Category Archives: News

A New Twist – Tsuro: Phoenix Rising Takes Flight

The Tsuro series is a winding path, much like the ones on the tiles it features.  Now, the path is soaring upward to the skies in an exhilarating new adventure.

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising (on Kickstarter January 10th-February 9th) is the third game in the Tsuro series.  The first – Tsuro: The Game of the Path – was released originally by Wizkids in 2004.  It was later given a slight facelift and became the flagship title when Calliope Games was founded in 2009.  A second entry – Tsuro of the Seas – launched in 2012 along with its expansion, Veterans of the Seas.

Over the years, the original Tsuro has become a well-known gateway game, perfect for introducing new audiences to the world of tabletop games.  There’s a good reason for that: Tsuro is one of the simplest games anywhere, both to teach and to play.  Not much is simpler than “play one of your tiles to the board, move your pawn along the path you created, then draw a new tile…oh, and just try to stay on the board.”  That’s a pretty easy game to demonstrate to anyone, from children to grandparents, and everyone in between.

OG: Tsuro: The Game Of The Path

Owing to its simplicity and elegance, Tsuro has been used as a gateway and filler countless times.  There are other games that share its tile-placing, route-building aspects, but Tsuro is unique in how it delivers a fun, thoughtful experience in a compact amount of time for a very wide audience.  For many, the elegance – the zen nature – of Tsuro is its defining quality, and they embrace the game the way it is, no embellishment or additions required.  For others, they want a bit more.

Tsuro of the Seas was created to cater to those looking for a bit more unpredictability in the Tsuro experience.  The game transformed the pawns and board into boats and a mystic sea; introduced daikaiju (sea monsters); and added a pair of dice.  On top of the familiar Tsuro gameplay, there now existed a layer of chaos and randomness, as the daikaiju would rotate and move in an unpredictable manner, always threatening to chomp your boat if you didn’t watch out!  Tsuro of the Seas was the first game we launched via a relatively young crowdfunding service called Kickstarter.  It was unfamiliar territory, but became a joyful experience, both because it showed how many original fans wanted MORE TSURO, but also because we learned how the Kickstarter community is a passionate group who are very engaged and helpful with projects they back.

Tsuro of the Seas – A Watery Adventure

2019 represents the 10th Anniversary of Calliope Games.  During 2018, our team had several discussions about how to celebrate this milestone.  Throughout those talks, the main idea we kept coming back to was a new Tsuro game.  What better way to celebrate our birthday than with a new entry in the line that has defined us for a decade?

Some context is useful here, though.  We didn’t start from scratch a year ago to create a new Tsuro game.  The core of it has existed since Tsuro was first dreamt up by mathematician Tom McMurchie in the 1970s.  In fact, when the original Tsuro (then called “Squiggle”) was shown to Calliope Games co-founder Jordan Weisman back in 2001, Tom developed full second set of tiles shortly thereafter that were strategically set aside for a later release.  These alternate tiles had paths that would move through the diagonals of the tile, instead of through the flat edges only.  That tileset – which is dubbed the “Crossroads” set – changed the experience of playing, offering a soaring, freewheeling feel that moved your pawn quickly across the board.  In 2018 the time had come to put the Crossroads set to use… Calliope Games 10th Anniversary!

We wanted to craft a Tsuro experience that would set apart from both other games in the line.  Tsuro is perfect as an accessible gateway/filler.  Tsuro of the Seas involves the unpredictability of dice.  For the third game, we focused on the tiles themselves, thinking for the first time about how players could physically alter the paths on the board.  Perhaps the tiles could rotate…but what if they could do more?

Ray had been working with Bob Oswald, a longtime Calliope Games friend – and very talented CAD artist – on a design for a unique tile tray that would allow players to flip or rotate one tile in a grid without disturbing any of the neighboring tiles.  Once the design was finalized, it was patented and ready for use.  The new Tsuro game would be the perfect way to introduce the revolutionary new tray to the world, as it would allow the path tiles to be manipulated, creating new options for paths each turn.  Ray hit upon the idea of having one side of each tile feature traditional Tsuro paths – entering and exiting on the flat edges, while the flip side would feature Crossroads paths that sent pawns through the diagonal edges of the tiles.  Suddenly, players could strategize whole new routes, opening up fresh, speedy movement.

Prototype version of Tsuro: Phoenix Rising

The creation of this game was collaboration in its purest form.  The Calliope team – Ray Wehrs, Chris Leder, Zach Weisman, Andy Hepworth, Ken Franklin, along with a team of amazing playtesters – expanded upon the gameplay and tiles created by Tom McMurchie.  As the development of the board and tiles progressed, we concentrated on the goal of the game.  Survival has always been the winning condition in the Tsuro series: last pawn standing wins.  Player elimination – love it or hate it – is a hallmark of the line.  We contemplated ways to augment this goal, all the while thinking about the theme of the game.  The original Tsuro features dragon stones as the pawns, but the board features a beautiful phoenix.  What if we shifted the focus to the phoenix?  A bird in flight would make sense given the soaring nature of the Crossroads tiles.  Plus, it would allow us to consider a way for leaving the board to not mean the end of the game – after all, the defining trait of the phoenix is its ability to rise from the ashes!

During development, we struck upon the idea that you weren’t just flying around trying to stay on the board, but as a phoenix, you were actively trying to reach specific points on the board.  As the testing proceeded and the theme began to solidify, we loved the idea that the things you were trying to reach were glowing, floating, colorful lanterns in the night.  That image just seemed so beautiful.  And because we wanted to inspire a bit of positivity, we crafted the lore about how the world had been robbed of stars, but as you reached the lanterns, you transformed them into brilliant new stars that created bright constellations to enlighten your own personal path.  Instead of last pawn standing being the only victory condition, you could now win by creating a new constellation of seven stars, having brought light to a dark world.  It’s an overriding theme of hope and love of life. 

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising is a gateway/filler game in the same vein as the original Tsuro, and its predecessor Tsuro of the Seas.  One way to look at it: Tsuro is the quintessential zen-like gateway experience, Tsuro of the Seas is an exciting survival gateway game where you play against the board, and Tsuro: Phoenix Rising is a gateway set collection game where the board is a puzzle to solve.  Each game has its own level of complexity, but all fit perfectly within a casual game crowd or as a filler in the middle of the game night.  Though they are all built upon the same foundation, the experiences they provide are all unique.  Which Tsuro game will be your favorite? We love them all!

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising is now live on Kickstarter.

Announcing Tsuro: Phoenix Rising

To usher in our 10th Anniversary in 2019, Calliope Games is thrilled to announce Tsuro: Phoenix Rising, an exhilarating new entry in the legendary Tsuro series.  

In the game, each player is a phoenix, soaring across the board in an effort to reach glowing lanterns and transform them into new stars in the night sky.  The first player to collect seven star tokens wins the game!

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising builds upon the foundation of classic Tsuro – you must play tiles to extend your path, traverse the board, and be aware of your surroundings – but it adds exciting new features such as double-sided path tiles that can be flipped and rotated to choose your destination, as well as a revolutionary new molded board.  As a phoenix, you also have the ability to return to the board once per game, rising from the ashes!

The Tsuro series, featuring games designed by Tom McMurchie, has been a flagship brand for Calliope Games since our beginnings in 2009.  The original Tsuro: The Game of the Path was released by WizKids in 2004 and its follow-up Tsuro of the Seas was released in 2012 after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Tsuro: Phoenix Rising will launch on Kickstarter on January 10, 2019 at 2pm Eastern.

Roll For It! Now On The App Store

Roll for It! Hits the App Store

Boasting the Shiniest, Rolliest Digital Dice Ever!

MONTREAL February 21, 2018: Thunderbox Entertainment is thrilled to announce the release of our second digital board game: Roll for It!

For the studio’s second collaboration with Calliope Games after Tsuro, we went from zen to zany! The rules are simple: roll your dice, match them to a card, and score some points. It is quick to learn and designed to let kids and adults play (and win!) together.

The digital adaptation of Roll for It! is…

REAL! Physically simulated dice deliver the real feel. Shake your device to roll ‘em!

FAST! It takes only one minute to learn, and only one hand to play. Roll on the go!

FRIENDLY! Roll solo against crafty AI foes or with friends around one device or online.

The game is now available on the App Store and Google Play for $1.99 USD. For those who crave more, the Red Box expansion is available to purchase in-game, along with more fancy, fuzzy, flashy dice to roll in style!

Please visit the Thunderbox website for more info, download the EPK, and if you’d like to tell your readers about it, contact us for a review copy!

Based in Montreal and founded by Dan Taylor and Jules Morgan, Thunderbox Entertainment is a small team of seasoned developers with over 25 years of AAA experience. We are proud to partner with some of the most innovative and inspiring board game makers on the planet to bring old school fun to a modern world.

Our first app, Tsuro: The Game of the Path, was released in April 2016. It has since earned a 4.6 star rating on the App Store and has been the #1 board game app in over 90 countries.

Ancestree, Capital City, and ShutterBug have arrived at Warehouse. Shipments beginning!

Calliope Games is pleased to announce that Ancestree by Eric M. Lang, Capital City by James Ernest, and ShutterBug by Mike Elliott have arrived at the Calliope Games warehouse.

Shipment of these games to our Kickstarter Backers has begin, followed by shipments to stores. If you have not already pre-ordered copies, please contact your Friendly Local Game Store and place your order now.

Ancestree by Eric M. Lang.  Click on the box to see more!

Ancestree, by Eric M. Lang, finally lets you answer the age-old question: Who’s got the best family? Through clever drafting and tile placement players will create a family tree that reveals the amazing people that all lead to them. The player with the most interesting generations, riches and marriages will claim the victory, bragging rights, and be able to say, “My family IS better than your family!” For 2 – 6 players, ages 8+, under 30 minutes.Capital City by James Ernest. Click on the box to see more!

Capital City by James Ernest. Click on the box to see more!

Capital City_, by James Ernest, brings together 3-6 Western Settlers, each hoping to be the Mayor of Capital City, the newest town in the Oooooooooolllld West! As one of the founders of Capital City you are building businesses on your street, bringing new residents to the town and hiring them to work at your businesses. This will generate money and influence in Capital City. The player with the most influence at the end of the year will be elected Mayor. Time is short so get out there and build the best Old West! For 3 – 6 players, ages 8+, under 30 minutes.

ShutterBug by Mike Elliott.  Click on the box to see more!

ShutterBug, by Mike Elliott, puts you in the roll of a 1932 American Photojournalist. Tabloids are clamoring for pictures of the monsters and mythical creatures that are roaming America. You will criss-cross the country over the next eight days, gathering tips and taking photos, putting together your portfolio, and selling to the highest bidder. It’s time to load your camera and snap the myth! For 2 – 6 players, ages 8+, 30 – 50 minutes.

New Wave of Titan Series Games Arriving On Game Shelves!

Anticipated Calliope Games Titles Will Be Available In Late 2017!

Calliope Games is pleased to announce the upcoming release of Ancestree, Capital City, and ShutterBug, the next three games in its ongoing Titans of Gaming series. This product line, designed by some of the greatest designers working in the industry, presents family-friendly tabletop games that are easy to teach, play in under an hour. All three titles are expected to release in the 4th quarter of 2017.

Ancestree is an tile drafting game designed by Eric M. Lang, illustrated by Larry Elmore and colored by Adelheid Zimmerman. In Ancestree, players get to build their personal family trees! Over three rounds, players cleverly choose Ancestor tiles and cultivate their lineage, scoring points for generations, wealth, and marriages. In the end, the player with the highest score wins and gets to brag that “My family is better than yours!” Ancestree is for 2-6 players ages 8+ and play in 20-40 minutes.

Capital City is a quick-playing card game designed by James Ernest and colorfully illustrated by Brian Bowes. Over four seasons, players hire new kinfolk arriving from the train to run their buildings on Main Street. Picking the right characters can provide bonus points – but may also help the other players! At the end of the year, the player with the most prosperous town will become Mayor of Capital City! Capital City provides 3-6 players ages 8+ a light, strategic experience in about 30 minutes.

ShutterBug is a fast-paced game of set collection and exploration designed by Mike Elliott and illustrated by Char Reed. It is 1932 and the world is fascinated by growing rumors of hidden creatures that roam America. As a freelance photographer looking to make a name for yourself, you must crisscross the country, following tips that lead you to “snap the myth” and take the creature pictures that the tabloids most desire. ShutterBug is for 2-6 players ages 8+ and plays in 20-40 minutes.

Adventure Awaits You On The Dicey Peaks!

Hi everyone!

We are proud to announce the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for our newest game Dicey Peaks!  Created by superstar game designer Scott Almes, Dicey Peaks is a thrilling tile-flipping, dice-rolling game for 2-6 players!

In the game, you are attempting to be the first to reach the fabled red flag at the top of Yeti Mountain.  To get there, you have to push your luck rolling dice and skillfully choosing when to press ahead, and when to rest to regain some precious oxygen.  As you advance, you reveal tiles that can help or hinder your progress.  Most dangerous of all are the hazards – avalanches and Yetis that can cause you to bust if you press your luck a bit too far!

We are beyond excited to have worked with Scott Almes on his first Calliope Game, bringing this quick-playing heart-pounding adventure to life!  We want this game to be the best possible presentation, so we have partnered again with crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to open it up to amazing backers whose pledges allow us to improve the components and build an immediate interest in the game.

Here is a quick “peak” at the components currently slated to be in the box (and which we can hopefully upgrade even further after shattering goals on Kickstarter):

The components in Dicey Peaks

We sincerely hope you will take a look at the Kickstarter campaign for Dicey Peaks and consider pledging to get a copy.  There is a standard edition for only $26 (including free shipping within the continental U.S.) or a deluxe edition – featuring an exclusive linen-finish box cover, a book of art from the game, and a Yeti standee – for only $36 (again, with free shipping within the continental U.S.).

Have a great day, and watch out for Yetis!

 

Got ‘Em!

While at Gen Con, our first print run of Got ‘Em sold out! This was a great achievement for the whole team and especially for game designer, Zach Weisman, who was at Gen Con with the Calliope Games team.

gotem_box_hi

As this we are looking into the future for making a new print, we will also be updating the artwork! The box cover and card art will be getting a fresh new feel! The changes being made to the cards is also great because it allows the cards to be more universal. No more text, but instead, images of what your actions are.

gotem_product_shot_hi

Our plan is to have the next print run available in 2017. So keep an eye out for stores to be carrying this new version of Got ‘Em!