One of the things we like to do here at the Malted Meeple is give some extra attention to our favorite board game publishers and designers. In our monthly Publisher’s Spotlight we provide a bit of a background on the publisher, discuss a few of their games, and may even announce a visit to The Meeple by some of the publisher’s representatives!
The Malted Meeple presents April’s Publisher’ Spotlight, Fireside Games!
Founded in 2007, Fireside Games is based in Austin, Texas, although half of their staff is located right here in Ohio. The company was created based on the idea that board games matter in this hectic, digital world – a sentiment with which we at The Malted Meeple wholeheartedly agree!
In their own words: “Fireside Games believes in the power of bringing people together. Because of that, our games are different from what you might expect. Players cooperate and interact in new ways that spark creativity, encourage strategic thinking and inspire the imagination.”
Fireside’s first game, Castle Panic, was released in 2009. Designed by Chief Creative Officer Justin De Witt, Castle Panic is a cooperative tower defense board game. It remains one of Fireside’s biggest hits, and has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. It is also on the short list of games we reach for at Ravenwood Castle and The Malted Meeple when introducing someone new to the hobby.
Fireside’s game lineup includes several other great games, such as Bears! and Bloodsuckers, Dead Panic, and a Castle Panic themed Munchkin crossover game.
In addition to Justin De Witt, the Fireside team consists of CEO Anne-Marie De Witt, Marketing Manager Maureen McCardel, and Customer Care Manager Kris McCardel. While I haven’t yet met Justin and Anne-Marie in person, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with both Maureen and Kris. I’ve even almost forgiven them for forcing me to dump a bucket of ice on my head. Almost.
Luckily for them, I almost certainly won’t be planning an elaborate revenge during their visit to The Malted Meeple on International TableTop Day this weekend. Almost certainly.
A Look at Some of Fireside Games’ Titles
Castle Panic – a cooperative tower defense board game for 1 to 6 players. The co-op element makes Castle Panic a great family game, and the perfect kick-off for your weekly game night. Expansions: The Wizard’s Tower and the recently released Dark Titan.
You must work together to defend your Castle, in the center of the board, from monsters that attack out of the forest at the edges of the board. Trade cards, hit and slay monsters, and plan strategies together to keep your Castle intact. The players either win or lose together, but only the player with the most victory points is declared the Master Slayer. Players must balance the survival of the group with their own desire to win.
Castle Panic was featured in the first season of Wil Wheaton’s TableTop.
Bears! – a fast playing, competitive game in which you score points by pairing dice. Shoot bears and run from tents for a few points, or take a risk and score big by sleeping through the attack! But watch out! If Bears are left at the end of the round, your sleeping campers are done for!
Dead Panic – put your Zombie Apocalypse team to the test with this cooperative game. Choose a character and make your stand together in a remote cabin, in the center of the board, against waves of the undead that close in from the edges of the board. If you can survive long enough, survivors will bring the pieces of the radio needed to call for rescue. Once rescue arrives, it’s up to each character to leave the cabin and make it out alive!
Munchkin Panic – is a semi-cooperative board game that blends the all-for-one gameplay of Castle Panic and the all-for-me gameplay of Munchkin. In this hybrid game, the Munchkin Monsters have found the Castle Panic towers and are on the rampage! Players must balance their self-interest with the cooperation necessary to survive. If players get too greedy, the Monsters will stomp the Castle flat while the players are too busy fighting amongst themselves.
The next time you visit The Malted Meeple, we encourage you to try a game by Fireside Games. We guarantee you’ll have a great time!
Jim Reed is a lifelong gamer who started with the original red box Dungeons & Dragons. After spending 20 years in the corporate world, he decided it was high time that work be fun and struck out on his own. Jim now owns and operates Ravenwood Castle and The Malted Meeple, and spends his days ensuring his guests have as much fun as he does.