News from the Bottom Shelf

It's designer week here on the Bottom Shelf where we'll take a look at news from the minds of three very different board game designers. A couple of hard to find card games are now available and a first look at one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

Just as it's hitting its peak in popularity, X-Files is receiving the board game treatment it deserves. OK, it's a little late to the party to the point that it makes Firefly: The Game look timely, but it does look promising so far. Designer Kevin Wilson, of Arkham Horror and Descent: Journeys in the Dark fame, has started giving details about his latest design. The game will cover the first 3 seasons of the show and have one player controlling the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man while everyone else will play as FBI agents doing their best to solve various X-Files. IDW Games plans to release the game in July which is good news for a certain someone who's birthday happens to fall in the same month. (I hope you read this mom!)

Prolific and influential board game designer Uwe Rosenberg has been keeping  a report on the development of his most popular game, Agricola. It's as exhaustive, extensive and incredibly detailed as you would expect from the person who created a game about 17th century European farming. The index alone boasts 100 entries! If anything, it shows just how much work goes into the creation of a single game.

Out of the mind of one designer and into another, G. Gambil interviews Tom Lehman on the latest episode of his excellent The Long View podcast. Lehman is most well known for having his name on the covers of Pandemic and Race for the Galaxy, but he's been designing games for quite a while and has a lot of experiences to share from his failed publishing days to creating mega hits. At nearly three hours, the podcast runs a bit longer than usual, but if you're at all curious about life behind the scenes of a board game it's well worth the listen.

Sushi Go!, quite possibly the most adorable card game ever, is ready to hit store shelves according to publisher Gamewright. Originally published last year, the limited print run quickly sold out and we've been waiting for this new version to become available. It's a game about collecting sets of various sushi in order to score the most points, a simplified 7 Wonders in essence. For a $11.99 it looks to be a no-brainer so keep your eyes out for this one.

Sierra Madre Games has another print run of hard to find card game Pax Porfiriana available to purchase on their website. You play as a rich businessman under the rule of Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz in a game that has been been heralded by those who've managed to get through it's less than stellar rulebook. Sierra Madre and Phil Eklund are the team that brought us High Frontier, a game about actual rocket science. If that doesn't get you excited then check out the cover. Not just one stodgy old guy, but three! 


GMT has a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of Twilight Struggle. They've partnered with Playdek, the talent behind the digital versions of Agricola, Summoner Wars and Ascension. Playdek has a pretty good reputation and the project has already been funded so you can expect to see it next Spring. This will give more people a chance to try the #1 ranked board game.

The Watch it Played YouTube channel has rules explanation of hotly anticipated game Dead of Winter. For everyone who've been patiently waiting for it, this a great look at the game in action and easy way to get a handle on the particulars. Make sure to get view the video above and prepare for the winter this summer.

Reddit user hatersgonnapay has posted pictures of a home made Jumanji board. I have a soft spot for this board game based movie and watched far more episodes of the cartoon show than I'd like to admit. The attention to detail is staggering. If you have any fondness for the Robin Williams classic, be sure to take a peek at the full album.

Old South High has an article about the interesting use of a board game to help educate Maasai communities in Rural Kenya. The area is prone to boom-bust cycles, periods of abundant harvests followed by crippling droughts. Researcher Jacob Mayiani took advantage of the community's strong cultural tradition of playing games and created a board game called Eramat in order to facilitate discussion about the issue with the community. So far the project appears to be a success and displays the effectiveness of board games as a means of communal togetherness.

That's it for this edition of News from the Bottom Shelf. Stay tuned as there is sure to be a lot of information and impressions of the Origins Game Fair in Columbus. And remember to stop by the Mailbag and ask a question to have it answered in the future.