Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne draws attention to some of the games his staff liked from ACD Games Day.

As I mentioned in last week's column, when possible, I like to send staff members out to distributor game days and open houses, then have them write up a report for me on what they saw and learned.  It gives them a learning opportunity beyond what I can provide them at the store, gives them a behind-the-scenes look at the hobby game industry and allows them to become more of an expert in the area in the eyes of our customers, since they are able to discuss and have tried games before our customers have the opportunity to do so.

In no particular order, these are some of the upcoming and already released items that Brandon and Aaron were struck by:

Spookies from HABA--lots of eye appeal and would look good set out on display.  Easy, quick game play that would fit in well with a family game section (see "HABA USA Expands Euro-Style Game Offerings").

Bed, Wed, Dead, from IDW Games--a variant of the popular genre of F**K, Marry, Kill games (see "Make Dirty Decisions in ‘Bed, Wed, Dead’").  Obviously bowdlerized for a more general audience and would appeal to those who play Cards Against Humanity, Personally Incorrect, and Heebie Jeebies.

From University Games, Anti-Monopoly. Anti-Monopoly first released waaaay back in 1973 and an updated version came out in 1984, first distributed as Anti-Monopoly 2, then simply Anti-Monopoly.  Since University Games has produced and distributed Anti-Monopoly for decades, I would assume this is the same game.  Perhaps University Games plans to promote the game more as I had no idea it was still in print, but am glad to see it is.

One of the games both Aaron and Brandon like was Greenbriar Games' Grimslingers (see "New Sci-Fi/Fantasy Western Game from Greenbrier").  The game combines a rock-paper-scissors mechanic with a blackjack variant, allowing players to compete head to head or co-operatively in a thematic setting that reminds me of Deadlands.

RPGs were represented as well. Kobold Games, publisher of the late, lamented print version of Kobold Quarterly and the Kobold Guide to Board Game Design, has several new print products coming out including the Advanced Races Compendium for Pathfinder, Midgard Heroes for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition and the Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding.  Though the Kobold Guide to Board Game Design didn't sell nearly as well as I thought it should, I will still give their Guide to Worldbuilding a shot, as well as the other two supplements.  Though Paizo is pumping out plenty of materials for Pathfinder, as I have commented before, there is definitely a paucity of supplements out there for D&D 5th Edition, at least in print.  Tons of stuff exists in PDF format, but brick and mortar stores have no way to sell it.

Finally, the guys were really intrigued with Calliope Games’ Running with the Bulls game (see "First Three New ‘Titan Series’ Games").  Players use dice as "runners" in the game who run through the streets of the town of El Toro, trying to make it to the spectacular tourist attractions on the cost while not getting running over by one of the town’s many bulls.  Both Aaron and Brandon thought the pachinko aspect of the game, as the bulls bounce around the board while the players play cards to affect both their movement and that of the runners, quite unique.

Aaron and Brandon also wanted to thank ACD for putting on the event and to let the company know they really enjoyed it, especially the evening's Long Island Iced Teas.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of