GTS Press Conf. #2: Chaosmos, Ares Games, North Star Games, CMON

After Arcane Wonders and Crystal Commerce spoke at the press conference, we heard from four more exhibitors, Mirror Box Games, Ares Games, North Star Games, and Cool Mini or Not.

Mirror Box Games: Chaosmos

Joey Vigour from Mirror Box Games presented Chaosmos. While still in development, Chaosmos is a science fiction board game wherein the 2-4 players search for the mysterious singularity, the Ovoid, in a “cosmic treasure hunt.” The game is still so new that brothers Joey and Danny Vigour are still deciding on its final components, but have a rough estimate of a $40-50 price. What’s clear to the Brothers Vigour and their two co-designers is that Chaosmos’s play style is “emergent”, with no particular path to victory. Whoever holds the Ovoid at the end of the game will be the victor. Players who have good memories and deductive powers though will be rewarded because the game has a Clue-like element with an envelope on each of the game’s 10 planets. Players have a maximum 7-card hand, but can trade out cards on the planets. The Pheromonic Harpoon is a potent weapon card in Chaosmos, but a player with the Pheromonic Recoiler card can resist its devastating effects. Keeping track of where the two device cards are is part of the challenge of the game, but the focus of Chaosmos isn’t really battles, says Vigour. Instead, battles are just a further way of obtaining information.

Three players trying new board game Chaosmos

Brothers Joey and Danny Vigour (center and left) Demo Chaosmos at the Mirror Box Games Booth

In addition to the 10 planets, there are also 10 aliens, each with its own unique powerful racial ability. These racial abilities combined with players’ hands of cards makes “every player begin to start thinking they’re invincible,” according to elder brother Joey Vigour. For example, the alien Drusu the Scryer can look at other players’ hands and into the planetary envelopes with his Scrying ability. A powerful ability, but the Scryer can also tip off his opponents by his probable knowledge of the Ovoid’s location, so discretion is advised. Mirror Box Games’ efforts at demoing the game at Game Night and in the Exhibitors’ Hall elicited interest from attending distributors and game publishers, with at least one prominent company making the brothers a serious offer at the show. Mirror Box Games has not rushed to a decision about how Chaosmos will be produced and released, but their experience goes to show just how powerful the connections made at the GAMA Trade Show can be.

Diagonal view of board game Chaosmos with 10 planets and play pieces at GAMA Trade Show with three players

Danny Vigour Points to Alien Playing Piece on One of Chaosmos’s Ten Planets

Ares Games

Model miniature ships battle in Sails of Glory on blue mat representing ocean

Sails of Glory: Still Kickstarting

Roberto Di Maglio briefly touched upon Ares Games’ past releases, Wings of Glory, Lord of Middle-earth, Aztlán, and Micro Monsters. The Italian native explained that Ares Games released World War I and World War II lines of pre-assembled and prepainted miniature planes “realistic enough for simulationists” for Wings of Glory in 2012. The game’s mechanic of a maneuver deck of cards to move the planes around has been a hit and Ares Games adapted the mechanic for their Age of Sail game, Sails of Glory. The first Kickstarter attempt for Ares Games, Sails of Glory is currently funded, but still open for backers. The game is set in the Napoleonic era. Kickstarter has also doubled the hits to Ares Games’ website, Di Maglio revealed.

Shiny plastic sci-fi miniatures for board game The Galaxy Defenders on hexagonal playing surface

Plastic Sci-Fi Miniatures from The Galaxy Defenders from Ares Games

Two other games Ares Games will be launching later this year are The Galaxy Defenders and Inkognito. The Galaxy Defenders is a cooperative game using sci-fi miniatures with the players taking the part of the Terrans and battling against the AI aliens. Di Maglio expects an August or September release for the game. Inkognito will remain close to the spirit of the classic game released by Milton Bradley in 1988.

Large round playing pieces for board game Inkognito by Ares Games

The Stylized Playing Pieces of Inkognito Which Ares Games Will Release Later This Year

North Star Games: Clubs

Luke Warren from North Star Games kept his talk quite brief, focusing on the company’s newest release, Clubs. Clubs marks North Star Games’ entry into the light strategy market with the trick-taking game for 2-6 players, which takes 30 minutes to play. Retailing for only $14, it releases in April and may appear in Barnes & Noble stores. Expect a review of Clubs on Craven Games in the near future. Warren also noted that Wits and Wagers – Party will be replacing the regular version of Wits and Wagers in mass markets.

Light strategy card game Clubs marketing artwork with box cover from North Star Games

Cool Mini or Not

Dave Doust wearing Cool Mini or Not shirt gestures with left hand at press conference

CMON Director Dave Doust

David Doust introduced himself as a director at Cool Mini or Not, then provided a little overview of CMON’s 11-year history, describing the CMON of the past as a place where he used to sell boutique miniatures and users would upload their own miniatures for rating. Now CMON has many partners and Doust referenced Rivet Wars as an example of the company’s success with Kickstarter and multiple brands, with CMON releasing 6-8 titles a year. Rivet Wars is also exclusively distributed by ACD, Doust noted. He then turned to another huge release, Zombicide, and pointed out that alpha gamer Kickstarter backers who receive the game tend to become salesmen for the game for retailers.

Cool Mini or Not in the Exhibitors’ Hall

CMON had a much more modest booth compared to their 2012 GTS booth or their sprawling 2012 Gen Con complex. The two glass display cases they brought though were packed with miniatures and they had a recognizable face backing up Sedition Wars in the form of Mike McVey.

Thin British painter Mike McVey with crossed arms in front of Zombicide poster at Cool Mini booth

Miniature Gaming and Painting Legend Mike McVey at the CMON GTS Booth

Some of the Zombicide miniatures on display were brand new, a CMON booth worker pointed out. He also showed the new mechanic whereby the survivors turn into zombies themselves by flipping over Amy’s character card, as well as the new survivor Derek, before slowly thumbing through the Toxic City Mall rulebook.

An Interview with Guillotine Games About Zombicide

Nicolas Raoult of Guillotine Games organized the studio’s responses to the following questions. Guillotine Games is a French company and the designers of the stunning Zombicide which packs in 70+ highly-detailed miniatures and will be coming out this August.

A Little About Guillotine Games

Box artwork for Zombicide featuring Survivors fending off attacking zombies

Zombicide box art courtesy Guillotine Games

CG:: Obviously when Paolo Parente left Rackham he went on to do DUST Studio, but what is the background of the rest of the designers and artists at Guillotine Games from Rackham?
GG: Rackham was a unique experience in a good way and, sadly, in a bad way. We were lucky to be part of a group of very talented people. When you look around in our little industry you will always find someone who had a short or a long experience there. We don’t look too much at the past and I don’t think it is important to know what we did in our “previous life”, what matters is today.
CG: How did Guillotine Games’s partnership with CoolMiniorNot come into being?
GG: Percy and Raphael are very good friends of Chern and David (CoolMiniOrNot directors), when it was time to sell the project it was a natural fit, especially after the great success of Super Dungeon Explore.
CG: How do the staff feel about CMON reviving Confrontation?
GG: As mentioned above, we look at our own garden and we wish to Legacy Miniatures and CoolMiniOrNot the best outcome possible.

Zombicide Gameplay

Obese blood-smeared Fatty zombie artwork for Zombicide

Fatty artwork courtesy Guillotine Games

CG: Zombicide has both fast-moving and slow-moving zombies. Is the staff divided on what their favorite sort of zombies are?
GG: Raphaël is more inclined toward the “infected”, predators, feral-type of zombies. Nicolas, whatever he does, always end up accompanied with tons of undead friends. Jean-Baptiste just love all zombies as long as his survivors carry heavy weapons! Frankly speaking, classic-type or infected-type, we like all types of zombies. No discrimination: everyone dies!
CG: What are the best equipment cards to get in the game?
GG: Some Equipment cards are a rank above their counterparts, like the shotgun or chainsaw, for example. However, the best Equipments are made to suit a specific type of gameplay. Among our favorites are, of course, the Molotov, but also Ma’s Shotgun (a kind of gunblade, Raph’s beloved one), Sub MG’s used in Dual mode (Jean-Baptiste’s absolute sin) and the sniper rifle advanced weaponry (Nicolas’ special).
CG: To kill the Abomination the Survivors need the Molotov Cocktail. What was the process for deciding that game mechanic? Is it an homage to combining herbs in Resident Evil games or just the sad reality of facing such a huge fattie?
GG: The Molotov not only destroys the Abomination, but burns everything in the targeted area. It was designed to be the one-use-only “nuke” of the game.
CG: Your game is designed for cooperation. How easy would it be for one player to choose to control the zombies himself and try to kill his friends off? Would that mechanic work?
GG: It would be possible with a few rules adjustments and would make the game even harder. For experienced players only! However, Guillotine Games’ motto is “liberté, égalité, fraternité” (freedom, equality, fraternity). We really like cooperative games because we’re best at playing alongside each other, not against each other.

Expansions to Zombicide, Influences, and Further Plans

CG: Will Zombicide have Survivor character expansion packs adding in new characters or adding new villains to battle against?
GG: Yes, new Survivors and Zombies are planned. You’ll hear from them soon, but some pictures are already available on the internet. Just look for them and you’ll find them… sooner or later.
CG: What about a mime Survivor?
GG: We’ll make him look like Jean Dujardin.
CG: Can we ever expect a Metro expansion? Maybe with Jean Reno or Christopher Lambert characters?
GG: We already thought about a Metro expansion. We love the atmosphere and rotten air down there. It would be quite a deal of work with the tiles but… well, we will think about it.
CG: Will Zombicide be just a game or do you see it as more, such as a setting?
GG: We see it as a setting.
CG: Will there be comics or other derivative works or licensees in the setting?
GG: We’d love it!

Zombicide's 6 Survivor miniatures with sculpts of 4 varities of zombies in the game

Zombicide’s 6 Survivors with the 4 Varieties of Zombie Below, image courtesy Guillotine Games

CG: How much do you guys read or watch “The Walking Dead”?
GG: Nicolas read the whole of them until the 70-something issue in four days. He fell in it and had nightmares, as usual. “The Walking Dead” was one of the major sources of inspiration for Zombicide. The game is way funnier, though, and more “pulpish”.
CG: Is Todd Breitenstein’s Zombies popular in France? Obviously your miniatures are fully sculpted and very high quality, but as designers how much thought do you give to a competitor in the market?
GG: Zombies are popular and gave (un)life to lots of successful games. Zombies is certainly the pioneer. We tried to give a new and fresh vision of the archetype. There are many zombie games around in the market and some we love and play. 
CG: Zombies are obviously quite popular right now. How much was the design of the game influenced by the possibility that it may not be hardcore gamers playing it, but instead fans of the living dead?
GG: We designed and tested the game to be also playable by more casual gamers. And it was a success!
CG: Favorite zombie movies of all time from the staff?
GG: Zombicide was the most heavily influenced by “Zombieland” and “The Walking Dead”. The team also took inspiration from Romero’s films and more modern artworks like “28 Days Later”.
CG: Will Guillotine Games be expanding into other genres like fantasy or science fiction?
GG: Yes! 
CG: Will anyone from Guillotine be making the trip out to promote Zombicide at Gen Con in August?
GG: A few members of Guillotine Games will be at Gen Con. Players will be able to test the first Zombicide expansion and… a secret new game!

Below Dave Doust from CoolMiniorNot talks a little about Zombicide at the recent 2012 GAMA Trade Show, as well as a look at the resin prototype miniatures on Zombicide’s playing tiles.