Greenbrier Games, based out of Massachusetts have been around since 2012. You might know their first game, Zpocolypse. A survival game for 2-4 players with the main goal just surviving day to day. With the success of the first game on Kickstarter, they quickly gained a following and Zpocolypse 2 was funded and has even begun shipping this month!
Another game out right now from Greenbrier Games would be Yashima: Legend of the Kami Masters, which is a card based tactical miniature battle on a hex grid. The game is meant for one on one battles, team battles and even free for all combat. There are many different options and decks to play as in this game, each with their own style of play such as; chaining together attacks, healing, burning or even finding weaknesses. A very interesting piece of this game, is that all the characters were specifically created for this game. The few characters I saw have an amazing amount of lore to them that all intertwines with each other and builds upon the play style of the individual characters. Interestingly, losing in this game, doesn’t mean your character is gone. Their spirit comes back and restores you making your character a modified and a much angrier version of themselves.
Yashima pulls heavy on the Japanese culture with influences seen directly in the 4 starter characters of the monk Rosamu, a priestess named Hikaru, a fire sorceress Akikio and Kenta the Ronin warrior among along with terrain that transports you into their world with dirt roads, temples and mountainous maps. Now this game does have some bumpy first few rounds as you learn to play, but that comes with any new game until you are familiar with the key terms like EXERT, LOSE or USE. Again though, these are the same terms used in many miniature/CCG games so the learning phase only takes a minute or so before you feel confident to continue without the glossary. The unique thing about this game (other than the fancy miniature figures) is that the decks of your Kami and your Character intermingle, making different combinations of decks, which end up being your hit points as well. A fun game mechanic that helps make this game something different and want you to try and master.
The expansions onto this game allow the 1v1/2v2 core game to allow for a 5th and 6th character to join in depending on how many expansions you have. With Mitsuo and Saru coming from the Deep Woods expansion you get the option to play as a blind bard and monkey character pairing or from the Icy Peaks expansion with a Yeti Kami guiding Yuki a frost queen can also join the fray. Yashima has a lot of replay value which is important in the board game world, as there are plenty of deck combinations to make as you experience the different Kamis (Tiger, Tortoise, Dragon or Phoenix) guiding your character’ decks as well as different play styles to try out and figure out which character is your favorite and the lore to explore and play upon as you dig into this game.
Another simple but very creative game from Greenbrier Games would be their Ninja Dice game. Just a few dice and you can wage a stealthy ninja war against someone (or even by yourself) as you try to invade a house and steal your opponent’s treasures. The base game is a push your luck type of game, but where the dice land is even more important. Some of the dice cut imaginary lines that negate dice behind the invisible expanded line or to enhance dice closest to it. Like their other games, Greenbrier also has an expansion onto the core game. With specialty ninja dices like the Fire Brand, the Chain Specialist, Assassin, Trickster or Spy there are many fun new expansions to add that just make playing a simple dice game addictive and involving.
Greenbrier Games aren’t just a group of friends who had a single (or few) successful Kickstarter. Their miniatures were so well received that when another startup game company was looking to have some assistance in their own miniature designs, they reached out to Greenbrier for assistance. They have a very unique feature to their miniatures which actually allow you to modify their miniatures which can be bought separately. The miniatures come with two alternates for the torso, head and arms allowing you to specially make a hero/villain for what ever use you need. A perfect example would be the witch hunter who comes with either a full helmet or cowl, then you can swamp out his crossbow for a shield and sword setup. The team at Greenbrier has really hit on a niche in the board game community where they are able to help other brands and games get published and hammer out the mechanics and art of a game. It was a real pleasure to meet with Theresa and Zach of Greenbrier Games as it is clear they are just like the rest of us and love a good game which speaks volumes to their original goal, to continually making games that they would want to play.
You can follow news about any of Greenbrier Games involvement here: http://www.greenbriergames.com/main/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Greenbriergames
On Twitter: @GreenBrierGames