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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Restoration Launches New Crossbows & Catapults, and The Dietz Foundation Replays 1979: Revolution in Iran

by W. Eric Martin

In July 2021, Restoration Games announced (among many other things) a new edition of the 1983 game Crossbows and Catapults from designers Ray Frigard and Henri Sala and publisher Lakeside, with this being done in co-operation with publisher Goliath Games. Here’s what I wrote at that time:

Design for this new edition will be led by Stephen Baker (HeroQuest, Battle Masters), and according to the publisher it will feature deeper game play and highly engineered weapons that use rubberband-free, “pinch-to-fire technology to ensure reliable velocity and reward player skill”. What’s more, “On the defensive side, castles are constructed using more detailed components to allow for larger, more intricate, and more varied structures.”

The new Crossbows and Catapults will come to Kickstarter in 2022, with Goliath later making the game available to mass-market stores. [President of Restoration Games Justin D.] Jacobson said that multiple expansions will be created, with all of them being available through the Kickstarter, but later Goliath will distribute some of the expansions via mass market while Restoration will have exclusivity for other expansions via hobby. In general, the “complete” version from Goliath will be more for kids, while the Restoration version will have army building, different victory conditions, and other elements to make the game more challenging.

With a BackerKit landing page for its crowdfunding campaign now in place, Restoration Games has released more details about the shape of these new editions.

The “mass market” version of Crossbows and Catapults will be Crossbows & Catapults: Castle Battle with this being a two-player game that takes 20-30 minutes to play while being for ages 7+. Restoration Games expects this co-publication with Goliath Games will retail for US$30.

The “hobby” version of this game will be Crossbows & Catapults: Fortress War, with this being for ages 10+, although that age suggestion isn’t yet locked into place. This game will have a US$90 MSRP, feature more advanced gameplay, and contain a wider variety of bricks, ammo, and units.

Both games are designed by Baker, along with Noah Cohen, Rob Daviau, Justin D. Jacobson, and Brian Neff, and they are integrable with one another in that the weapons and bricks are interchangeable. Restoration’s Suzanne Sheldon notes that years of engineering have gone into the weapons to make them work without rubber bands — the catapult design is highlighted on the BackerKit page — and the bricks have been optimized for height, weight, and fortress-building creativity.

These games will be released in 2024, and the crowdfunding campaign will include add-ons in case you want to acquire more bricks or boost your arsenal with a trebuchet or ballista.

Disney Villainous: Filled with Fright is an expansion for the Disney Villainous line that lets you play as Oogie Boogie from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and attempt to dethrone Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, but Oogie Boogie is the only villain included in the box, which means you can use this expansion only in combination with a standalone Disney Villainous title, which prior to this October 2023 release would be all of them.

Ahead of this expansion, publisher Ravensburger will release Disney Villainous: Introduction to Evil, a title that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Florida governor Ron DeSantis quote in a court document in the future.

This title is a limited-edition edition of Disney Villainous meant to celebrate the 100th edition of Disney that features only four villains instead of six — Maleficent, Captain Hook, Ursula and Prince John – along with streamlined gameplay crafted to help first-time players. This title will be exclusively available at the Target retail chain, with pre-orders starting in late June 2023.

Speaking of Disney Villainous, Ravensburger plans to host a tournament at Gen Con 2023 and is conducting a raffle on the assumption that not enough seats will be available for interested parties. Deadline for sign-up is the close of Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

The Dietz Foundation is taking pre-orders to fund a second edition of Dan Bullock‘s 1979: Revolution in Iran, which debuted in 2021.

Dan Thurot of Space-Biff has a detailed take on the game here, but this is the gist of the game:

1979: Revolution in Iran is a national-level strategic wargame covering the events leading up to the 1953 coup, the Islamic Revolution, and the turbulent period in between. You play as either the Coalition, pushing to nationalize the oil industry and later rise to oppose the Shah and remove him from power, or as the Royalist, fighting to keep the Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, in power and protect American and British oil interests.

1979 is a card-driven wargame for two players. Unlike many other event card games, each turn begins with a draft of event cards before alternating action rounds. Factional influence is each player’s primary resource. It is used to trigger events, take actions and most importantly, mount opposition to those in power.


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