Designer Demo Night at the Uncommons – September/October 2014 schedule

Designer Demo Night is a weekly event in New York City in which a single designer will show off his or her board game. These games will be available to purchase or to Kickstart, so you can try before you buy. And who better to teach you a game than its designer?

All events will happen at The Uncommons in Manhattan. They will all start at 7 pm.

Here’s a quick rundown of the schedule…

Wednesday, September 3: Anthony Conta – Funemployed!
Wednesday, September 10: Dan Cassar: Cavemen – Quest for Fire
Wedensday, September 17: Geoff Englestein – Space Cadets: Dice Duel
Wednesday, September 24: Jeff Lyon – Magnets: The Game
Wednesday, October 1: Josh Raab – Nika
Tuesday, October 7: Chris and Suzanne Zinzli – Tessen
Wednesday, October 15: Damon Tabb – Kerflip
Wednesday, October 22: Gil Hova – Battle Merchants
Wednesday, October 29: Michael R. Keller – City Hall

Here are more in-depth descriptions of all the games. All game descriptions and images below are from BoardGameGeek.

Tuesday, September 2:

Anthony Conta – Funemployed!

Funemployed! is a card-based party game in which everyone’s trying to become employed. Apply for real jobs, like Astronaut, Lawyer or Priest, with unreal qualifications, such as a Dragon, the ability to Speak Panda, or a DeLorean. Build up your resume and get hired for as many jobs as possible!

In Funemployed!, a player uses his qualifications to convince the other players that he’s the best qualified for a job. Players tell the story of why their qualifications make them the best fit for a job by role-playing and acting like they are on an interview. Find innovative ways to use your qualifications and become the most Funemployed player at the table!

Tuesday, September 9:

Dan Cassar- Cavemen: The Quest for Fire

Cavemen: The Quest for Fire is a card-drafting game in which players take the role of tribal leaders. The tribes compete for opportunities to hunt dinosaurs, recruit tribesmen, and discover new technologies, vying to be the first with enough knowledge and prestige to invent fire and usher in the age of modern humanity!

You have two resources to manage: Food and Teeth. You must spend Food each turn in order to keep your Tribe from starving. Teeth indicate prestige among the tribes. Use Teeth to bid for the conch and to acquire Cavemen and Caves.

Each turn, cards are drawn from the deck to fill a common Card Pool. Players take actions based on what is available in the pool. For example, if a Beast is drawn into the Card Pool, you can hunt it for Food and claim its Teeth as a sign of your bravery.

If you hold the conch during the Action Phase, you benefit by taking your Action first and taking a second Action after everyone else has gone once. Players can bid Teeth to take control of the Conch from another player. This can be important to get the first pick of the cards in the Card Pool.

The game features 21 different inventions that allow players to evolve diverse strategies, capitalizing on their tribe’s individual strengths. There are challenging decisions every turn as players must evaluate what resources are available, guess what their opponents will do, and weigh the amount of risk they’re willing to take.


Tuesday, September 16:

Geoff Englestein – Space Cadets: Dice Duel

Space Cadets: Dice Duel – the “Team vs. Team, Real-time, Dice-Rolling Game of Starship Combat!” – pits two spaceships against one another in quick-paced combat. The players are divided into two teams, each team playing the crew of a ship and winning or losing together based on how well they perform. The game ends when one side destroys their opponent by causing four points of damage through torpedoes or mines. Each ship has six Bridge Stations:

  • Engineering generates power for the other stations.
  • Helm maneuvers the ship on the map.
  • Weapons loads the torpedo tubes to attack the enemy.
  • Sensors locks onto the enemy so torpedoes can hit, and uses jammers to stop the enemy from locking on.
  • Shields helps protect the ship from enemy torpedoes.
  • Tractor Beams can grab the powerful crystals, move the enemy ship on the map, and launch Mines.

Each player is in charge of one or more of these stations, or has the overall role of Captain to coordinate everything. There are no game turns in Space Cadets: Dice Duel; instead the game continues with players acting as quickly as possible until one side wins.


Tuesday, September 23:

Jeff Lyon – Magnets: The Game

Magnets the Game is the tossing game of spontaneous magnetic reactions.

Players take turns tossing a magnet into a field of other magnets in an attempt to cause a stack of magnets. Cause a stack to form of 4 or more and they’re yours. Add it to your hand for continued play.

Once the last stack of magnets has been retrieved, the game is done.Collect the most and you have won!

Tuesday, September 30:

Josh Raab – Nika

A game inspired by ancient Greek geography & warfare! Command a Greek city’s hoplite soldiers. Push and rout enemy lines. Coordinate allied attacks to secure victory, but watch your flanks!

Nika is the ancient Greek word for “Conquer!” The concept of Nika came to me in a dream while I was studying abroad in Athens. The rules were honed across nearly two years of testing. The board shape and core mechanics were inspired by ancient Greek geography and warfare. Greece has many narrow valleys and mountain passes, and sometimes the only way to defeat an enemy force was to collide with them head-on and literally push them off the field. This othismos (“shoving”) is thought to have been the critical phase of most battles between hoplite armies, who were the heavy infantry that dominated ancient Greek war for four centuries.”

— Josh Raab, designer of Nika

Tuesday, October 7:

Chris and Suzanne Zinzli (Cardboard Edison) – Tessen

Tessen is a card game featuring simultaneous real time play. Players take animal cards from their decks and play them in up to 5 groups in front of them. Players may save sets of 3 or more, but beware! The opponent may use a warrior card to “attack” forcing the player to give up the attacked animal cards. The attacking player may then take the cards for his own. Also, warriors may be used to “defend” and nullify an opponent’s warrior.

Tessen is easy to learn, plays in minutes, and is great fun for both the casual and serious gamer.

Wednesday, October 15:

Damon Tabb – Kerflip!

KerFlip! is a fast-thinking word game that rewards you for making anagrams from a group of letter tiles faster than your opponents can. At the beginning of each round, players simultaneously drop a predetermined number of tiles onto the board, then quickly flip them all ivory side up. (The fronts of the tiles are ivory, while the backs are orange.) At this point the round is a free-for-all, with players racing to call out one word each. If the last player is taking too long to call a word, any of his opponents can “hurry” him by starting the timer; if he doesn’t call out a word in 15 seconds, he busts, scoring nothing.

Once every player has called a word for the round, they score points in the order they called out the words, so the first player who called scores first, the second player second, etc. The first time a tile is used – that is, while its ivory side is face-up – the tile is worth 10 points. Once it’s been scored, flip (or “KerFlip”) it to its orange side, reducing its value to 5 points for all other players who used it in the same round. Some tiles, identified by a small number in the bottom right corner, are “premium tiles” that award players cards with bonus point values.

At the end of each round, return any unused (ivory) tiles to the draw pouch and sweep all used (orange) tiles into the collection chutes in the game box. The game lasts 15-20 minutes (about 10-12 rounds) depending on the number of players (2-4). To clean up at the end of the game, pick up the game box and gently shake it to funnel the tiles into a collection cup under the board.

Wednesday, October 22:

Gil Hova – Battle Merchants

In a faraway land, the Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and Hobgoblins stand on the brink of war. After years of failed peace negotiations, they have finally decided to take up arms and stand ready to fight – which is great news for you because you’ll be selling them their weapons.

Battle Merchants is an economic game set in a fantasy land in which players manufacture four different weapons, then sell them to various warring races. Demand for each type of weapon differs throughout the game, but a well-crafted weapon will last longer.

On each turn, players can forge weapons, sell a weapon, upgrade craft (to build better weapons), or take a Kindom Card (for special powers); for players with a high-enough level of craft, a fifth action is available: forge and sell a weapon in the same turn. Players earn money by selling weapons, and it’s permitted (nay, encouraged!) to sell your weapons to both sides of the same battle. The game takes place over four seasons in one game year. At the end of each season, the races fight with the weapons that the players sold. Weapons are at risk of being destroyed in battle, and surviving weapons earn money for surviving. After all, someone has to get paid to sharpen all of those weapons…

At the end of the game, the player with the most money wins.

Wednesday, October 29

Michael R. Keller – City Hall

City Hall sees players competing to become Mayor of New York City. They do this by attempting to be the most successful at both bringing people into the city as well as campaigning for the citizens’ approval. Whoever best balances these two goals will win the election.