So, I guess Gen Con is cancelled. At this point it kind of feels like just another cancellation in the long string of an empty con season. I don’t want to get sad here, and I don’t want you all to get sad either. But I think we’ll all agree this is very disappointing. So many of us live for con season, and even if we know we’re doing this for a good reason, it still stings. Understanding all those truths, it is absolutely the right thing for Gen Con to do.
Lately we’ve seen a lot of focus on small businesses, and rightfully so. Small businesses have been hit particularly hard by this pandemic, and small businesses make up so very much of our industry. From publishers, to game stores, to independent authors, artists, and more, our entire way of life has been affected. I know it seems hard to believe, but Gen Con is also a small business. This entire event, well known around the globe as “the best 4 days in gaming,” is all organized and orchestrated by a very small group of dedicated individuals. This wonderful organization, and industry leader, without its’ primary source of income is surely in for an uphill battle planning for Gen Con 2021.
We have seen so many of you pay it forward. You #backthecomeback by shouting out and supporting your Favorite Local Game Store. You’ve backed Kickstarters even with limited income. You find the good and bring people together through online cons. You are all amazing and awe-inspiring! This situation we are all in is tough… really tough. However, if you can afford it, we highly recommend that you request Gen Con to roll your deposits for your booths/badges/etc. to next year. If you can’t, they’ll understand… But if you can, we know they will GREATLY appreciate it.
We’re a fantastic team when we work together. Let’s keep that going and #rollitforward all the way to Gen Con 2021!
You’ve got board game night. You’ve got movie night. Classic. Both are fun ways to get off your phones and spend time with family. So why not combine them into a Board Game and Movie Night? You can create a fully themed night from the dinner choice, the game, the movie, you can even dress up if you are so inclined!
I’d like to offer you 5 Calliope games for game night, and a movie (or several) you can watch after/while you play.
Pirates sailing the high seas, stealing treasure and enjoying some casual bidding? What better movie than the original Pirates of the Caribbean! The art on the character cards look like missing characters from the movie, and nothing gets you more pumped up than hearing that iconic soundtrack. I’ve definitely found myself shouting “Stop blowing holes in my ship!” while I’ve played ShipShape. As a bonus alternative if you’re a 90’s kid like me, might I recommend the 1996 classic, Muppet Treasure Island? It’s fun, it’s goofy, and I think we all have a little bit of cabin fever right now. Time to do some sailing for adventure on the big blue wet thing! Or you can try the 1995 Geena Davis classic: Cutthroat Island. Just don’t get too competitive!
2. The Mansky Caper:
There are a couple of different ways you could go with this fun press-your-luck game. You can lean into that heist aspect and go for any of the Ocean’s 11 movies or The Italian Job, or you could focus on that mob boss 1920s/30s feel with something like Dick Tracy. If you don’t mind playing a game while watching a movie about a different game, I recommend Clue. Personally, with the rulebook being styled like a comic book I always think of Batman: The Animated Series; specifically the episodes “It’s Never Too Late,” “The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy,” and “Almost Got ‘Im”. Yes, I’m already breaking my own rule of choosing movies, but I could absolutely see The Mansky Caper as an episode of this show, so it’s worth it.
Similar to ShipShape and Pirates of the Caribbean, having a rocking soundtrack while playing a board game is just the best, and for Spymaster you obviously have to go with Mission: Impossible. This game can definitely make you feel like Ethan Hunt. Other fun spy movies to get you in the mood include Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Flight of the Condor; and Red. Depending on the ages of the players, you could also go with movies like Kingsman for adults, or Spy Kids for families.
4. Tsuro of the Seas:
Is it too obvious with this one to say Pacific Rim? Yeah, probably, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s not a great movie, but it’s a fun popcorn flick that I highly recommend having on in the background while you’re playing to add some more suspense as you roll those dice. If you happen to be playing this back-to-back with ShipShape might I suggest Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest? Daikaiju, Kraken, sounds like a bunch of stuff you want to avoid in the ocean. Choose your path carefully!
5. Dicey Peaks:
This is another one where you can drastically change the theme depending on if you’re playing with adults or kids. If you want to lean into the mountain climbing and you don’t plan on personally climbing Everest any time soon, there’s no shortage of wintery disaster movies like K12, 127 Hours, and Everest. For more kid-friendly, yeti themes we recommend Abominable, Missing Link, or Small Foot. Or you can just go basic “cold” with Ice Age or Frozen.
Bee Movie. Sorry not sorry, I just had to.
What do you think? Do any of these combinations get you more excited to play? Do you have any good dinner recommendations to pair with a particular board game and movie? Or would you like that to be the next blog post?
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
To read the original blog post (‘Top 5 Educational
Board Games to Play With Your Tutor’), click here.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 Tsuroseries, 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 summer is winding down and we are moving inexorably towards fall.
But have no fear! Fall means “New Games!” The Mansky Caper is on a boat and heading towards our warehouse and your game table. Learn more in our latest Newsletter of Awesomeness by clicking The Mansky Caper box below.
Click here to read the September Newsletter of Awesomeness!
We also have a game giveaway for September going on as well. Win a copy of Running With The Bulls by entering the Rafflecopter contest now! You can read about it in the newsletter or go directly to enter by clicking the pic below.
Thank you to everyone that stopped by the Calliope Games Booth at Gen Con 2018. We loved meeting with you and showing you a new game or two. Gen Con, Origins Game Fair, and PAX Unplugged are the three big chances we have to spend some time with our friends and we appreciate your willingness to spend some of your time with us. Here are some fun pics from this year’s Gen Con!
Just some of the funtastic Team Calliope!
Rob Daviau demos ShipShape, an upcoming Titan Series title.
Seth Johnson demos SpyMaster, an upcoming Titan Series title.
Big Al Mansky stops by and has a “Funky” time!
Players mastering menus in Menu Masters.
Stealing from the rich and giving to ourselves in Thieves!
Demoing Hive Mind, a honey of a game!
A busy day in the Calliope Games booth. Wish you were here!
Calliope Games will be at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia, PA November 30-December 2, 2018. Why not make plans to join us?
Calliope Games is terrified to announce that the ducks have plans to invade the Calliope Games Booth at Gen Con Indy 2018. Gen Con, “The Best Four Days of Gaming,” takes place at the Indiana Convention Center (100 S Capitol Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46225) on August 2-5, 2018.
Nearly every Calliope title has been taken over by these fowl rubber menaces.
Visitors to Calliope Games Booth 1901 will be subjected to such games as Quackcestree, by Eric M(allard) Lang, Double, Double Duckminoes, by Seth Johnson and Jordan Weisman, 12 Ducks, by James Ernest and Mike Selinker, and Wor-DUCK-u, by Boyan Radakovich.
While supplies last, anyone who demos a “duckified” game will receive a complimentary rubber duck. Collect enough ducks and you will receive a Mystical Unicorn Duck!
Fans of rubber ducks, awesome games, and FUN will have an amazing time when they flock to Calliope Games Booth 1901 (where the ducks are the only fowl thing) at Gen Con Indy 2018. We hope to see you there!