Justus Productions

Raiding Pirates: Brethren of the Coast

Raiding Parties: Brethren of the Coast
From: Nick Pace Entertainment
Reviewed by: Tony McRee

Raiding Parties: Brethren of the Coast (RP:BotC) is a pirate themed card game in which you are trying to beat your opponent by defeating his raiding party before he defeats your raiding party. Crews battle each other through either long range combat or melee encounters with the outcome based on the flip of a card from a standard deck of playing cards. Before beginning the game, players “hire” their crew by determine the amount of gold that is to be spent. In other words, this is how you build your deck of cards. Once that is determined, players select their crew and let the battle begin.

Need to stop at this point and say that Raiding Parties: Brethren of the Coast is considered to be the expansion to the original game. Therefore, in this review, while I did not have the original game it was still possible to get a flavor for the game as a whole. The expansion added more ships and lands and did not have as many crew members as the original Raiding Pirates game. The original was produced in 2012 and the expansion was done in 2014. Both games are very hard to find currently and it has been awhile since the website was updated. Now back to the review.

“Hit the Deck”
First thing that catches your eye will be the art, it is gorgeous. This will help add to the theme of the game. The game is very quick to play and easy to teach. But like all card games of this type, it comes down to the deck building and that is where time will need to be spent and might challenge players until they get familiar with the various cards.

Because the game is quick to play, it can easily be set back up and go again. Strategy is not only in the hiring of the crew, but as you play and go through the normal card deck to determine outcome, you must figure out what your chances are based on what is left in that deck. Example, you play the Pistol card that will hit on a Heart, Club, King or Queen. Well, we know that there are 13 cards in each suit, and there are 4 Kings and 4 Queens to the deck. So for the pistol to hit, there is 30 card chance if the deck were still at 52 cards. But as you play, these odds will either improve or get worse depending on what has been played previously. Players will need to keep track of this to determine their chances during the game. While this seems to be a simple idea, it is a great strategy mechanism for this game.

If you like pirates and quick playing card games where the strategy is deceptive and the luck of the draw plays a small part in the outcome, give Raiding Pirates a shot if you can find it.

Codex Rating: 15 – Fairly Good
Product Summary
Raiding Pirates: Brethren of the Coast
Type of Game: Deck Building
Game Design by: Nick Pace
Artist: Don Maitz
Game Components Included: 55 game cards, rules of play
Retail Price: $ 16.99 (US)
Number of Players: up to 4
Player Ages: 10 and up
Play Time: 30 minutes
Website: http://www.raidingparties.com

Interview with April & Kevin Cox, of KnA Games

April & Kevin Cox make up KnA Games and are currently Kickstarting a board game, Space Movers. They took a few minutes of their time to answer some questions about his Kickstarter.

Thank you April & Kevin Cox for taking the time to answer a few questions. Tell us a little about yourself and your gaming experience.

We are a couple of reluctant adults that remain kids at heart. For fun, we love to watch movies and play games. Kevin probably has about 10 more years of gaming experience, but we’ve been playing board games together for over 20 years. He grew up playing games like Stop Thief and Dark Tower. I grew up playing Monopoly and Life. He introduced me to Magic and Eurorails in the early 90’s and I was hooked!

How did the Space Movers come about ?

Space Movers is something we began working on about 3 years ago. Kevin initially came up with the idea of the theme and basic structure of the game. Over a couple of years we spent a little time developing the game. Late last year we learned about Kickstarter and went into high gear polishing the game so that we could release it this year.

Could you give us a brief description of the game and why you are so passionate about it.

Space Movers is a cooperative adventure that incorporates story, strategy and balance. You work as a crew to complete 5 objectives to win the game. During play you will have to deliver cargo from planet to planet to gain resources that allow you to keep flying. There are several other things you have to juggle during gameplay, like events that can alter the rules of the game and the evil UO that will chase you across the system in an effort to interrogate one of the crew members. Space Movers is the type of game that has you feeling like you have complete control in the beginning and like you’re barely hanging on by the end!

Honestly, we are passionate about the game because we really believe it is good. Not that we can take all the credit for that. Since we began demoing the game over the summer, we have had great feedback that has resulted in changes to improve the game tremendously.

How does the comic book tie into the game?

The comic gives you a backstory for the characters and helps you to connect to them. We developed a small bio for each of the characters to help us determine what their special abilities would be in the game. That led to the idea of doing a more complete story that explained why the characters ended up together on the Liberty. The added benefit is that you feel as if you know these characters and inevitably identify with one or more of them, even though you’ve never met them before.

The art for the game and comics is phenomenal. Who does the art and what inspires it?

Kevin did the graphic design for the game board, game box and the cards. All the illustration of the characters and ships in the comic and the game were done by Jon Hrubesch. And phenomenal is a great way to describe his talent! We have been so fortunate to have him involved in this project.

What do you feel separates it from other cooperative games of its nature?

Probably the most unique thing about Space Movers is the dice mechanic that is used to complete skill checks. Each player controls a die specific to their character. To complete skill checks, dice are rolled one at a time on a roll mat inside the game box lid. Multiple players can be involved in each check and they are able to try and change the result of previously rolled dice.

What do you see for the future of Space Movers?

The possibilities for expansions are endless. We will be releasing more Objective card sets and Random Objectives like we have in the initial game, along with more roll mats. We would like to also release an expansion with miniatures for the ships and characters. Eventually we hope to release a new game with a new location for our crew to explore along with another comic book to continue their story.

Interview with Duncan Davis, Sherwood Games

Duncan Davis of Sherwood Games is currently Kickstarting a card game, Missing Link.  He took a few minutes of his time to answer some questions about his Kickstarter.

Tell us a little about yourself and your gaming experience.

Hello everyone! My name is Duncan Davis and I am a game designer. During the day, I am a Ph. D. Chemical Engineer at North Carolina State University. I work with polymer origami (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjfhfqAv1mI). I am the 2nd of 5 children and have been playing games like Bridge, Magic the Gathering, and Acquire since I was 6 years old. I grow up in Rhode Island – the smallest state with the biggest imagination!

How did Missing Link come about?

Missing Link came about because I once took a physiology exam to test creativity and one of the questions was to come up with as many ways to use a brick in a given amount of time. I had a lot of fun with the question and tweaked the idea a bit to turn it into a group deduction game.

Could you give us a brief description of the game and why you are so passionate about it? 

The active player draws two objects from the deck, reveals one object, and keeps the other one hidden. That player provides hints to help the other players guess the name of the hidden object. The trick is that all the hints must be true about both of the objects.

For example: If you had an apple card and a skyscraper card, you might reveal the skyscraper and and say “Both objects are associated with New York,” “These are both bigger than a strawberry,” etc. When someone shouts out APPLE! They get one card and you keep the other. The first player to get to 7 cards wins.

Each card is a one-word, physical object. This helps because people always have physical characteristics to work with – you can always compare size. The active player has 2 minutes to get another player to guess the hidden object (although new players get to wave this time limit).

What do you feel separates it from other party games of its nature?

Missing Link makes you think in a very different way than any other game on the market. You are restricted in what you can say in a very interesting way and many times you have to take a few turns before you get a handle on the game. One of the goals I have as a designer is to make fun games that secretly teach you something important without the player realizing. Missing Link does this beautifully because it helps players become more creative. By making you think in a new way and compare things with nothing in common, you have to be creative with your hints. A Wack on the Side of the Head is my basis for making this claim – if you are interested in creativity, I highly suggest you read it (it is a quick read)!
What do you see for the future of Missing Link?

If Missing Link does well, I plan on releasing a ‘dirty’ expansion focused more on adults. I think that players will have a blast trying to compare objects that are more risqué then an apple and an elephant.

The Rightgames. From Russia With Love

Back in 2011, MACE got an email that intrigued us.  It was from a game company called Rightgames, and the contact person is Ivan Tulovsky.  I emailed Ivan a few questions and here they are with his answers.

Tell us a little about yourself?

We are a team from Russia; we like to create board games. We live in Moscow. Originally we are a lawyer, an economist, a marketing expert, an engineer, a scientist and a teacher.

The first of our games was released in 2002. It was a CCG called “The War” dedicated to the World War II. At that time the board game market in Russia actually didn’t exist. Therefore we had to do everything by ourselves in order to get target consumers. We found a printing-office, created the design of boxes, packed decks and boosters and negotiated with shops. The first tournament of “The War” was held in 2003.

So step by step the creating and development of board games has become our main business.

This year we have prepared 4 issues of the most popular of our games in English and we’d like to introduce them to the international board gaming community.

Tell us a little about Rightgames and the games they sell?

“Rightgames LLС” is a Russian company specializing in game development and publishing.  It was created by a group of like-minded people in 2010.  The main task for the company is to create and develop board games.

Previously known as «Stolitsa Design Group», it released games made by Sergey Machin. The team not only stayed the same, it grew with new members.

Since 2011 all games released by «Stolitsa Design Group» now use the brand «Rightgames LLС».  The company is actively promoting board game culture in Russia.

Together with a non-profit organization “Academia Igr” (Games Academy) we have been organizing gaming zones at role playing conventions and festivals in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. We have over 10 such events a year. The most popular of them is “ZilantCon” held in Kazan city in November.

Since 2003 the company has participated in the annual 2-day “Games Day” held by “Alegris Ltd” in Moscow. This is the most distinguished board gaming event in Russia.

The company has a program that supports board game clubs throughout Russia. At this time, most clubs have board games developed by our company.

The company also participates in trade fairs in Russia, organizes games and seminars on board games, and closely works with themed Russian info-portals.

Why do conventions like MACE attract Rightgames?

In Russia we work with role-playing conventions that support board games areas. For example we hold a championship in our game «Potion-making Practice” during so-called “convention rings” of the CIS and the final competition is traditionally held in Kazan every November.

We like conventions very much. There is a very pleasant atmosphere where one can have a good time together with nice people. People at conventions are mostly open-minded and like new knowledge.

 How would you characterize the gaming scene in Russia?

The market of board games in Russia has been booming for the last 5 years. New companies appear and localize foreign novelties that attract newcomers.

Party and family games have become very popular. They help to involve very different people into the board gaming community.

Until recently people could buy board games only in several small Internet-shops but now there is a special chain that sells board games and includes 22 shops in different Russian cities

For the moment European and American localizations dominate Russian market but some small publishing companies are growing and creating their own projects. For example last year there appeared a company that develops Russian historical war games.

How would you compare Russia to the US in terms of gaming?

Russian market of board games is quite new. We suppose it’ll be growing for 3-4 future years. Now you can find localizations of all world hits here in Russia. Every month Russian customers get several games – new for Russia but made in US or Europe some years or decades ago.

As far as I know the US market differs. In your country board games is a real culture with its long history. Every year there appear many novelties but only some of them become bestsellers.

What are your plans for the future in the American market?

This year we’ve released trial issues of our games in English. We want to see how these games will be met in the world. If everything is as successful as it is in Russia we’ll launch our products to the US market.

We have not decided yet if we’ll make our games independently or cooperate with some publishing and trading company.

What is your favorite game?  What did you grow up playing?

Till 1991 there were only 3 board games for adults in the USSR, namely chess, checkers and dominoes. Actually board games were considered as a hobby for children; even teenagers played these games very rarely. There were few big factories to produce games.

And then in 1980s “Monopoly” appeared in the USSR. People who went abroad for business trips often brought it. And of course some played hand-made copies.

I remember my parents playing hand-made “Monopoly” at home.

“Monopoly” is the most popular and well-known game in Russia. When people ask me to explain what board games are I say first of all “Do you know “Monopoly”?” and they nod gladly.

I’d like to tell you a short story: once in 1985 several KGB officers who were very serious and stable people met together to play “Monopoly.” And when one of them (a KGB colonel) lost he burst into tears. None of his colleagues had seen his tears before.

One of the first board games we played was “Puerto Rico;” we liked it very much and we play it up to now. It’s also a great pleasure to play “Ticket to Ride,” “Carcasson,” “Colosseum,” “Arkham Horror,” and “Ingenious.” We’ve got “Warhammer” and “The Lord of the Rings” armies of miniatures. We even took part in making Russian localizations of these games by “Games Workshop.” And we like the “Axis&Allies” series.

After we played “ World of Warcraft ” for a long time on PC we began to play board games dedicated to it especially “World of Warcraft Adventure.”


Nathan Little, Creator of Posthumous Z

MACE 2009 Interview

Hello Nathan.  Thanks for taking the time for this interview.

No problem. It’s a pleasure.

Tell us a little about your self from a gaming perspective?  What is your gaming background and what do you like to play?

Historically, I’m more of a computer gamer. I’d just started playing a real variety of board games in the last 2 years since I’d returned home from college. I have a great group of friends and we like to get together on weekends and rotate between games like Arkham Horror, Scrabble, or even Warhammer 40k. Mostly though, we do role-playing with a random White Wolf title, BESM, Dark Heresy or a couple I’ve made up.

Tell us about Posthumous Z?  What inspired you to make it?

Posthumous Z, like many inventions, bloomed in the bloody fields of necessity. Our gaming group was in between RPG campaigns, so we’d been playing board games solely for a couple months and getting bitter. With a modest 6 players, games slowed to a tedious crawl. Most games were free for alls, which after a while can breed more than a little animosity. Finally, many promising titles quickly became stale and lost their charm, so our choices of what was even tolerable grew less and less.

Seeing homicide as a foreseeable future, I made Posthumous to address these issues. Posthumous Z is a team based zombie horror game. Half the players are humans and each control a single cliché character, the other half command hordes of themed zombies to eat ‘em. Everything is randomly generated each game: the human characters, zombie themes, even the town’s layout. On top of this, the game is easy to learn and scales magnificently; so whether you have 4 or 10 players you can expect to play through in 2 hours. Now how about that?

How has the reception been to your game at other cons?

Astonishing, really. Once I get the first group to sit down it pretty much snowballs. Either it’s the gameplay of strategy and counter strategy, the look and humor, or the jubilation at a zombie game that celebrates the theme rather than treating it like a marketing gimmick, but people get terribly excited and they frantically recruit more people to play. This makes a lot of racket, so, more random people wander close, wondering what all the shouting’s about, and I sit in the center, the spider to the flies.

Any particular funny Posthumous Z game play memory you’d like to share?

One of the great things about Posthumous Z is that each game is different, and more importantly, memorable. So there’s been a lot, including a giant boss made of 30 corpses fighting a heavily medicated hobo with a guitar, and a game ending horde of flaming zombie midgets. Though if I were to pick one, it’d be the time that my character got downed and my teammate came back for me. I told him just to leave me behind, but he said, “No! I’m going for awesome!” He dragged my limp body through a burning building firing an AK47 at zombie ninjas all the while. We both escaped.

What has amazed you the most while demoing Posthumous at the different cons?

The number of people that would come back to play again surprised me. It’s not uncommon for people to play 3 or 4 times at a con. I’ve seen people quit other games when I’ve shown up, just to play again. I’ve even had other GMs play and then cancel their own games to play again.

Have your playtests at cons produced many changes in the game?

There’s only been a few. I didn’t expect people to throw pipe bombs at their allies to get the zombies off them. I paid for that presumption. Luckily for the con goers and unfortunately for my friends, I did some pretty intense alpha testing. But mostly, it’s been adding aids and minor spelling errors.

What are your future plans with the game and your newly formed company?

The plan is to go forth and be awesome. Continue to show off the game, build up the fans, and keep working on these new projects. Then we’ll see how quickly I can get to a point where I feel justified in buying a top hat and a boat.


Interview with North Star Games Founders

Dominic Crapuchettes and Satish Pillalamarri are the founders and co-managers of North Star Games, a new party game and family game company that is surprising the industry.  Initially a brainchild of Mr. Crapuchettes, North Star Games came to be in April of 2003.  After meeting Mr. Pillalamarri, the two men worked to develop a company that brought something different to the market of family and party games.

With their own money already invested in the company, Dominic and Satish raised funds from various remarkably generous associates and family members to fully design and print their first game, Cluzzle.  In 2004, Cluzzle was a success for them, winning several awards as one of the best family games.  By the end of the year, Cluzzle was being carried in about 100 stores across North America and appeared on frequently visited websites like Toys “R” Us Online and Amazon.com.

In 2005, Dominic and Satish finished their second game, Wits & Wagers.  The game tested very well, with many describing it as a potential blockbuster game.  This led to North Star’s decision to partner with Eagle Games in order to print 10,000 copies each of Wits & Wagersand the 2nd edition of Cluzzlein 2005.  Since then, Target Stores placed an order for more copies of Wits & Wagersand Games Magazine awarded Wits & Wagersas the party game of the year.

These two gentlemen have been kind enough to grant us an interview.

Your first game, Cluzzle was very successful.   What was the inspiration for this innovative sculpting game?

DC: Cluzzle is modeled after a 1988 game by Klaus Teuber called Barbarossa.   My goal was to remove all of the complicated elements that bogged the game down, so that only the fun aspects remained.

What do you think people enjoy most about Cluzzle?

DC: Laughing at the sculptures that other people make when they are trying to be tricky!   A lot of funny situations arise.

SP: I think it’s that the sculptures don’t have to be done very well.   For one, that makes it fun for people who are bad at sculpting, like me.   In fact, Dominic makes fun of me because I still can’t make an oval out of clay.   This mechanic also brings out a lot of the humor in the game.   People ask funny questions about funny-looking sculptures.   Players can joke around and not feel pressured by having to sculpt well.

Wits & Wagers has taken off like a rocket.   What do you attribute its success to?

CD: I think it comes down to two things; it is very simple and very fun.  Going much deeper is difficult because it is hard to explain why something is fun.   On one level, it just is fun.   But if I were to try and break it down, I would say that it has a unique mix of interesting trivia, a touch of strategy (playing the odds and spreads), great social interaction (bluffing, smack talking, and betting on the answers of other players), and the excitement of gambling (being able to bet big and get lucky).

SP: I think Wits & Wagers is just a really strong product.   It’s one of the few games out there that can really be enjoyed by both gamers and non-gamers alike.   It takes 2 familiar genres, trivia and gambling, and combines them in a way that’s totally new and interesting, and that we think improves upon both.

Wits & Wagers is a big improvement upon other popular trivia games like Trivial Pursuit.   For one, you don’t have to know the right answer.   You don’t feel dumb if there’s a question about something you might not follow.   People really latch on to that.   Second, the game has no turns.   People like the fact that everyone is involved in the action the whole time.   In Trivial Pursuit, it’s not uncommon to wait 20 minutes for your turn to come around again.   Another point is that it’s more interactive than most trivia games because you can bet on other players’ answers.   Knowing what your friends know is just as important as what you know.

Congratulations on the Wits & Wagers deal with Target stores.   How was the home office when that deal came through?

CD: We were dumbfounded and excited!   All of a sudden, our company went from the verge of bankruptcy to the potential of great success.   But the reality set in once we returned from Toy Fair.  We would have to get a hold of $400,000 to print the inventory, and we had to get at least $100,000 of that money within a month.   Without a track record or a purchase order, there were no banks that would loan us the money.   So we had to write a business plan and find professional investors.   Not a simple task for someone who views himself as a full-time professional game designer.

SP: At first, we were ecstatic!   The deal increased our distribution 5-fold and will give many more people who are just casual gamers the chance to play Wits & Wagers and hopefully see that there are tons of great games out there, and not just Monopoly and Scrabble.

However, very soon after the news, we really had to crack down to make the deal a reality.   Target wanted us to ship more games than we had produced during the company’s history prior to that point.   First, we had to raise $400,000 to print the inventory that we needed and ship it to the U.S.   We also re-designed the packaging to make it more mass market friendly.   We also added 100 new questions to the game and updated the other 600 questions to reflect the latest information.   And we had to do all of that in about a month!

What type of games do you admire?

CD: I admire games that use the least amount of rules needed to get people involved and having fun.   With party games, this means rules that can be taught in minutes.   With role-playing games, this means rules that enhance a story instead of rules that get in the way of the story.   With strategy games, it means the fewest rules needed to make each game strategically and tactically different from the previous game.   With negotiations games, it means the fewest rules needed to get people negotiating on the value of different items.   In short, I like playing all types of games, but I don’t like sitting around and learning the rules.

SP: I admire many different types of games.   Now that we create games for a living, I understand how difficult the process is and most people who do it should be commended.   I also think a lot of people underestimate how difficult it can be to design party games.   Most people who play party games have very little tolerance for extra rules.   Good party games need to be elegant, which I would define as having fun game play and interesting decisions with as few rules as possible.   Simplicity is key – you can’t spend 10 minutes teaching a party game. 

Game development (in addition to what may traditionally be defined as game design) is also really important in party games.   For example, the questions in Wits & Wagers need to be good for the game to be good.   They have to be interesting and they have to be things people can guess at, but not know exactly.   That’s hard to do.  If the questions were bad, people wouldn’t enjoy the game, even though the design is good.   Such attention to detail is important when designing party games.

Do you play any other types of games?

CD: I cannot think of a genre of games that I have not been passionate about at one time or another.   Some of the favorite experiences were with role-playing in high school.   But I also played competitive Magic for several years culminating in about $30k of winnings.   More currently, I enjoy introducing my non-gamer friends to the light Euro games and getting them to play party games that have a little more meat than their normal fair (such as Wits & Wagers).

SP: I play 3 main types of games – Euro-Games, party games, and card games.   For card games, I’m an avid poker player and play traditional games like hearts and rummy.   For party games, I’ll play most of them and pretty much anything I hear is good.   I love party games that involve creativity (like having to come up with something funny) or communication.   For Euro-games, I prefer the lighter and medium-weight games (Settlers, Carcassone, Ticket to Ride series, Notre Dame, Yspahan, Thurn & Taxis, etc.) and some of the abstract strategy games (Blokus, Ingenious, Qwirkle).   I play heavier Euro-Games on occasion.

GR: Do you get a chance to play much?

CD: Answering this question makes me sad!   Ever since I got serious about trying to make a living running a board game company, my game playing time has diminished.   I used to play games several times a week (everyday when I was on the pro tour).   Now I play games 3 or four times a week.   Then I binge out when I get to a convention and play for several days straight.

SP: I probably game about twice a month these days.   Strangely, it’s often harder to play other games when you run a game company.

GR: What makes your games “designer games”?

CD: One of the most important things to me is that game designers get credit on the front of the box.   Big corporations don’t want to give game designers credit because it gives power to the game designer.   Once a game designer gets recognition, they can charge more money for their work.   So big corporations to their best to keep game designers anonymous.   Well who wants to be the lowly game designer that gets taken advantage of?   Not me.  So relatively few people go into the profession of game design.   This means the quality of games is not as good as it should be.   At North Star Games, we want game designers to get the recognition they deserve.   We want to pay them the money they deserve.   We believe that in the long run, this will increase the number of people that want to become full-time game designers (not just hobbyists that design games on the side), and increase the quality of games that are available in the market.

SP: Simply, that they are designed by real-life game designers who care about the quality of the game, not corporations looking to maximize profit or put out a great gift instead of a great game.   This won’t be a new concept for gamers.   But most people in the U.S. who play board games are casual gamers.   This idea will be new to them.

Here are 4 things that are important to us:

  • Our games have no turns, because we think waiting for your turn is boring.  Everyone is involved the whole time.
  • No one gets eliminated.  Everyone plays until the end.
  • Our games can be taught in 3 minutes or less.
  • Our games are short, so they fit into people’s schedule easily.

What separates your games from all the rest?


  • We think waiting for your turn is boring, so our games don’t have turns.   Everyone is always involved the whole time.
  • No one gets eliminated.   We think it sucks to go to a friend’s house to play games and then have to sit on the sidelines while others are still having fun.
  • Our games can be taught in 3 minutes or less.   We hate waiting to play a fun game in order to teach people the rules.   Even worse if you’re the person learning the rules.   It reminds me of high school.

What is in store for North Star in 2008?

SP: We will be releasing a new game in the summer of 2008 that’s called “Say Anything”.   It’s a party game that we think combines the best aspects of Wits & Wagers and Apples to Apples.   We’ve tested it with over 200 people so far and it’s been really well received.   We’re excited for the possibilities.

We’ve also begun working on expansion packs for Wits & Wagers.  We hope to have some new questions ready before the end of 2008, but so far we haven’t been able to set a release date for this.