April and has been very popular among Castle Panic fans. (Did you know you can combine it with The Wizard’s Tower as well for maximum panic?!) Bears! Trail Mix’d doesn’t actually release until late June so you can score an advance copy at the show!

We have special promos for the new games as well, so you’ll want to be sure to come to booth #839 to pick up the latest game swag to make all your friends jealous.

We look forward to seeing you in Columbus!