Engines of War Builds the Panic

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Engines of War Builds the Panic

022First, the Monsters came crashing out of the Forest hurling Giant Boulders at anything in their path, visiting Plagues on Archers, Knights, and Swordsmen, and banging up against Fortifications and Walls as they rushed to tear down the Castle Panic Towers.

Then, The Wizard’s Tower brought magic, fire, and flying Monsters to mix, and The Dark Titan brought . . . well, the Dark Titan! And his conniving comrades, the Dark Sorceress, the Boom Troll, and Elite Monsters.

Engines of War Builds Panic

Now, Engines of War builds the panic with Monsters rolling back into battle with a Siege Tower, War Wagon, and a Battering Ram. This time, they’re bringing a Shaman, Breathtaker, and Goblin Saboteurs, too. Good thing the Castle defenders have an Engineer on their side to build Catapults, Ballistas, Barricades, Spring Traps, Pits, and Walls.

Engines of War Builds Panic

You’ll have a blast working together to build weapons with Resource Cards that add a new, light economic mechanic to the game. Engines of War can be played with Castle Panic alone or with The Wizard’s Tower and/or The Dark Titan. It plays in an hour, accommodates 1–6 players ages 12 and up, and has an MSRP of $17.95. Look for it in stores this November, and read more about the game here.

Engines of War Builds Panic

The Dark Titan Wins Origins Award!

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Origins Award Winner

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Origins Game Fair was last week and it was a blast! We had a booth in the Main Exhibit Hall and ran demos of Here, Kitty, Kitty!, Dastardly Dirigibles (releasing July 6), and Star TrekTM Panic® (available now!). Our booth was so busy and we got to see so many familiar faces and make some new friends.

We had the designer of Here, Kitty, Kitty! in the booth playing with attendees and the artist, Tony Steele, was back in the art area drawing cats on boxes for anyone who picked up a copy and asked nicely.

Star TrekTM Panic® received lots of attention and we had demo after demo of excited gamers devouring the latest variation in the Panic Line.

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Saturday of the show happened to coincide with International Panic Day and it was fun to see Social Media explode with posts from Friendly Local Game Stores around the country hosting events in-store to celebrate the day, while we played the latest variation with attendees at the show.

The biggest thrill of the show was at the Origins Awards ceremony Saturday night when it was revealed The Dark Titan, the second expansion to Castle Panic®, was the winner of the Fan Favorite award for the Gaming Accessory category! Thanks fans!

Anne-Marie De Witt, our CEO, accepted the award on behalf of Fireside Games because Justin De Witt, the designer and Chief Creative Officer for the company, was back at home in Texas working on the THIRD expansion. You can expect more news on that game to be coming VERY SOON!

Castle Panic and the first expansion, The Wizard’s Tower, were both Origins Awards Nominees in their respective release years, so you know the whole line is good. Fans really love the toughness of Agranok in The Dark Titan and we appreciate all the support and dedication to this line you, the fans, bring every time you see us at a show or a local game store.

Thanks to all of you for making Origins Game Fair 2016 such a success and so much fun. We’ll see you there next year. And remember… Just PANIC and Play Games!

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International Panic Day 2016

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Join us on June 18th when we celebrate International Panic Day (yes, it’s a real thing) the only way we know how . . . with GAMES!

You can participate in the fun by visiting one of the stores listed below that will be providing FREE demos of the various games in our Panic Line. You can also host a game day with your friends and help spread the Panic!

If you are playing our games that weekend, please tag us in your social posts with #PanicDay and let’s see how far we can get this thing to go.

Don’t forget we have lots of helpful How To Play videos on our YouTube Channel if you run into a tricky situation and need a little guidance. There’s no shame in asking for a little help, especially when you are clearly panicking!

And don’t forget our special Panic Line Bundle will be available starting June 18! It includes one copy each of Castle Panic®, Dead Panic®, and Munchkin® Panic®. Each of these variations offers a different set of objectives and gameplay twists for a variety of game play experiences each time you sit down at the game table.

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Each game in the bundle comes with an EXCLUSIVE promo piece only available in this bundle and the bundle is only available through brick and mortar game stores!

RETAILERS! Are you hosting an in-store event? Not on the list below? Contact Us and let us know so we can add you to the list!

STORE NAME LOCATION
Dragon’s Keep Gaming Room Fayetteville, AR
Imperial Outpost Games Phoenix, AZ
Game Kastle Fremont, CA
Crit Castle Games Aurora, CO
Dragon’s Lair Wallingford, CT
Emerald City Clearwater, FL
Smallville Hobby Store Macon, GA
Tyche’s Games Athens, GA
The Armchair Adventurer Honolulu, HI
GameQuest Fort Wayne, IN
Game Preserve Indianapolis, IN
Better World Books Goshen, IN
Secret Door Games Elkhart, IN
TableTop Game & Hobby Overland Park, KS
Boom Comic Shop Lawrence, KS
A+ Comics and Games Lexington, KY
Hobbytown USA Frederick, MD
Brainstorm Comics & Gaming Frederick, MD
Acropolis Games Adrian, MI
TC War Room Traverse City, MI
Game Nite St. Louis, MO
Dark Knights Gaming Long Beach, MS
maCnarB Gaming Gautier, MS
Penta Smite Gaming Pearl, MS
Red Door Games Richlands, NC
Spielbound Omaha, NE
The Game Shoppe Bellevue, NE
Arcana Toys, Games, and Hobbies Washington, NJ
Elite Battlegrounds Green Brook, NJ
The Game Room Store Woodbridge, NJ
Alterniverse Hyde Park, NY
Legendary Realms Games Plainview, NY
Rockin’ Rooster Comics & Games Cincinnati, OH
Six Feet Under Games New Holland, PA
The Temple Games Pawtucket, RI
The Game Cave Hermitage, TN
The Next Level Games Madison, TN
Clockwork Games & Events College Station, TX
The Island Games Centreville, VA
Leesburg Hobbies & Collectibles Leesburg, VA
The Compleat Strategist Falls Church, VA
Diversified Games Chehalis, WA
Pegasus Games Madison, WI
The GameBoard Sheboygan, WI
Lost Legion Games & Comics, The Rifleman South Charleston, WV

That’s A LOT of places to PANIC! We hope you can join us for the fun.

Let us know what games YOU’LL be playing on International Panic Day in the comments!

Panic Line Bundle with Exclusive Promos

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Have you been considering picking up the Panic Line? Want to try all the different variations for the unique experiences they provide, but don’t know which one to start with? Well, we’ve got you covered with the special Panic Line bundle coming June 18!

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The Panic Line Bundle will include one copy of each of the Panic Line variations currently available from Fireside Games: Castle Panic®, Dead Panic®, and Munchkin® Panic®.* Each of these variations offers a different set of objectives and gameplay twists for a variety of game play experiences each time you sit down at the game table.

As a special bonus to this bundle (which is already being offered at a great value of $99.95 MSRP for all three games), each game comes with an EXCLUSIVE promo piece only available in this bundle!

You can get the “Laser Sight” for Dead Panic®, the “Potion of Mwahahahaha” for Munchkin® Panic®, and the special “Promo Tower” for Castle Panic® that was only available in 2015 as part of TableTop Day!

These bundles will be available starting on June 18 to help celebrate International Panic Day and will only be available through brick and mortar retail game stores. Let your Friendly Local Game Store know you want one so they can put in their orders today!

A little Panic can be a good thing, and A LOT of Panic can be a GREAT thing… when it comes to games, that is!

Find a Friendly Local Game Store near you with our handy Store Locator map!

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*Star TrekTM Panic® is not included in this bundle. It will be released by USAopoly in late June. For even more ways to Panic, check out these expansions to Castle Panic®: The Wizard’s Tower, and The Dark Titan.

Making Star Trek Panic

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Star Trek Panic Box Cover50 years ago, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise took us on voyages to strange new worlds. This summer the latest variation in the Panic line, Star Trek Panic, will beam down to your game table to continue the adventure. Read the entire behind-the-scenes story of how the game was created, straight from the designer, Justin De Witt.

 

Growing up, I was a huge Star Trek fan. I had a model of the original Enterprise and the Galileo shuttle hanging from the ceiling in my room. As a kid, I remember dragging the big chair to the middle of the living room, right in front of the TV, so I could watch the original series (in syndication by then) from my own “Captain’s chair.” I have an (almost) complete set of Micro Machine spaceships from every series, and a well-worn Technical Manual from The Next Generation. I was a Trekkie before they were called “Trekkers,” so it’s both amazing and a little surreal that I’ve been given this chance to work on a piece of Star Trek history.

 

First Contact

The project has its roots at GenCon 2014 when Anne-Marie met with Maggie Matthews, the Vice President of Licensing at USAopoly. In addition to their original games like Telestrations, USAopoly is famous for creating licensed versions of everything from Monopoly and Risk to Yahtzee. The year before, USAopoly had licensed Munchkin from Steve Jackson Games and combined it with the Adventure Time license from Cartoon Network. Maggie and Anne-Marie talked about what it was like working with Steve Jackson Games (great!) and compared stories about the process of licensing the games. Munchkin Adventure Time had been a great success. They were looking to combine even more hobby games with some of the licenses they had, and we agreed it might be interesting to work together in the future.

Munchking-panic-Flat-cover-artLater that year at BGGCon, Anne-Marie and I were being interviewed about Munchkin Panic in a quiet room away from the crowds. It was a common space set aside just for exhibitors, and at that time there were just a few other publishers in there. After we wrapped things up, we struck up a conversation with Andrew Wolf, the Project Manager for New Business at USAopoly, who had overheard the interview. As we talked with Andrew over dinner, he asked if we would be open to a similar arrangement for Castle Panic with one of their licenses. We agreed we might be, but whatever the license was, it would have to make sense for the game. While I knew we could be flexible with a lot of the mechanics, the Panic line’s core gameplay is about surviving a siege and fighting off attackers. I would want to make sure that whatever we paired it with was a good fit for both the gameplay and whatever theme the license brought. Andrew agreed, and we decided that he would take this info back to their office and see what they could work out.

Not too long aftStar-Trek-Panic-50th-deltaer GenCon, we heard from Maggie that their team was excited to work on a Castle Panic variation, and they already had some ideas of licenses that would make good pairings. One of the first questions we were asked was if we would be okay using photos instead of illustrations in the new game? We were, but that really sent our minds buzzing. What could it be? What license would only use photos? We had a lot of fun playing the “what if?” game in our office, and it went to some crazy places. A few weeks later, Anne-Marie met with Maggie and Luke Byers, head of Creative Development for USAopoly, at New York Toy Fair, and they asked, “How does Star Trek Panic sound to you?” It sounded unbelievable, but somehow Anne-Marie was able to contain any squeeing and assured them we were interested. What really sealed the deal was when we learned that because 2016 was going to be the 50th anniversary of the original series, CBS wanted this game to be set in that timeline. That meant we were going to get the chance to retell the stories of Kirk, Spock, and the whole crew in a new medium.

One key detail was that even though USAopoly would manufacture and publish the game, we weren’t going to be content to have this be just a reskin of Castle Panic. To that end, it was determined that I would do the initial concept and design, pushing the envelope of what we’ve done with Panic games in the past while playing on the strengths of what we could do with this license. Andrew and I would take that initial design and refine it before he finalized the design work to create the finished game. It couldn’t have been a better arrangement.

 

Star Trek Panic—Where No Panic Has Gone Before

As Anne-Marie started negotiating the details of the contract, I started brainstorming ideas for what the game could be. The first step? Get reacquainted with an old friend. Part of my job for the next few weeks was to watch every episode of the original series. (I know. It’s a hard life.) I camped out on the couch taking copious notes as I binged on the entire series start to finish and running with every wild idea they inspired. It was a hoot to go back and see all the classic adventures again. I have to say that overall, it’s still an amazing achievement. The good episodes are really good, and the themes and messages of that 50-year-old show are still very relevant today.

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Getting started on Star Trek Panic required some very serious research. Now pass the popcorn!

As I made my notes, I had lots of inspiration on how I would convert the Panic mechanics to fit the world of Star Trek. I really wanted to capture as much of the Star Trek feel as I could, so I thought about different core game ideas. Maybe the center of the board would be a planet the players were protecting and the Enterprise could be a token that was moved around the board, similar to the Cavalier in The Dark Titan? Maybe there could be a space station in the center that warded off attacks, like Deep Space Nine? Cool, but that’s the wrong version of Star Trek . . . No, it really made sense to make the center the one thing Kirk and the crew always wanted to protect the most, their home, the Enterprise.

Converting walls to shields made sense, and treating hull sections of the Enterprise as towers followed naturally, but I wasn’t sure how we would show damage to the ship. We couldn’t just take chunks off without it being weird. What would happen if the only piece left was an engine pylon? That just wouldn’t make sense. I liked the idea of possibly showing a damaged ship underneath and covering it up with shiny, new ship pieces. That way when you removed a ship section, you would leave the banged up, burned out section in its place. I wasn’t sure if that would be done with just artwork on the board, but it would be really cool if we could make some kind of 3D model of the Enterprise! The downside was that it might make it a little difficult to handle having to load up the model with “good” pieces as part of setup. As part of my playtesting, I ended up building a prototype that showed a complete Enterprise and creating tokens that were placed on top of the sections, covering them up to indicate when a section was destroyed.

Star Trek Panic early Enterprise prototype
The very first playtest version of the Enterprise!

When it came to damage, I also wanted to expand the Brick and Mortar idea from Castle Panic and turn it into a system that would actually let players repair the Enterprise. This was kind of a big deal since that’s essentially the same thing as letting players rebuild towers in Castle Panic. I wasn’t sure exactly how it would work and I knew it was going to need balancing, but considering how many times Scotty saved the day at the last minute with a quick bit of repair work, I knew it needed to be in the game.

I was starting to create a pretty big list of ideas I could put into this game, and I knew that not everything was going to make the final cut. However, there were some concepts that I felt were pretty much a sure thing. The enemies would be Klingon, Romulan, and Tholian spaceships. These enemies wouldn’t just approach the Enterprise harmlessly like they do in Castle Panic, I wanted them to shoot, doing damage as they got closer. After all, what’s space combat without some pew-pew? I wanted some ships to be able to cloak, making them temporarily invisible. I wanted to include the idea of boarding parties. (There were always troublemakers getting on board the ship!) I knew I wanted to have the crew be actual characters in the game. Players would get to pick who they wanted to be, and each character would bring their own skills to the game that related to their area of expertise on the show. That’s an idea I’ve been waiting to introduce to Castle Panic for a while now, and I knew it would work great here.

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TM & © 2016 CBS. ARR.

One of the biggest additions I knew had to be in the game was events that were based on episodes of the show. I wanted the players to be terrorized by NOMAD, face off against the Doomsday Machine, and deal with everything from transporter accidents to rapid aging diseases. The original idea for implementing this was split between Mission cards that would be the victory conditions for the game, and Event cards that players would draw at different times and would present challenges that the players would have to overcome together. (These eventually were combined into the Mission cards that you see in the final game.) These events would have to be dealt with in addition to surviving the waves of enemies that the game would throw at the players, so while they needed to be somewhat challenging, they would have to be balanced out so the game didn’t feel overwhelming. A lot of the episodes dealt with the crew having some kind of countdown they were working against, and I wanted to reflect that with a timer that provided a time crunch to some of the missions.

Experimenting with missions led to another new mechanic I wanted to introduce called “Command Points.” Some of the most powerful cards in the game would feature the same Division icons the characters wore on their shirts. Cards with these Command Points would act as a currency the players would need to pay in order to complete some of the missions. The cost would be higher than any 1 player could pay on their own, so the team would really have to work together toward the common goal. The catch was that a player could either use the card for its powerful ability or spend it toward completing the mission, but not both!

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TM & © 2016 CBS. ARR.

As I spent a few months turning rough ideas into playable concepts, there were a few ideas that ended up being dropped from the game. I had really wanted to include planets and away teams, where players would beam down for a separate mini-game that would have generated resources. Scotty always seemed to be dealing with equipment that broke down right when the crew needed it, and I had created a system that would gum up players’ hands with Malfunction cards that had to be repaired to simulate that engineering challenge. I’d even experimented with the idea of the characters being injured and losing abilities until they could be healed in the Sick Bay. As fun as these ideas were, the added complexity didn’t fit with the simpler goal for this game so they had to be cut. We’ve talked about including them as expansions so who knows, they may return!

 

Ahead Warp Factor One

Before long we arranged to fly out to California and meet with USAopoly for our kickoff meeting. I spent the days before the meeting turning my pages of notes into a readable design document before we packed up and headed out. Meeting the crew from USAopoly was great. They even had a fantastic Star Trek Panic welcome banner on display right when we walked in the door! We met with Maggie, Andrew, Luke, and the rest of the staff, got a tour of their very cool office, and then got down to some very intense days of work. The first day we covered everything from contracts and production schedules to going over all the various Panic games with a fine-tooth comb. We dove into my design document which, while it was stuffed with a ton of ideas, was still very much a work in progress.

Andrew and I broke out into our own design meeting along with Rick Hutchinson, the Senior Creative Designer at USAopoly, and we started really tearing into the game. Ideas flew fast and furious as concepts were refined, edited, and refined again. It was an amazing day and a half, and some of the most fun I’ve had while still getting paid.

One of the coolest things we figured out was how to make the transition away from the castle and walls setup to a 3-dimensional Enterprise model! Inspired by an idea from another game USAopoly was working on, it involved die cut chipboard pieces that are put together via tabs and slots to build the classic hull, saucer section, and nacelles of the famous ship. This would allow damage tokens to hang off of the ship the way the fire tokens work in The Wizard’s Tower. Now instead of just being a static pile of towers and walls in the middle of the board, the Enterprise would be built on a base that the shields were attached to and the whole thing could now be rotated as one piece to its facing.

Star Trek Panic 3D Enterprise
TM & © 2016 CBS. ARR.

Star-Trek-Panic-making-of-Phaser-cardHaving the model of the Enterprise on its own movable base let us run wild with the idea of maneuvering the ship. We modified the ring and arc arrangement to be more like Dead Panic, using 3 rings instead of 4 (removing what would have been the Forest ring). The next big change was that we removed the use of colors. The Enterprise is aligned on the board so that its front faces 2 arcs, each side aligns with 1 arc, and its rear faces 2 arcs. We changed the Archer, Knight, and Swordsman cards to Phasers of Long, Medium, and Short range, limited each one to 1 particular facing of Front, Side, or Rear. Now, instead of playing cards to hit enemies anywhere you wanted to, the hit cards became directional, based on the facing of the Enterprise. The Phaser cards are not color-specific as Hit cards are in Castle Panic, and only let you hit a target that matches both the range and facing. Finally, we gave the players the ability to rotate the Enterprise one arc clockwise or counter-clockwise during their turn, while they were playing cards. This meant the players might be able to attack a target they would otherwise be unable to hit after they rotated the ship to change its facing. We were actually restricting the use of the cards, but giving the players even more tactical flexibility by maneuvering the ship.

We applied this idea of maneuvering to tokens outside the ship for the concept of moving “forward.” Obviously, the Enterprise couldn’t actually move on the board, so instead when players maneuver forward it brings all tokens in the 2 front arcs one ring closer to the ship. Tokens to the side and rear were unaffected. While it may not have been completely accurate from a physics point of view, it worked really well and allowed us to include maneuvering as a fun requirement for some of the missions.

 

Boldy Going

When the dust settled we had a pretty good idea of what the game would be and how it might play. We said our goodbyes, and I took this new version of the game home to make some adjustments and start playtesting to see what worked and what didn’t. Within a few days, Rick had created a mockup of the 3D Enterprise that was nothing short of amazing, and they shipped me a version of it to include in my playtesting. I can’t say I didn’t run around the house with it making spaceship noises, but you try not playing with this thing!

Star Trek Panic early prototype
An early version of the game with many placeholder components.

The mission cards now became the focus of the game and how players would win or lose. I knew we weren’t going to keep the same end game condition as Castle Panic, where finishing off the last enemy ends the game. Instead it was going to focus on the famous “5-year mission” of the original show. I had played with idea of having the game last for 5 “years” with each year being a certain amount of turns, but that didn’t feel right. I experimented with a point tracker and even making the missions worth different amount of points. In the end though, simpler was better and we decided to have the goal be to complete 5 missions before the Enterprise was destroyed. At first, mission cards were drawn when certain tokens were encountered, but because of how unpredictable the token draw can be, it was cleaner to have mission cards drawn as part of a turn, so that players were always facing a mission and never waiting for one.

As I continued testing and having phone meetings with Andrew, the core ideas became Star-Trek-Panic-making-of-Dilithiummore refined. Enemy ships fire after moving, damaging the Enterprise from a distance, adding damage tokens to shields and hull pieces before eventually destroying them. The ability to repair the ship evolved into a 3-way system involving Tritanium and Dilithium cards. Playing a Tritanium card on its own removed a damage token from the hull, where as playing a lone Dilithium card would remove a damage token from a shield. Play them both together however, and a player could rebuild a shield or hull section that had been destroyed. While this was a powerful (and incredibly satisfying) ability for the players, they would need it as the Enterprise is constantly taking damage from alien attackers.

Star Trek Panic Security Team card TM & © 2016 CBS. ARR.
A group of redshirts, ready to sacrifice themselves!
TM & © 2016 CBS. ARR.

Enemy ships that reached the Enterprise would become Boarders and cause the players to eject cards from the game permanently. The Security Teams found their use in fighting off these intruders. When an enemy ship becomes a Boarder, any player can play Security Team cards from their hand to reduce the amount of cards lost to Boarders. These Security Team cards are discarded in an homage to the famous red-shirted crewmen from the original show. It’s a fun way to work together, but it involves balancing the cards in your hand with the immediate and long-term threats on the board.

 

The Final Frontier

Within a few months I had a version of the game that was playable and felt very thematic. There were still a lot of details that needed to be worked on and a great deal of balancing, but at this point, I was ready to hand the game off to USAopoly. As progress continued, Andrew and I had multiple meetings where we would compare notes, discuss trouble spots, and work on solutions. The biggest challenges were in balancing the missions so that they were tough, but not too tough, and then refining the various methods used to complete these missions. We ended up including a timed element with every mission and even removing a few missions entirely from the game when they were too complex or unclear.

The Command Point mechanic was renamed Division Credits and we adjusted the distribution of these credits throughout the deck to better fit the desired tension. Character abilities went through several evolutions as we fine-tuned their effects on gameplay and ensured they reflect the character they belong to. Sulu, for example, can maneuver the Enterprise twice on his turn, whereas the other characters may only make one maneuver.

The cloaking ability of enemy ships took a lot of tweaking as well. It went through many incarnations, eventually settling on a system by which cloaked ship tokens will alternate their movement phases between cloaking (flipping over to be upside down, revealing just a starfield) and attacking. Players can’t attack a ship when it’s cloaked, but they can see where it is. The catch is that when a ship uncloaks, it’s movement is determined by a die roll and it immediately attacks. This means the players will only have a general idea of where a cloaked ship will appear and attack them from. It adds a great sense of tension and uncertainty, just like in the famous “Balance of Terror” episode.

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TM & © 2016 CBS. ARR.

Andrew and the USAopoly team continued to playtest and refine the game. We had many fun phone conversations about tension and theme, modifying smaller and smaller elements as the game settled into its final incarnation. After a few months, I had switched from design work to reviewing artwork and components. Using stills from the show wherever they could, USAopoly crafted a really great-looking game that is drenched in the look and feel of the original Star Trek.

In the end, I’m incredibly happy with the game we’ve created. As a fan of Star Trek, it’s important to me that this game stand on its own and remain true to what made the show such a classic. I think we created something enjoyable by fans of both licenses. If you’re a fan of Castle Panic, you’ll find an entirely new way to challenge yourself that will still have familiar elements. If you’re a Star Trek fan, you’ll reconnect with the original crew in an exciting, engaging way that you’ve never done before. Good luck to you all as you explore the Final Frontier. Live long and prosper!

-Justin De Witt

As Seen on TV! Orphan Black

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If you are a fan of Orphan Black, you may have recognized a few familiar “faces” in the new Season 4 set location, Rabbit Hole Comics.

In episode 2, “Transgressive Border Crossing,” formerly separated clones Sarah and Cosima are reunited in a secret lab in the basement of a Comic shop. When Sarah and Mrs. S enter the shop we get a good little “geek out” when they pan the shop and there is an eye-catching display of our favorite games.

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We caught this quick picture to show off a little. Forgive our proud little hearts. :)

Games shown: Bears!, Castle Panic: The Wizard’s Tower expansion, Castle Panic: The Dark Titan expansion. You can even see a bit of Bloodsuckers and The Village Crone if you look closely!

International TableTop Day 2016

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International TableTop Day is almost upon us! Quick! Grab some friends and a couple of games and plan a day around it!

We will be visiting a few local game stores in Austin, TX on the day (April 30th this year) and invite you to join us. Anne-Marie and Justin will be at Wonko’s Toys & Games from 12–2:30 PM CT and then from 4–6 they will be at Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy-Austin. They will be playing Here, Kitty, Kitty! and showing off an early copy of Dastardly Dirigibles (releases in July)!

If you aren’t in the Austin, TX area but want to find a local place to meet some new gamers and hang out for the day’s festivities, check out the list of participating retailers on the official Geek & Sundry International TableTop Day page to find one near you.

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We have also partnered with Geek & Sundry on the official retailer event kits and there will be special, exclusive Castle Panic promo towers at 300 stores around the country. Check with individual game stores to see if they will have a kit and how they will be distributing the goodies, it will vary by location.

Hosting an event with your friends at your house or neighborhood hang out? Be sure to use the official #tabletopday hashtag to connect with people near and far! You can watch the 24-hour live stream on Twitch and see what gamers all over the world are doing to celebrate gaming this year.

DragonCon, Here We Come!

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It’s that time of year again already! Next week we will be heading to Atlanta, GA along with 70,000 other people for DragonCon.

This year the Exhibitor Space is in AmericasMart Building 2. We will be on the First Floor in Booth 1425.

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We will have copies of The Village Crone for advance sale, so you can take it home with you before it releases in stores in September. But we only have a limited supply, so be sure to come by early.

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DragonCon is a unique show and we get to see some pretty sweet costumes walk by the booth! If you are going to the show this year, stop by and say “Hi!” You can pick up the 6th Level Agranok card for The Dark Titan or an Alarm Clock for Bears!

Oh, and we’ll have these super sweet Deluxe Monster Draw Bags for Castle Panic for sale. We just got them back in stock!

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The Dark Titan Review Round Up

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It’s been a few months since Agranok returned from banishment and invaded the Castle Panic towers with his army of Elite Monsters. Now that The Dark Titan expansion has hit table tops around the country (and world), let’s take a look at what people are saying…

Ryan Morgenegg of Deseret News says, “For fans of Castle Panic, the purchase of The Dark Titan expansion is a no-brainer. For a relatively small price, the game offers a bunch of new content  and the toughest challenge yet.” You can read his full review on the Deseret News page.

For those of you new to Castle Panic, check out PostPostModernDad’s review. He introduces new players to the joys and woes of defending your home in Castle Panic and gives a great overview of what this expansion adds to the game, without overwhelming you with the nuances of adding the first expansion, The Wizard’s Tower, as well.

His verdict? “The Dark Titan enhances and underscores Castle Panic‘s inherent cooperative play making it a fantastic addition to the game. Buy it.” Well, we can’t argue with that, now can we?

The Opinionated Gamer (aka pastor guy) states, “fans of the game will find new challenges and interesting twists that don’t overwhelm the sold engine of the base game.”

And Rick Teverbaugh of the Herald Bulletin believes this expansion will remind you why you loved Castle Panic in the first place and encourages you to get it back on the table. There’s no reason your Castle should be gathering dust in your game library!

“I can virtually assure all gamers there will be moments of panic when it seems all might be lost – and with the challenges put forth, that might really be true,” says Teverbaugh.

Still need some convincing of the amount of drama and panic held in the small expansion box? Check out the dramatic retelling of a play through of The Dark Titan in The Dice Tower video review by the fine fellas at Boardgame Corner (click HERE to skip straight to the epic story time!).

Randy and Mark of Boardgame Corner both agree the expansion “is a blast to play” with Mark really loving the 5 different levels of difficulty for Agranok.

“It goes from manageable to completely insane,” Mark says. We’re pretty sure that is what Justin (De Witt, designer of Castle Panic and its expansions) was going for!

If you still haven’t tried The Dark Titan expansion for Castle Panic, we invite you to check out our How to Play videos, including a video on how to play with both expansions. For more information on The Wizard’s Tower expansion, visit our webpage.

Ask for Castle Panic and its expansions at your Friendly Local Game Store!

Bewitching GenCon 2015 – Booth 1949

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GenCon Indy 2015 is fast-approaching and we’re busy getting ready to offer some really fun stuff in our booth (#1949) this year!

First & foremost, we will have The Village Crone out on tables for demos all weekend, as well as Castle Panic with The Dark Titan, Dead Panic, and Bears! with Bears! Trail Mix’d.

We will also have a limited number of advance copies of The Village Crone available each day for purchase. You can get a copy SIX WEEKS in advance of it’s release in mid-September! Come to our booth (#1949) in the morning, as we will only release 100 copies each day.

As if that’s not enough reason to come by the booth, we will have promos for The Dark Titan, Bears! Trail Mix’d, and The Village Crone, so stop by and ask our booth staff. You are definitely going to want to see what we have lined up for The Village Crone!

To read more about our GenCon plans and see what show pricing and demos we will be hosting, visit our GenCon Page on our website.

We’re really excited to see you all in Indianapolis in just a few weeks! Please come by to say hi, play a game, pick up a promo, and meet some of our great volunteers in the new Torch Program!

 

Origins Game Fair ReCap

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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!

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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!

A Little Help With Fighting The Dark Titan

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We’ve been playing the new Castle Panic expansion, The Dark Titan, a lot recently with the official release date, the launch party, and International TableTop Day. We’ve noticed some players appreciate having a little help keeping some of the new rules in mind when they face one of the new Monsters.

We totally understand, these new threats are scary! To help you out we have more than just the Cavalier and Support Tokens. We have How to Play videos!

The official The Dark Titan How to Play video covers it all, but if you need some specific help check out these handy break-out videos dedicated to specific topics. You can also review the rulebook on the pages listed below for each new element.

1. Support Tokens – want a quick overview of how these guys work for you? Check out pages 8-9 of the rulebook and watch this:

2. The Cavalier – this fancy new defender has several special rules that apply to him. You can learn more in the rulebook on pages 4-5 and in this video:

3. The Boom Troll – support is all well and good, but what about those new threats? Learn what the Boom Troll will do in this video and on page 7 of the rules:

4. The Dark Sorceress – She’s one tough lady! Her effects are lasting. You can read about her on page 8 and in this video:

5. Agranok, The Dark Titan himself! – No matter which of the 5 levels of Agranok you face, he is sure to make your day a little tougher. He and his heralds are covered on pages 6-7 in the rulebook and by Justin in this video:

Just in case you want even more panic in your game, you CAN play The Dark Titan with The Wizard’s Tower expansion! That’s a lot of Monsters, but you can do it. We believe in you. For instructions on how to incorporate both expansions in your Castle Panic gameplay watch Justin’s video on playing the two together:

International TableTop Day – Part 2

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We had representatives on the ground at two additional events for International Table Top Day this year. We’re excited the growth of the company has provided us the additional staff so we can play games with more people in more locations on more occasions in the future.

The Flame Hat made its debut at The Malted Meeple for International TableTop Day. Pretty swank, huh?

First up, we started the day in Hudson, OH with Kris and Maureen on location at The Malted Meeple, a gaming cafe that offers a wide variety of snacks and beverages (craft beers and sodas, and hand-crafted milkshakes!) as well as an extensive game library. Kris debuted the Flame Hat in her intro video for the event. You can watch it in action below:

The Malted Meeple main gaming area.
This area was packed all day!

We got set up in an event space off the main room around 11 AM and there were already several gamers at other tables enjoying games. We were set up to handle demos of Castle Panic with The Dark Titan, as well as Dead Panic and Bears! Partway through the day they broke out a copy of Munchkin Panic to show a few gamers how they were different and get a couple more demos underway.

We were running multiple demos all day. Our tables were always full!

Aside from the event room we had copies of the games out at tables in the main room among the throngs of people who kept the staff at The Malted Meeple hopping all day with milkshake orders and lots of snack prep! There was rarely an empty table and the place stayed full well into the evening. Maureen even played a couple of raucous games of Bears! right at the bar!

A rare moment you could actually see the bar, they were so busy all day and even had to call in extra staff!

It was great fun to see our games making the rounds and meet some big fans who came out specifically for Castle Panic swag. We even got to see our Troll coasters all over the place with each drink order!

Image courtesy of The Malted Meeple.
Our Troll coasters in action!

Next up, a few hours later and entire time zone away, Edgar and Gabby were at Dragon’s Lair Comic & Fantasy in Austin, TX for their in-store event!

They ran several demos of Castle Panic with The Dark Titan as well as a few with Castle Panic and BOTH The Dark Titan and The Wizard’s Tower expansions! Edgar also ran some people through some exciting games of Bears! They ran out of space and time as the tables remained full all day, but managed to talk to a lot of people about the upcoming Bears! Trail Mix’d expansion to Bears! as well as the forthcoming The Village Crone, expected out this fall.

Image courtesy of Dragon’s Lair Austin
Edgar giving the Castle Panic + The Dark Titan + The Wizard’s Tower demo

Dragon’s Lair is an awesome store and they planned a big event with several game companies represented and lots of open gaming happening. The staff there was very accommodating and supportive and the event attendees were great fun. There were even a few people who survived The Dark Titan! It was a long day full of fun, Castle destruction, and awesome people.

We look forward to future events at Dragon’s Lair and hope to see more of the Austin gaming community out at events like this. Thanks to the folks at Dragon’s Lair and The Malted Meeple for helping us have such a successful International TableTop Day!

Kris & Maureen will be back at The Malted Meeple later in the month as we are in their Publisher Spotlight this month. So if you are local in Ohio and missed TableTop Day you get a second chance at the fun. Check our calendar and watch our Facebook for information on the next visit.

You’ll be seeing more of Edgar as well as he heads up our new volunteer corps, The Torch Program. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Fireside Games, we are currently actively recruiting for the Austin area as well as for GenCon 2015. Contact us for more details.

International TableTop Day – Part 1

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Anne-Marie and Justin took a whirlwind trip to LA to attend the flagship TableTop Day event at Geek & Sundry’s secret Headquarters in Burbank. The day started off early with people lining up to get in. The “secret” headquarters weren’t so secret with giant, inflatable G&S logos everywhere, so it was pretty easy to find.

Justin and Anne-Marie got there early and were able to see the place while it was still empty. Geek & Sundry has a pretty sweet soundstage to work with!

Since we were sponsors of TableTop Day, we were given a VIP table where we could show off The Dark Titan. We had help this year from local game gurus, Eric Burgess and Devi Hughes. These two were awesome, running demos and keeping players entertained all day long. We couldn’t have done the event without them! Plus Eric brought famous strawberry donuts from The Donut Man, which of course Justin had to try.

 

Before long, the doors were open and gamers came flooding in! Tables were filled and many games began. People were excited to try The Dark Titan, but a lot of the people that came by the table hadn’t played Castle Panic yet at all. They soon realized they were getting a special treat when the designer of the game taught them how to play!

Devi gets some players started on a game of Castle Panic with The Dark Titan.

Felica Day kicked things off with a quick speech and was there all day playing games with people and shaking hands. Geek & Sundry had a library where players could check out games, as well as a merchandise booth where you could get a drink or pick up some sweet G&S swag!

While Eric and Devi taught some demos, Justin and Anne-Marie went out into the crowd to visit with fans and take in the whole event. We found some Bears! players, and Anne-Marie was able to teach the game to them, but she didn’t get the highest score that game!

There was a photo op with a couch and cutout of Felica Day that got a lot of attention that day as well as a Loser’s Couch. Here our buddy Patrick from Crash Games poses with a group of players that were defeated.

 

It was a great time with a great feel to it. Justin took this panorama shot standing in the middle of the soundstage, which kind of gives you a little bit of the feel of the whole thing.

Click to enlarge

 

The event was so large, they had to extend it out of the soundstage and into a tented area in the parking lot. And it was NEVER empty.

We also encountered a group of Munchkin players diving into the world of Munchkin Panic, so we stopped to talk with them. Once they realized they were talking with the designer of the game, they wanted to get their photo taken with Anne-Marie. It was a lot of fun to meet fans of our games at this event, since so many of them are new to gaming they are very passionate and very excited to meet the creators in person.

 

There were also 3 food trucks at the event providing Hawaiian shaved ice, Japanese-style hotdogs and gourmet grilled cheese. The lines may have been long, but it was worth it.

 

Later in the afternoon, Wil Wheaton arrived and thanked everyone for coming. It’s fun to see how drawn to him people are, and he really does make a great ambassador for gaming. He was running a live stream on Twitch that should be available shortly, and we’ll let you know once we have access to that.

We ran a bunch more demos and made a lot of players happy. Even if Agranok did crush their towers, players still left with smiles on their faces.

 

Eventually though, 6:00 rolled around, and it was time to close down the event. Wil and Felicia gave a very nice closing speech reminding everyone that this hobby brings us all together like nothing else and also pointing out that this year TableTop Day was celebrated on every continent on the planet, including Antarctica! It was really great to be a part of something so big, and we hope everyone had a blast playing games with old friends and new ones. Thanks to everyone that helped organize an event, or just joined one to make it more fun!

The Dark Titan Launch Party!

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It’s official, The Dark Titan is now available everywhere! Last Saturday, we headed out to local Austin store, Wonko’s to celebrate the release of this highly-anticipated expansion to Castle Panic.

We started up our first few games and then took a brief break to slice up another one of our now famous cakes! Jarred once again went above and beyond by creating a fabulous cake featuring the Dark Titan himself, Agranok, looming out of a Castle-shaped base.  Agranok was chocolate-covered Rice Krispies, and the cake was chocolate with cherry filling. The towers were ice cream cones filled with cake, so the entire thing was edible. To top it off, Jarred placed two small containers in the cake that when filled with dry ice and water caused spooky smoke to flow out over the Castle, just like the cover of the game!

 

After being devoured in his delicious cake form, the Dark Titan came back for revenge in board game form! Game after game saw walls crushed and towers destroyed as players felt the wrath of Agranok!

 

Agranok was defeated in our first game and the Castle survived, but our next game wouldn’t fare so well. Once again our villain showed no mercy to children, as these excited young gamers were about to find out when he made his way into their Castle along with a few Heralds for backup.

 

As the afternoon went on, we started up new games to let players try their hand at the new expansion. Here, Anne-Marie gets a family up to speed before they dive in.

 

In between games, Justin and Anne-Marie signed copies of the base game as well as both expansions. Wonko’s could barely keep up with demand as they sold out of The Wizard’s Tower and The Dark Titan was flying off the shelf! The day ended with many happy gamers going home with new games, promo cards, happy memories, and bellies full of cake. We wish all our fans out there the best of luck in taking on this newest challenge. Here’s to many more successful battles and saved Castles!