What happened in Alton?

Where to start? This time I guess I need to take you to Alton in Hamshire, England. That’s where it all began. I was sitting in Asmodee UK offices meeting with their sales team and presenting Detective. It was spring 2018, a few months before the release of the game and as always I was doing my magic tricks. Everybody in the room was very excited about the game and when I finished one of the guys sitting left to me said something like: ‘This all sounds awesome. I’d die for a case in X-Files setting!’

‘Be careful what you wish for’ I said. He smiled. He knew what’s coming.

OK, let’s be honest. Nothing was coming. We were on our way to the hotel with Marcin, Portal Games Sales Director and my brain was working like crazy.

‘Did you hear what the guy said?’ I asked with the excitement.

‘Which guy?’

‘The guy sitting left to me!’ I was so excited that people on the street looked at us. ‘The X-File guy!’


‘X-Files. He wants X-Files! That’s brilliant. I can do this!’


‘No! I can do different settings! I can do Stranger Things. I can do Miami Vice. I can do Beverly Hills Cop. I can pull off a dozen expansions, and every single of them may be unique. Fans will love that!’

Marcin smiled. That’s the reaction of a good Director of Sales when his brain starts to work like crazy…

It was Alton in Hampshire where I understood that I designed a system, a portal to new worlds. As with Robinson Crusoe which is sophisticated machinery to tell different stories, from Swiss Family to King Kong, from Time Traveling to rescuing Colonel Fawcett, from escaping Volcano Island to fighting with Cannibals, here with Detective I managed to do it again. Detective was a well-designed system to tell great crime stories.

Since Alton, I changed the way I thought about the game. Since the ‘X-Files guy’ I looked at Detective from a different perspective and higher level.

A few months later when I met with Rob Daviou and talked about his Case for Detective, he told me he has this story that takes place on a space ship heading towards Mars, and there is a murder – one of the crew members is found dead. I knew that with Detective the possibilities are endless.

We made it official at Essen. I held the keynotes, and I precisely remember the faces of people in the audience when the teaser for L.A. Crimes dropped.

‘What? Beverly Hills Cop?!’
‘L.A.! That’s neat!’

We opened their eyes. They understood what I discovered in Alton. Detective is a system to tell stories. We all smiled.

Ignacy Trzewiczek

Did you see our vlog? Portal Games You Tube Tweet at us! @Trzewik Visit us on Facebook! Portal Publishing

Monolith Arena Strategy & Tactics: Harbingers of the Forest

Dark elves from the magical and mysterious forest accompanied by other creatures will swiftly cut their enemies and drive many arrows through them. My personal favorites, they are tricky, they can poke their enemies while keeping save positions, and they are good at keeping their distance. And that’s where they excel if you keep your distance.your enemies will curse the day those damn elves decided to leave the forest and appear at the arena.

Running in circles

Let’s start with Banner – you want to have it in the middle of the board, or at least in the central zone. So how come you aim for the center if you’re going to keep your distance? It’s pretty simple, you want to take advantage of its special Feature. Move your units around the Banner, shot with Sparks over your Banner and don’t let your opponent catch up to your Units. Run and shoot, run and shoot – it’s pretty simple.

Don’t let them see you

Assassins can strike any opponents on the board which makes them deadly and dangerous, and your opponent will hate that and will try to get rid of them as soon as possible. You want to hide them in corners, and cover them with other tiles, preferably with the runes of acceleration. This way, you’re covered from any attacks, and you strike your opponents even faster, getting rid of any dangers before they have a chance to attack you.

Exploding… morlocks?!

Morlocks can make a lot of mess by removing any connected tile along with the Morlock before the fight even begins. They are powerful because they can remove heavy-hitting units or the ones with lots of shields when they oppose any threat to us. Use them even more efficiently, keep Morlocks near your banner, this way, you can switch positions with its feature if an even greater threat appears on the board.

More mystical creatures!

Apart from elves and Morlocks, we have also Hernes and a Wyrm, two mobile units that can hit hard our opponents. It’s best to use them and get rid of any units that try to take out our distance attackers, especially those with additional shields on them, just make sure you’re not caught off guard, because you’re limited to your defenders with melee attacks.

With elves, it’s not a race, it’s a marathon. You want to dominate the arena with your units and keep your distance from any tricky attacks like charge or fire concoction. Remember, hit and run, hit and run. Wear off your enemy and don’t give them a chance to counter any attacks, make sure you stay in shadows as any self-respecting dark elf.

Let us know how you lead your elves, do you prefer this style of game or you try to take out your opponents as fast as possible.

Matt Dembek

Did you see our vlog? Portal Games You Tube Tweet at us! @Trzewik Visit us on Facebook! Portal Publishing

I hate board games!

I hate board games. I am serious. It’s a constant flow of disasters. I see new amazing cover art and I am immediately sold on the game. I know nothing about the gameplay, I did not read the rulebook, but man, I know it’s gonna be great.

Hey, don’t give me that look. Want to talk about your reaction after you saw Scythe cover?

The publisher hires an artist to paint the best art piece possible. It has one purpose – attract. This cover art has nothing to do with the game. This artist never played the game, read the rulebook, met designer. Most likely, he doesn’t even play board games. He is a hired gun. I know all of this. And yet, when I see a new box art immediately all these small meeples start to run all over the place – by the place I mean my head – screaming “OMG, this game is awesome, I want it!!!!”

Stop it, I yell at them. This cover art has no connection to the rules and gameplay. It’s an art piece. Stop it!

“But we want it!” they keep running and my head hurts. “It’s awesome. This game will be awesome. The box says it all!!!!”

So I buy the game.

Of course, I am the only person on Earth who misses the pre-order specials. My Instagram feed has it all. Every gamer on the planet shows all the bits my copy of the game misses. This cover is not that awesome after all, and my bits suck. I haven’t played the game yet, but I already know that without these additional seventy-two scenarios it’s useless. I hate this game. Why did I buy it?!

I delete my Instagram account to stop seeing all these awesome promos I missed. It doesn’t help. People post pics of metal coins on Facebook. I delete my Facebook account, but then I got an email from a friend of mine, he just got his copy signed by the designer. I turn off the Internet and sell my computer.

Brilliant. Now I cannot write articles anymore.

I buy a new computer.

I should buy a poster with the cover art. What I needed the whole game for? I hate it.


I put all components out of the box and try to figure out how the game works. There are spaces on the board that matches the shape of some tokens. I put them there. There are pieces in 4 distinct colors. I give set to each player. We sit and look at each other. I create the bank and put all coin tokens in a big pile.

I shuffle the cards. I separate all wooden pieces by shapes.

My wife starts to get impatient. I separate the square tokens by size. To be honest, I have no clue what I am doing.

Wife looks at me and I know this look. I quickly take one piece from each player and put it on space 0 on the track that hopefully is a victory point track. I wink to my wife and smile.

It’s a mistake. I shouldn’t wink at her.

“Did you read the rulebook?” she asks.


“You must be kidding me!” she yells at me and stands from the table. I can tell it – now she is really angry. Every husband knows when his wife is angry. We get this power along with the wedding ring.

“I will figure it out. This cannot be difficult. I played the other game from this designer a few years ago!” I say but she doesn’t listen. She just gives me another look. She has a whole wide arsenal of looks. We are in the ‘You are in trouble’ section.

So I am sitting now reading this damn rulebook. I feel like being at school again. My brain is defending. I want to go to bed. I want to eat. I want to stand. I want to do anything but the homework. I mean the rulebook. It goes slow, but I have some progress – I am 4 pages in. Only 32 to go. Smallest font possible. I can imagine how it was manufactured. Printing machines and the whole factory in the scale of bonsai trees…

I hate board games. I am serious.

(to be continued…? give me your ideas what’s next!)

Ignacy Trzewiczek

Did you see our vlog? http://bit.ly/PortalGamesYT
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Visit our website: https://portalgames.pl/en/