Well, another Origins Game Fair has come and gone, and I wish that it could happen every month. Origins is one of the more laid back gaming conventions that you can attend, as the attention seems more so on actually playing games and enjoying time with friends, than being a place where so many titles are released. Origins essentially takes over the 4-5 block area around the Greater Columbus Convention Center, which was already packed due to it being Pride week as well. You can find tons of groups playing games in the open gaming areas, as well as hotel lobbies or during meet-ups at bars and restaurants.
Origins 2017 had a different feel to me than the previous conventions, as the hype machine didn’t seem to really be in full force, with many games not being released until Gen Con or Essen. I went into the convention not really excited about coming home with many of the games for sale in the convention hall, but I was optimistic that I would find something unique that would pique my interest. It just so happened that apparently, I was in a climbing sort-of mood this year. So, today on Funkhouser, I’m featuring three climbing themed games that really caught my attention at Origins 2017: The Climbers, Rhino Hero: Super Battle, and Summit.
The Climbers – Capstone Games
One of the best things about Origins Game Fair is that the exhibition hall is much less crowded than that of GenCon, especially on Thursday morning. Walking around with crew from Blue Peg, Pink Peg Gaming Podcast, we made our way over to Capstone Games where the above game was hanging out on the table. The Climbers was originally published back in 2008, but is seeing a reprint in 2017 by Capstone Games as part of their “Simply Complex” line. It took just a ten second explanation to fall in love with this game.
The goal of The Climbers is to get your colored figure as high on this block tower as you can by the time no one can make any more moves. To move your piece up the tower, you can only move to blocks that have your color as the top part of the block. On your turn, you can take any unobstructed block from the tower, turn it in any direction you like, and place it anywhere on the tower where the base of your block sits flat (no hanging off the edge). Your figure can step up to a higher level if the step is shorter than the height of your pawn. However, each player is given a tall and short ladder, which can be used to make larger jumps. The tall ladder helps you move up two full block heights, while the short ladder helps you move up one full block. The problem is, once you use the ladder, it’s gone for the rest of the game. You also get one piece that you can place on the tower that can block anyone from moving there, but once you use it, it’s gone.
This game is so simple to learn and teach, and will be a great game for kids and adults. It has such a great table presence, as the bright colors and “Little People”-esque figures just seem so inviting. Note: the above picture is not a final published copy, and will look a little different when it is released. Capstone will have a very limited quantity at Gen Con 2017, and hopefully we’ll be able to get our hands on it there!
Rhino Hero: Super Battle – HABA USA
One of the very first booths we made our way to Thursday was HABA USA. HABA is known primarily for their wonderful kids games, which are designed so well that adults tend to find enjoyment in them as well. So it was no surprise when we found ourselves squaring off in HABA’s new hit, Rhino Hero: Super Battle.
RH:SB, much like its predecessor, Rhino Hero, is a game about building an apartment structure one floor at a time. Each player gets three tiles in their hand, which are the floors to the apartment building. When you play a tile, it will show you what walls need to be underneath it (Two Tall, Two Short, One Tall & One Short). The game has three ground tiles to start, with marks of where you are allowed to play your first floor walls, but once you start building the tower, you just have to make sure you can build upon the levels that currently exist. Once you build your floor, you get to roll a die to move your super hero character up that many levels on the tower (the die rolls from 0-2, if I’m not mistaken). If at any point, two opposing heroes are on the same floor of the same building, you must have a roll off to see who gets to stay on that level. Some floors also make you put an Evil Spider Monkey on that floor, which are reminiscent of the “Barrel of Monkeys” monkeys, and you must hang a spider monkey off the side of that particular tile, adding to the possibility that the tower gets knocked over. Whoever’s hero is highest on the building when it inevitably collapses, or someone’s unsteady hand knocks it over, is the winner.
It definitely seems that HABA knows that adults love Rhino Hero, so they made a game that was a little more complex, but not so much that kids wouldn’t enjoy this too.
Summit – Inside Up Games
The third of our climbing game trio is certainly the most intense of the three games, but it came out of Origins with a lot buzz. Today, just two days after the end of Origins 2017, Summit sits fourth in the Board Game Geek ‘GeekBuzz’ list, behind convention (colon-laden) hits: Codenames: Duet, Century: Spice Road, and BÃ¤renpark (horizontal colon). Summit is the first published game by Canadian designer Conor McGoey, who looks to have a hit on his hands when the game has its release at Gen Con 2017. The game has Competitive, Cooperative and Solo modes, all brutal in their challenge, but still an accessible game all around.
In a competitive game of Summit, players are on a race to get to the peak of the mountain and return to base camp. While it is a race, it’s a race for points, which means there are multiple factors involved. If you are the first to reach any of the given checkpoints, you will get more points than your competitors, but that’s not the only way you get points. Karma plays a major factor in the game, so much so that there is a Karma track on the side of the board. As you racing up the same mountain with your competitors, you may play Karma cards that will either help or hinder your opponents. By helping them in certain ways, you move up on the Karma track, which will help you get end game points, but you can also be oh so brutal to your opponents, which will move you down the Karma track. Your karma level at the end of the game results in certain end-game points. But, hey, it’s a race, and there’s a good chance not everyone will survive.
Each player is a different character with asymmetric player powers, and a pretty rad character board. On the character board, you keep track of your stats such as: Food, Oxygen, Weight, Health and Speed. At the beginning of the game, and at halfway camps, you get to choose how much food and oxygen you want to carry. The more equipment you carry, the weight stat increases. The higher the weight, the slower you move. Your movement refers to the number of spaces you can move in your turn. As you explore the mountain, you lay down triangular tiles, which have paths on them denoted by ropes. Each knot on the rope is a movement point, so if your speed is five, you move five knots. But, some tiles are icy (more knots which slow you down) and others are low oxygen (use up oxygen upon entry). Also if an opponent is blocking your path, you have to ask them for permission. If they let you around, you can move on through, but if they say no, you have to carve out a new path (they also lose two Karma).
There’s a lot going on in Summit, and we haven’t even gotten to Co-Op, solo, the 190+ unique cards, items, events, Yeti expansion… So we’ll save that for our look at the game, once we get our hands on it in the coming months.
Were you at Origins 2017? What did you see that excited you? Let us know at @funkhouserksr