Author Archives: Chris Leder

All Aboard! Announcing Station Master on Kickstarter!

We are excited to announce the sensational return of the beloved train game Station Master, now boarding on Kickstarter until December 12th! Station Master is a classic card game for 2-6 players ages 8+ that plays in 30-60 minutes.  During the game, players attach railcars to vintage steam locomotives, assign passengers to trains, and play action cards to send things off the rails!

Designed by Chris Baylis (designer of Dark Blades), Station Master is getting a luxurious revival from Calliope Games, publisher of hit family-weight games such as Tsuro – The Game of the Path, Roll For It!, and Hive Mind!

Every morning, the train station is bustling with passengers looking to depart for their destinations on time. As Station Master, your job is to keep passengers happy by guiding them to the right coaches and sending the trains out of the station on time, earning you points for efficiency. When completed trains leave, players with passengers aboard the train score Efficiency points. Station Master is loaded with railcars of positive and negative values, so you’ll need to plan carefully when sending trains off, as you’ll be affecting other players’ scores when you do! More fun is added to the mix when Action cards are played that alter the rules with special one-time benefits. The game ends once all trains have left the station, and the player with the most Efficiency points is declared the winner and triumphant Station Master!

Created with GIMP

Station Master is now live on Kickstarter, offering an exclusive Executive Class version only available during the campaign. This deluxe edition includes such special features as a flip-top magnetic-close box with opulent flocked insert, unique alternate Passenger pawns, and breathtaking Locomotive postcards that will be revealed throughout the campaign.

Whether you’re a train enthusiast, a fan of betting and bluffing, or just someone who enjoys great games, you’ll definitely want to check this game out! Will you manage to board your passengers before another player sends your train out of the station? Prove you are the most efficiently at boarding passengers and building trains in Station Master! Pledge today to get your copy!

3 Calliope Games To Play With Your Tutor

Adapted from a Titanium Tutors blog post by Oscar Smith

If you’ve spent any time with me, you’ll know that I can’t resist a great board game! I was introduced to the hobby by some friends during high school and it was love at first sight – one of my early favourites was Calliope Game’s ‘Tsuro’, a modern classic.

As a tutor, I’m constantly thinking of new ways to help my students learn new skills in different and exciting settings; one idea I’ve been experimenting with is using board games to introduce younger students to basic academic concepts. So, without further ado, here are 3 titles from Calliope Games which I think would be a hit with students.

Tsuro: The Game of the Path

Tsuro – The Game of the Path

For me, this is the game where it all started. This tile-laying game of survival sees players sending their dragon tokens down paths, hoping to steer them away from other players without sending themselves off the board.

Tsuro’s educational appeal is not straightforwardly visible, but it certainly has a place in the classroom. Success in this game comes from effective long-term planning and efficient problem-solving. If an opponent suddenly closes down your options with a surprise move, being able to adapt your strategy and work out how best you can use the three tiles in your hand is vital.

One way I’ve been playing this game is in a ‘speed’ format. At first, I give my student two minutes to make their move, then I reduce it to one minute, then 30 seconds and finally 15 seconds! This addition of a timer is a great way to introduce younger students to the feeling of exam time pressure in a fun context, improving their mental agility.

Roll For It! - Red Edition

Roll For It!

Many kids struggle with mathematics, particularly with the statistical side of things. Understanding how probabilities work and how to calculate them is a crucial skill for any student who has to learn about stats and Roll For It! is a great way to get students thinking about the practical applications of maths.

The game is delightfully simple; roll your 6 dice and match them to the scoring cards – once you’ve matched all the die on that card, you keep it and score the points on that card. The most important decision is working out which dice to put with which cards – concentrating on the harder cards with more specific requirements might earn you more points, but you could earn more by targeting several low scoring cards.

This risk/reward dynamic makes Roll For It! a great game to teach kids about probability. When a new card comes up, I ask my students to calculate the probability that they’ll be able to roll their 6 dice and get exactly the right roll to secure a card. For cards where you need 6 of one result, the calculation is 1/66, which is a very low probability! This not only helps students learn simple probabilities, but also helps them play better!

Wordoku – Fun Spelled Out

I’ve always been a sucker for word games, so when I discovered Calliope Games’ Wordoku it definitely struck a chord with me. In essence, this game gets players trying to make four letter words using small tiles in a 4×4 grid. Each tile has a symbol and so, like a sudoku puzzle, there must be one of each symbol in each row and column.

Spelling is right up there with some of the most critical skills a student can have. I love playing this game in a 1v1 situation with a student, testing their vocabulary and seeing how creative they can be. The sudoku element of the game forces students to really stretch their knowledge of words and playing just one round of this game can be a great way to start a tutoring session in an engaging way.

So, there you have it! I hope you’ve found some inspiration for using board games in teaching. A big thank you to Calliope Games for letting me share my thoughts about their fantastic titles on their website – happy gaming!

Oscar is an undergraduate at the University of Warwick, where he studies Philosophy, Politics and Economics. When he’s not playing board games or performing jazz gigs on his saxophone, he tutors Science and Mathematics and works for the team at Titanium Tutors – one of the UK’s leading private tuition agencies.

To read the original blog post (‘Top 5 Educational Board Games to Play With Your Tutor’), click here.

Calliope Games Celebrates 10 Years

At Calliope Games, we are thrilled to celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary! Over the past decade, our library of gateway and filler games have entertained, inspired, and provided an opportunity to make memories around the game table, and it all started with our flagship title, Tsuro: The Game of the Path. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this 10 year milestone than by returning to the series that started it all, which is why Tsuro: Phoenix Rising is taking flight in 2019!

10 years ago, Calliope Games began as a collaboration between Dawne Weisman, Jordan Weisman, and Ray Wehrs. All of us are experienced game industry professionals who have worked together since 1999 when we collectively launched WizKids. Calliope Games has been producing and selling quality tabletop games since 2009. Our products are inspired by family for families.

At Calliope Games, we publish fun, affordable, family-style tabletop games for all to enjoy.

With gamers in mind, our games make the perfect “gateway” or “filler” game. They allow you to easily draft your non-gamer friends into your favorite hobby. Calliope games are excellent for starting out game night and are easily played between heavier games. It’s important to point out to our non-gamer friends that we do take a slightly different approach to the games we produce. At Calliope, we focus on entertaining adults; however, the games we produce allow children to compete with their parents without the parents “throwing” the game. It’s a really a pretty simple concept; instead of having the parents step down into the child’s world, we are inviting the child to step up into the parents’ world.

For gamers and non-gamers alike, the results of our efforts are games that are accessible by all players regardless of skill level or age, play in under 60 minutes, are affordably priced, and most of all… are a blast to play!

We are proud and humbled to have been able to deliver fun to game tables for 10 years, and we are excited to keep doing it for another 10 years…and beyond!

Thank you for being a part of the first 10 years of Calliope Games! Until next time, game on!

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.

The April Calliope Games Newsletter of Awesomeness is out!

The newest issue of the Calliope Games Newsletter of Awesomeness is out!

Click Calliope and you will be taken to it!

Giant Tsuro-The Game of the Path made a special appearance at a wedding reception.  You will get a great look at the Bride, Groom, and their friends and family having a great time.  And Tsuro was there.

We also take a look at Capital City!  Designed by James Ernest with art by Brian Bowes, it is the rootin-ist, tootin-ist new game in the Old West!  The reviews are coming in and people are loving it.  If you don’t already have a copy, now’s your chance!

Want to win a copy of Capital City?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the picture and enter!  Yee-haw!

Spotlight on Ancestree

The newest issue of the Calliope Games Newsletter of Awesomeness is out and it shines the spotlight on Ancestree by Eric Lang.  Click on the box cover below to find out about the game, read some reviews and learn more about how Ancestree won a Major Fun Award!

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.

JOIN THE MANSKY CAPER IN 2018! ROBBING BIG AL’S MANSION IS A BLAST!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! And Happy #ManskyMonday!  This week’s newsletter takes a look at Matt Franklin, the artist on The Mansky Caper.  We take a look at how he creates one of the characters in the game, Abraca-Deborah!

To see how this sketch becomes final artwork (and check out the Mansky Caper Newsletter), click on Abraca-Deborah!

This week, we get to meet Nine-Lives Nicky, the Gadgeteer of the crew.

Click the play button below to watch the video!

The Mansky Caper Kickstarter campaign goes live on January 11, 2018!  Don’t miss out on a great game at a fantastic price!