Crossroad Games & Diversions Fall Under the Spell

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Well, that was a whirlwind tour! Thirteen stops in 25 days across 6 states! No wonder we’re tired.

crossroad-games-logoThe leaves are changing colors and there is a distinct chill in the air. It must be the approach of autumn and the time of Witches. It’s also the 12th stop on our Something Wicked Tour as we visit Crossroad Games in Standish, Maine!

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This was a quick visit on our tour as we setup The Village Crone and spent some time chatting with Lacey and Chuck about the game business while waiting for some players to finish up another game.

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Pretty soon it was game on and our players wasted no time in getting down to the business of scoring schemes. Familiars were flying and Villagers were changing to frogs and back into humans faster than you could say “Eye of Newt”!

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The next game was just as fun, with the Forge filling up with frogs and some quick scoring at the end that took everyone by surprise.

We stuck around to sign some games and visit with fans, then it was time to hit the road.

diversions-logoIt was a dark and stormy night… The 13th store visit on the 13th of October. Coincidence? We think not! But we couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up our Something Wicked Tour here in New England!

We made our way to Diversions Puzzles & Games in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and met up with the Events Coordinator, Ian, who let us have our pick of tables in their very cool play space downstairs.

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Diversions is another one of those “Tardis-esque” game stores that has a really small front window, but once you get inside it just keeps going to reveal a massive amount of clean, open space filled with well-organized games, clearly displayed and more puzzles than we’ve ever seen in one spot. The downstairs play space is really big and made for a really great place to run our last demos of the tour.

Something_Wicked_Diversions_Game_NightWe had barely set up the game when the first group gathered around and before you could say “Broomstick” we had a 6-player game up and running. As more gamers flocked to see what was happening it became clear we needed to spread the fun, so we set up a second game and ran another group through that.

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Once the first game ended we had just enough time to catch our breath and take some photos before we got our third group started. This turned into a huge battle with players getting caught in a defensive battle of trying to use Protection to stop the other players from completing their schemes. It may seem like it works on paper, but it’s a losing strategy and sure enough, both players ran out of ingredients and couldn’t recover. But minutes after finishing the game, there was nothing but discussion of new strategies and “next time” plans being made.

We’ve had a lot of fun crisscrossing New England, catching some of spooky sights, playing games with so many people, and getting to see more of the Friendly Local Game Stores that keep board gaming accessible and fun. Thanks for joining us on our journey. We hope you’ve had fun following along. Now make sure you pick up your own copy of The Village Crone and bring fun home!

Hunting Monsters and Visiting Graveyards – Spooky Schemes Scored!

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Our weary travelers have to score two more points as they wind down the Something Wicked Tour. Can they do it? Read on and find out…

1 POINT: Search for the Unexplainable – (Lake Champlain, VT) COMPLETED
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The legends of a mysterious creature that lives in Lake Champlain go back centuries. The native Americans had their stories and colonial settlers had sightings that have continued up until just a few years ago.

I FOUND CHAMP! I FOUND CHA . . . Oh wait. Nevermind.

Okay, so we “found” Champ on the edge of Lake Champlain. This monster hunting stuff is easy!

“Champ” as the beast is called, has been a mystery for years, but not anymore. We found him! Watch the video to see our brave adventure as we go for our twelfth Witches Scheme on our Something Wicked Tour. Continue reading Hunting Monsters and Visiting Graveyards – Spooky Schemes Scored!

Magic, Mayhem, and Familiars – More Tour Schemes Completed

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There’s been so much to share with the Something Wicked Tour store visits and the launch of The Village Crone, we’ve gotten a wee bit behind on sharing the meta game Justin & Anne-Marie are playing! Here’s what they completed in the last few days in Massachusetts before heading off to New York and Connecticut (we’ll be sharing those schemes next week).

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1 Point: Conjure a Familiar – Locate a Familiar in the Cambridge Village Green (Cambridge, MA) – COMPLETED

In The Village Crone, each witch has a different Familiar. The Familiars to choose from are: Bats, Rats, Cats, Snakes, Spicers, and Crows/Ravens. Anne-Marie and Justin had to scour the Cambridge Village Green to find one of these creatures to score this point.

Things can never be easy, now can they? The Cambridge Village Green was under construction at the time of their visit, so they had to get creative to find any creatures who stuck around, and hadn’t gone into their winter dens yet.

magic-mayhem-scheme3 Points: Marry Magic & Mayhem – (Boston, MA) – COMPLETED
Three parts to this scheme include “Visiting Phineas Gage’s Skull at the Warren Anatomical Museum, Crossing Harvard Bridge, and Visiting Boston Neck Gallows“.

Phineas Gage was a railway worker in 1800s who famously survived an accident in which a large metal rod impaled his head, destroying much of his frontal lobe, but not killing him. He lived for another 12 years and has become a case study for brain and behavior for psychology and neurology enthusiasts and professionals alike. His skull is on display at the Warren Anatomical Museum.

The Harvard Bridge connects Cambridge and Boston. It is the site of a famous Harry Houdini stunt where he was shackled and jumped off the bridge into freezing water below. Spectators waited an agonizing 40 seconds before Houdini broke the surface of the water, shackle-less, to solidify his fame as a magician. Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926.

The Boston Neck, a narrow strip of land connecting the Boston peninsula to the mainland, was the former home of the Gallows where the first person sentenced to death for witchcraft was executed.

What’s the Score?
With the 3 points they scored previously, and the 4 points they scored above, Justin and Anne-Marie are at a total of 7 points toward the 13 they need. There’s plenty of spooky left to share, so stay tuned!

Ghosts, Witches, and a History Lesson – Tour Schemes Completed

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Riding with ghosts, witnessing history, and exploring the paranormal… just a few of the objectives Justin and Anne-Marie had to complete to score the first seven points of the Something Wicked Tour meta game. Let’s take a look at the Schemes they were following and whether they accomplished them or not!

1 Point: Ride with the Damned – take the Trolley of the Doomed (Boston, MA) – COMPLETED

Our first scheme “Ride with the Damned” took us on a dark and spooky ride through historic Boston. We visited Copp’s Hill burying ground, saw the home of the last victim of the Boston Strangler, spent some time with the occupants of the Granary Burying Ground and more. The city is crawling with ghosts and we survived our encounter to score our first Witch’s Scheme!

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Copps Hill Tombstone: This 3 part tombstone is a sad marker of 3 untimely deaths. George Worthylake’s tombstone is on the left, his wife’s on the right and their young daughter’s in the middle. The three were drowned while returning to Boston Lighthouse at Beacon Island where George was keeper. Strangely enough, George’s replacement was found drowned days after taking up the position, giving rise to the legend that the lighthouse was cursed. To this day, a phantom lightkeeper can be seen shining his lantern on the island and climbing the lighthouse stairs. Locals believe it to be George Worthylake, which means this is a photo of the grave of an actual ghost!

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Franklin Grave: Wow, the actual grave of Benjamin Franklin! . . . is in Philadelphia. This monument is where his parents are born.

Paul Revere grave and memorial
Paul Revere grave and memorial

Paul Revere Grave: The large marker in the center is a monument to the famous rider. The tiny tombstone on the bottom right is where he is actually buried.

2 Points: Pay Respects to the Accused – visit the Salem Witch Museum & Memorial (Salem, MA) – COMPLETED

What witch focused tour would be complete without a visit to Salem, MA? We took some time to absorb the history and tragedy of the Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692.

The Witch Trial Memorial is a somber place to remember what happened here. It’s a simple, but touching memorial with stone benches bearing the names of those who were hanged for witchcraft.

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Actual quotes from the accused are carved into the stone threshold of the memorial.

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A plaque at the memorial recaps the trials and lists the names of all the hanged victims.

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The Salem Witch Museum has a retelling of the events that surrounded the hysteria of the trials as well as a look at witches through history.

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On a lighter note, there is a cool statue of Samantha Stevens from Bewitched in the middle of town. Anne-Marie loved this show growing up and later episodes were actually filmed in Salem.

What’s the Score?

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At this point Anne-Marie and Justin have scored 3 points total towards the 13 they need by the end of the Something Wicked tour in October. We’ll be sharing their first 3-point scheme soon, so stay tuned!

Have you visited any of these places? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Special Tour Schemes for Justin & Anne-Marie!

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Join Justin & Anne-Marie on the Something Wicked Tour, and immerse yourself in the spirit of the tour with a little meta-game.

Follow along as they try to complete their own set of Tour Schemes over the next few weeks. Similar to your goals in The Village Crone, they will have to achieve the objectives on the Scheme Cards to score those points. Will they be able to score a total of 13 points before the last tour date? Stay tuned and see as we share these little extras with you!

The first set of Schemes Justin & Anne-Marie need to complete while they are in the Boston area!
The first set of Schemes Justin & Anne-Marie need to complete while they are in the Boston area!

Up first is a series of schemes in the Boston area. If you see them out and about, say hi, but don’t distract them from their purpose, they want to WIN this tour!

Schemes on Deck:

1 Point: RIDE WITH THE DAMNED – Take the “Trolley of the Doomed” Ghost Tour

1 Point: CONJURE A FAMILIAR – Spot a Familiar in the Cambridge Village Green

2 Points: PAY RESPECTS TO THE ACCUSED – Visit the Salem Witch Trials Memorial & Visit the Salem Witch Museum

3 Points: MARRY MAGIC & MAYHEM – View Phineas Gage’s Skull, Cross Harvard Bridge, & Visit Boston Neck Gallows

They will be providing proof of their Schemes on social media with photos and videos, so watch our YouTube Channel, Facebook Page, and Twitter & Instagram accounts for details.

(For bonus points, you can play along… share your experiences with any of the events/situations on their scheme cards – or make up your own! – through social media. Tag your posts using #SomethingWicked!)

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The Dark Titan Descends on San Angelo

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San Angelo is small town in West Texas that was founded in the 1800’s when the U.S. constructed Fort Concho in an attempt to defend frontier settlers from hostile attackers. It seems very fitting then that San Angelo would be the final stop of The Dark Titan Cometh tour. After all, here is where many brave defenders would make their stand against one very hostile, 8-point attacker and his army of monsters!

San Angelo also happens to be the home of Specialties Games, Toys, & Gifts, one of our favorite stores that we first visited back in 2013 during our West by Southwest tour. We arrived on Monday afternoon and were quickly greeted by owners George and Linda Bell and a crowd of enthusiastic players. After visiting for a short time, we set up a game of Castle Panic, The Wizard’s Tower, and The Dark Titan and the great battle began!

The first game got off to a terrifying start after losing the Wizard’s Tower to a boulder early in the game. Our players fought on through a roller coaster of last-minute saves and heroic comebacks, but in the end the ominous foreshadowing from earlier in the game came true as a Trebuchet knocked down the last tower right after our heroes had cleared monsters from the Castle ring. There was much sadness.

But not for long!

Our second group of players (and 1 returning player from the first game) took their places around the table and the battle with Agranok was begun again.

This time our players kept their wits and their walls up, and things went much better. At least for a while . . . Then the Wizard’s Tower was destroyed and the game took a turn for the worse. Agranok was destroyed shortly after entering the battle, but he brought back 3 of his Heralds before succumbing to our defenders blows. The sudden appearance of the Orc Warlord pushed 2 Heralds into the Castle ring, and despite the players best efforts, the final tower fell under attack from a Herald, and the land was cast into darkness.

That’s never something you want to see . . .

 

During all this medieval combat, we visited with our friend Rick Perez from Let’s Level Up as well as several other fans who we hadn’t seen since our 2013 visit. There were lots of games signed and cookies eaten as well. (Thanks to Linda for providing snacks!) It was a great afternoon and a fantastic way to finish off The Dark Titan Cometh Tour! We said our goodbyes, packed up the minivan, and headed out for a quick bite to eat before hitting the road for Austin and some well-earned rest.

With the tour ending, that means it’s your turn to finally face down Agranok! The Dark Titan will be officially available for sale on April 1st, and if you order it from our web store, you’ll receive the special promotional Level 6 version of Agranok that we’ve been handing out during the tour. This is an exclusive card that you won’t find anywhere else, so gather your friends and see if you can make your stand against the Dark Titan!

The Dark Titan Attacks Game Depot

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The second to last stop on The Dark Titan Cometh Tour was to one of our favorite stores, Game Depot in Tempe, Arizona. We first visited this great shop during our West by Southwest tour in 2013 and had a fantastic visit with a huge turnout, so we knew we were in for a good time. (Check out our blog post about that visit.) Sure enough, as we approached the store we could see our poster and postcards proudly displayed on the window and a huge crowd waiting for us inside.

 We can’t say enough about the owners, Patty and David. They have turned their store into a community and never miss the chance to turn an event into a celebration. Patty even wore her WXSW button from 2013 and made an amazing wizard’s tower out of our games!

As soon as we walked into the store we were seeing familiar faces from our visit 2 years ago. Some of our smaller fans had gotten bigger and were now ready for the new challenges of the expansions. After hugs and hellos, it was time to get to fightin’ monsters! We set up 2 games of Castle Panic with The Dark Titan and 1 game with Castle Panic, The Wizard’s Tower, and The Dark Titan and started filling seats.

One familiar face that we were glad to see again was our friend Noble Hess. He is our biggest fan in the area and acts as the Fireside Games unofficial ambassador at Game Depot. Just like back in 2013, he jumped right in and helped us out. We showed Noble how to play The Dark Titan, and he became our extra hand for the rest of the day, helping when we were too busy and answering questions that came up. Thanks again, Noble!

That’s Noble there in the middle on the right, working hard to keep that final Tower standing!

 Agranok showed up throughout the day, varying in strength from level 1 to level 4, and even the promo level 6 for one brave group of gamers. (That didn’t work out so good for them, but they came close!) Some Castles survived and others were crushed, including one painfully classic moment where a player drew Draw 3 Monsters, Draw 4 Monsters, and the Goblin King all in one turn.

 Through nail-biting victories and Castle-stomping defeats, everyone had a great time. It was nonstop Castle defending the entire day, with new games starting as soon as one game ended. We did have to pause every few minutes to sign a game or two for happy fans, which is always fun for us. It was great to see so many folks who enjoy our game come back years later to experience the next chapter in the story.

 As the day wound down, we had our final victory and said goodbye to all the fantastic people that came out for the event. We enjoyed a late dinner with Patty, Dave, and Noble and then headed off for a well deserved rest. If you’re in the Phoenix area, or just passing through, you really owe it to yourself to visit Game Depot and say hi to the gang.

We’re headed to Specialities Games, Toys & Gifts in San Angelo, Texas (another store we fell in love with on the WXSW tour!), for an event on Monday, March 30th, at 4:00 p.m. that will be the final stop of The Dark Titan Cometh Tour!

Get a look at the bustling event at Game Depot in this video:

The Dark Titan Terrorizes the Haunted Game Cafe!

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It may have looked like a bright, sunny day in Fort Collins, Colorado, but inside the Haunted Game Cafe shadows fell as huge monsters wreaked havoc on brave defenders!

We arrived at the second stop on The Dark Titan Cometh Tour, The Haunted Game Cafe, late in the afternoon. This awesome coffee shop and game store combo is dripping with ghostly ambiance, from the ghosts and spiders hanging on the walls to the appropriately named drinks like the Zombie Elvis and Vampire’s Kiss. We met with the owner, Gary Sproul, and started setting up on a few of the many gaming tables available.

Before we unleashed Agranok upon the masses, Justin took a few minutes to talk with Mark and Randy of The Boardgame Corner. We talked about The Dark Titan Cometh Tour and some of the awesome new elements in the expansion. Look for that interview to be posted on The Boardgame Corner’s website soon.

Once we unpacked our gear, it was time to slay some Monsters! We had quite a crowd that was eager to make their stand, and we quickly had 3 games up and running. The first game was Castle Panic with The Dark Titan expansion, and our team started strong, with the defenders keeping the Monsters at bay early.

The first game of the night is setup and ready to begin!

That changed when a series of Elite Monsters all arrived in the same arc and a rush of Heralds brought a level 4 Agranok onto the field. There are 5 levels of Agranok in the game, with level 1 being the least powerful and level 5 being the most dangerous, so once the level 4 was revealed, the team knew what they were in for. They made short work of the Elites, but Agranok stomped his way into the Castle, and before our heroes could drive him back, he was able to destroy their final tower.

“Don’t worry guys, it’s just an 8pt Monster and his friend charging toward our broken Castle. What could go wrong?”

Another table saw both expansions combined for a Wizard’s TowerDark Titan extravaganza. This was an experienced team that used their Wizard cards wisely to keep the monsters under control. There were several moments of panic when walls were falling faster than they could rebuild them, but some clever cardplay and tough choices meant that when a level 3 Agranok finally arrived, they were ready. Agranok charged the Castle but was defeated by a flurry of magic spells and steel weapons. Huzzah!

Mixing both The Wizard’s Tower and The Dark Titan makes for some great battles.

Over on another table, the gang from The Boardgame Corner was getting their chance to try out the expansion added to the base game. A rush of Elite Monsters proved to be no problem for this crew as they knocked down wave after wave of attackers. Some bad rolls and even worse draws saw the Castle damaged, but not defeated. When the Heralds finally summoned Agranok, our heroes whittled him down to his last few points. They were poised to finish him off with a brave charge from the Cavalier, but a Monsters Move token took the Dark Titan out of their reach and their last Tower crumbled under his claws. “We were SO close!” Mark laughed, with a huge grin.

Mark and Randy from the Boardgame Corner try out The Dark Titan

We played more games and then had an informal Q&A session, where Justin talked about his design process and even teased some ideas for future Castle Panic expansions. The Boardgame Corner filmed a short segment that gives a closer look at some of the components in The Dark Titan, so be sure to check that out once it airs.

We wrapped up a great evening with a short interview with Gary, and filmed a look at his amazing hangout. Watch our video, and we’ll see you at the next stop on The Dark Titan Cometh Tour, at Adventurer’s Quarter in Arvada, CO, on Tuesday, February 10th from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.!

“The Dark Titan Cometh” Tour Dates

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We’re taking this show on the road!

Fireside Games will be traveling to the mountains January–March 2015, bringing “The Dark Titan Cometh” Tour to Denver and Salt Lake City and surrounding areas.

Here are the dates and venues we currently have booked. Check back often as we may be adding more!

January 25    12–5pm    Shep’s Games    Aurora, CO
February 7    6–9pm    The Haunted Games Cafe   Fort Collins, CO
February 10  5–9pm    Adventurer’s Quarter    Arvada, CO
February 25    5–9pm    Blakfyre Games    Pleasant Grove, UT

February 28    6–10pm        Game Haven    West Jordan, UT
March 2    6–10pm        Game Haven    Bountiful, UT

March 4    6–10pm        Game Night Games    Salt Lake City, UT
March 7    12–4pm        Dragon’s Keep    Provo, UT
March 9    7–10pm    Dragon’s Keep    Lehi, UT
March 12    5–8pm        Game Haven    Tooele, UT
March 28    12–7pm       Game Depot    Tempe, AZ

 

The Dark Titan is the next expansion to Castle Panic, our cooperative tower defense board game. It is scheduled for a Spring 2015 release. You can learn more about The Dark Titan and it’s related base game, Castle Panic, and additional expansion, The Wizard’s Tower on our website.

Pair A Dice Games and Game Empire Visits This Weekend!

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If you’re in the San Diego area, we’re going to be in your neighborhood and we’re bringing games! Come hang out with us this Saturday from 1pm-6pm at Pair A Dice Games in Vista, or on Sunday from 3pm-close at Game Empire in San Diego. Both events will have demos, swag, and a Bears! tournament, so you won’t want to regret missing this. Let’s play some games!