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Review: Sheriff of Nottingham:: Over-produced but fun filler

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 07:13:18 +0000

by Talisinbear

There are games that are, like Sheriff of Nottingham, just fun little diversions.

There is no depth to Sheriff, and not a lot of mind-twisting decisions, yet the overall game is fun enough.

You are a merchant, bring supplies to market; chickens, bread, cheese and apples, represented by cards.

From you hand you place goods into a provided velveteen bag.

Sounds simple, but merchants in medieval times occasionally dealt in illegal items, crossbows, potions and the like. A wily merchant might hide a potion among his apples to get past the sheriff.

And therein lays the heart of the game. Each turn one player is the sheriff. Other players prepared their bags of goods. They have to tell the number of cards in their pouch, but not the exact goods.

So a player might say three apples, knowing one card on the aforementioned potion.

The sheriff can then accept the merchant’s word, and the merchant gets the cards in the pouch and their game-end points. As you might expect contraband cards are worth more points.

If the sheriff searches the bag and finds the potion it is lost and the merchant pays a fine in gold.

If the sheriff searches a bag and finds the merchant was honest; it was indeed three apples as he stated, the sheriff must pay the merchant for his delaying of business.

It is a very simple bluffing game played over a few rounds, the shortness of the game keeping it fun.

As fun as Sheriff is, it is also a game suffering from major over production in terms of components. This should be a card game in a relatively small box for easy storage.

But it’s not. It comes in a box triple the size it really needs to be.

The game includes large player boards that do look nice, but are not required. They have player options, something a card could easily accomplish.

The boards also mark areas to lay off your scoring cards, apples, bread etc. Anyone playing a number of rummy-style games will know it’s just as simple to lay-off a meld to your play area, where often you may add extra cards later.

The velveteen bags are neat, but slipping cards in and out is such an unnecessary action. Lay the cards face down before the sheriff and get on with things, it’s not like you can bluff the number of cards anyway.

Speaking of the sheriff there is a large stand-up that moves around the table to signify who is in that role on a turn. It comes off the stand rather easily, and will more so with repeated use. Again here a card to pass around would work nice.

I’d even suggest forgoing the coins for cards that show the coinage value, leaving a completely card use game, fitting a much smaller box.

The over-production aside, Sheriff is a fun game taken in small, occasional play doses, although if it hit the table too often the charm could easily wear off.

The game was designed by Sérgio Halaban, and André Zatz, and released in 2014. It can be foSund at

 Previously published in Yorkton This Week (newspaper)

Review: Dominion:: Game launched deck-building popularity

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 07:13:14 +0000

by Talisinbear

There are times I feel as though I may have been gaming under a rock.

I say that in part because the city has not had a game shop until recently.

And my game tastes have always been pretty targeted; abstract strategy games, mini gaming and role playing being my gaming areas of focus.

But recently my long-time gaming group has decided to meet an additional evening most weeks with that night dedicated to more traditional board games. No folks, that does not mean you would find me playing Monopoly some Wednesday eve. I would rather shovel a winter driveway with a teaspoon. It would after all be more fun than Monopoly.

We are however acquiring some new games, new at least to us, and getting them to the table.

One of those games has been Dominion. This game was released back in 2008 from designer Donald X. Vaccarino from Rio Grande Games.

How we have arrived in 2017 and I, and my group had not played this game before, leaves me shaking my head. It was a decade of lost opportunity to play a game which grabbed me from its first play.

Now, to be honest I had an inkling it was a great game based on just shy of 77,000 owners recorded on where it is rated a 7.7/10.

Frankly the 7.7 shorts this game in my opinion. I would push it closer to an 8.5.

In Dominion, each player starts with an identical, very small deck of cards. In the center of the table is a selection of other cards the players can ‘buy’ as they can afford them through a game mechanic where many cards in your growing deck generate coins. Through their selection of cards to buy, and how they play their hands as they draw them, the players construct their deck as the game progresses, striving for the most efficient path to the precious victory points by game end.

The game comes with 500 cards. You select 10 of the 25 Kingdom card types to include in any given play—leading to immense variety. In our case we simply randomly determine the 10 cards sets to be used in a game, leaving players having to adapt strategies based on the cards available each game.

I have seen some reviews of Dominion where it was suggested there is a solitaire feel to the game, with each player building their deck individually. That is a fair assessment as few cards in this inaugural release of the game which allow player-to-player interaction.

But there are a raft load of expansions for Dominion adding hundreds of cards, and more interaction will be a result of a greater number of cards.

The core mechanic here is deck-building. It was not unique to Dominion when it was released in 2008, but this game clearly popularized the mechanic which has been utilized in a few dozen games since.

So Dominion is basically the father of a generation of deck-building and still stands among the extended family as a great game in its own right. A definite must-have game.

 Previously published in Yorkton This Week (newspaper)

Review: Pandemic:: A later comer to game falls in love

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 06:40:56 +0000

by Talisinbear

There are games out there that should be in every household where board games are ever played.

The list is not a massive one, but for me this includes games including chess, checkers, cribbage, crokinole and a more recent addition to the select list the 2008 release Pandemic.

While it is hoped readers will follow through this review, you are forgiven if you just get up from reading this and order this game for your collection right now.

Yes it has been out for nearly a decade now, which means I was a late comer to the joys of this now classic board game. It is a lost decade in a sense, but the joy of playing this one are just as sweet having found it more recently.

“From designer Matt Leacock, Pandemic is a cooperative game of teamwork for two to four players,” details the website of the game’s publisher. “As members of an elite disease control team, you must keep four deadly diseases at bay. Work together as you travel the globe to treat infections while collecting the cards you need to discover a cure for each disease. But the clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the spreading plagues. As a cooperative game, players win or lose together. Only by working together can you keep the outbreaks in check and find the cures in time.”

The game is excellent in the sense of being cooperative in nature. You need every player at the table working as well as a team to have a chance at winning over the in-game mechanics. That the game is so well designed that by its core mechanics the ‘game’ wins more often than not is what first gave me the ‘wow’ factor.

The game is beatable, but a win is not easy, and when you do win it’s usually by a little good luck.

The game is based on the idea of virulent diseases breaking around the world.

“With diseases cropping up all over the planet, Pandemic takes place on a global scale,” explains the website. “Over the course of the game, players use actions to move between hotspots while treating diseases and setting up a network of research stations that help them cure diseases and make movement more efficient. Each player manages a hand of cards matching the colors of the four diseases. These cards allow them to travel more quickly between cities or—if a single player can collect five cards of the same color—discover a cure for a disease. But plenty of challenges stand in their way. Outbreaks can spread diseases across the board and random epidemics can intensify a disease in a moment’s notice. It’ll take everything you’ve got to keep things under control.”

The game stays fresh with each player taking on one of several characters, each with unique in-game abilities. Not every character is exactly created equal, but that is the fun part. Our game group randomly selects the characters to play, and having to determine how best to mesh the ‘team’ into a unit capable of dealing with the outbreaks, while fashioning cures is a big part of re-playability.

Pandemic has a number of expansions, which will be reviewed in coming months, which tells you the game has been popular.

But, you don’t need those expansions to enjoy Pandemic. It is easily a top-10 contender for all-time favourite games. Yes, it is that good. It’s outstanding, so check it out.

 Previously published in Yorkton This Week (newspaper)

Review: Import / Export:: "Import / Export" - a conclusion (german)

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 06:25:59 +0000

by Brakus Review-Fazit zu „Import / Export“, einem tief-strategischem Handelsspiel.[Infos]für: 2-6 Spielerab: 8 Jahrenca.-Spielzeit: 45-60min.Autor: Jordan DraperIllustration: Jordan DraperVerlag: Dark Flight GamesAnleitung: englischMaterial: englisch[Download: Anleitung/Übersichten]engl.: (s. rechts unten, div. Links)engl.:[Fazit]Das Spiel kommt in einer sehr coolen Box daher, nämlich passend zum Spielthema in einem Schiffscontainer-nachahmenden Päckchen. Darin haben auch alle Mini-Erweiterungen (Promos, KS-Exclusives, etc.) Platz, wenn dann auch der Deckel leicht angehoben wird.Generell geht es im Spiel darum, Aufträge anzunehmen und die Fracht dazu entsprechend zu transportieren, doch das ist nicht immer so einfach, wie es zunächst klingt. Zum Beispiel geht es schon damit los, dass eines der zwei Schiffe, die jeder Spieler zu Beginn zur Verfügung hat, schon auf dem Transportwege ist (nur deswegen startet ein jeder auch mit 10 Credits, da hier schon automatisch ein Auftrag erfüllt wurde – das Spielziel ist 50 Credits zu verdienen) und somit sitzt man erstmal mit weniger Möglichkeiten vor seinem Spielbereich.Im Laufe des Spiels wird man dann auch immer wieder mal lieber mehr machen wollen, als möglich ist und obendrein sind die Transportaufträge jederzeit von allen beeinflussbar, denn wenn es um die Aktion „Import“ (eine von fünf möglichen Aktionen eines Spielerzuges) geht, werden Güter (Frachtcontainer) von Schiffen genommen, die gerade unterwegs sind und an die eigenen (Lager-)Docks gelegt – sollten mehrere Spieler gleichzeitig Interesse haben, folgt eine Auktion. Alternativ dazu gibt es die Aktion „Pirat“, bei der man sich gewünschte Güter „einfach“ von den Schiffen nimmt (aber auch von der Güter-Insel, die allen zur Verfügung steht). Es gilt also viel zu beachten und voraus zu schauen und sich laufend an die aktuelle Situation anzupassen. Nicht zuletzt auch deswegen, weil der aktive Spieler (Captain) eine gewählte Aktion vorgibt, die alle anderen Spieler in dieser Runde nachmachen (u.U. durch Abwerfen zwei gleichfarbiger Karten, als „Joker“, um die Aktion nutzen zu können, wenn keine passende Karte auf der Hand ist) müssen oder passen (dafür darf dann eine Karte nachgezogen werden).Etwas unübersichtlich ist es dabei gerade in den ersten Partien, denn je nach Aktion und Art der Güter“beschaffung“ werden die Container z.B. mal direkt im normalen Lager oder im Importlager untergebracht oder direkt auf einem im Hafen liegenden Schiff oder gar auf die Hand und die Güter-Insel nimmt auch Container auf (per 4 Credits). HIer ist die Anleitung auch nicht immer deutlich bzw. hilfreich und es bedarf gelegentlich mehrfachem Lesen mancher Abschnitte und Ausprobieren während des Spiels.Auch die Multifunktionalität der Karten kann am Anfang verwirren, da diese sowohl die Aktionsmöglichkeiten (auf der Hand) wiedergeben, wie auch die Art der Güter und/oder eines Auftrages und/oder natürlich als Containerkarte, die zum Erfüllen eines Auftrags benötigt wird.Nach einigen Runden kommt man aber schliesslich doch gut ins Spiel und fängt an die Feinheiten zu entdecken und so zum Beispiel auch die Sonderfunktionen erfüllter Aufträge geschickt einzusetzen (fast jeder Auftrag bringt irgendeinen Bonus für den späteren Spielverlauf, z.B. mehr Container importieren zu können). Richtig aufwendig, aber auch sehr spannend für erfahrene Spieler sind dann die Mini-Erweiterungen, die das Spielgeschehen teils gut „aufmischen“^^.Der permanenten Wettstreit und Wettlauf um Güter und Aufträge sowie die sich häufig ändernden Ausgangssituationen verlangen gutes bzw. ausdauerndes Aufmerksamkeitsvermögen, dafür belohnt das Spiel dann aber auch mit reichlich Tiefgang – der sich vllt. auch erst in späteren Partien wirklich vermittelt. Auch der ewige Zwist mit sich selbst, welche Aktion nun w[...]

Review: Time of Crisis:: [Roger's Reviews] The Great Pretenders

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 04:38:53 +0000

by leroy43 Time of CrisisA game for 2-4 players by Wray Ferrell and Brad Johnson"The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis (AD 235–284), was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression. The crisis began with the assassination of Emperor Severus Alexander by his own troops in 235, initiating a 50-year period in which there were at least 26 claimants to the title of Emperor, mostly prominent Roman army generals, who assumed imperial power over all or part of the Empire. The same number of men became accepted by the Roman Senate as emperor during this period and so became legitimate emperors."- so says the Wikipedia entryIntroductionTime of Crisis is a game for 2-4 players taking on the role of one of the Roman factions during the third century when, to say the least, times were interesting in the Roman empire.ComponentsThe game comes with a mounted map board, counters for the different factions including governors and generals, outside forces such as the Franks (among several others), and various legion counters. Photo by BGG user Michael Noakes (Weloi Avala)There are also cards in four sets of nine (three each blue, yellow, and red) plus cards players can purchase on their turn, and six dice, three of them black, and three of them white.Photo by BGG user Steve Boucher(stvboucher)The cards are of the usual thick and sturdy kind we've come to know and expect from GMT.Rules & Game PlayThe game is played in a series of turns with every player following the same sequence each turn. Every player will...- remove temporary markers in the upkeep phase- roll 2d6 on the events table to see whether an event happens (on a 7) or which set of barbarians cause potential trouble (anything else)- play their cards in hand to take actions (more on that below)- check support in their provinces- expand your empire (if your pretender merits it)- gain legacy (victory points!)- buy/trash cards- end of turn clean upThe event dice will either cause an event that can last multiple turns if nobody rolls a 7 for a while, or causes some barbarians to activate and start causing trouble at the fringes of the empire. They are, however, handy sources of legacy points as you can go into those lands and quell them at the source. The core of the game centres around your deck of available cards. You begin with nine cards, three each of the 1 value blue, red, and yellow cards. You select 5 of your available cards and perform actions with them. Red cards are useful for military actions, such as removing a mob, attacking barbarians, attacking another player, or recruiting a general. Blue cards are used for senate actions, hiring governors and placing them being the main two uses.Yellow cards give you populace actions, which is where you get to boost your support in regions you (temporarily) control, hold games to appease mobs, build improvements to the region (which grant legacy points), and place militia. Managing how you use these points is the key to success in the game. As you buy more and better cards, your deck with grow. Unlike most deck building games though, you always get to select your hand of five from the available deck rather than just drawing the top five. This is a good thing because it allows you to plan ahead for your next turn. Keep in mind that you're likely going to have turns where all you're left with is the dross you decided not to pick earlier in order to do something better, so there will be turns where you may not get to do much of use - a lull turn.Once you've taken your actions, you tot up your legacy points and add them to your total. You get points for the number of regions you control and also for any improvements in those areas. If you've managed to get a Pretender in play, you also get points for the provinces that believe in that one true Emperor. There are also points to be gaine[...]

Review: Daemon Trilogy: Subrosa:: SUMMARY - 4/5 - MUST TRY

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 02:58:42 +0000

by ironhawkx

A surprisingly well balanced and quick card game.

The game box and cards are printed on good quality cardboard, the gold and black background reinforces a dark theme. However the face pictures and colors are uninspiring and very sharp in contrast. If this is supposed to be a warped alternate universe, it looks more like a high school kid trying out a Photoshop project for the first time.

This is the Kickstarter/first print edition, so you'll notice some editing flaps. The game manual describes an interesting tale for contextual background, there is a lot of story in the manual, most players just wanted to get into how to play the game.

We tried this game with 2, 3 and 5 players at midnight (after a long drawn heavy game) and the gameplay was balanced everytime. The rules are simple and can be grasped within 2 rounds. Card effects are clear and concise, I appreciate the minimal text on the cards. You'll need to play this game a few times to fully comprehend the rules, especially around wounds and contracts.

It's important to follow the presets based on the number of players, especially when playing for the first time.

Some contracts allow the player to make a choice, for example protect or kill a certain character from the story. But why? What's the consequence for my actions? The manual and game is silent on this, perhaps future expansions will have an answer.

There is a complementary app, I tried it and it was junk. Doesnt work with tablets. Read my scathing review on Google Play.

The app has the same information as the manual, if you really need an app to explain the text on a card, then stop playing immediately and take English language lessons.

For the price point, Subrosa is surprinsingly fun and quick to play. Players appreciated the simplicity of this game which is one of its strongest suit. The game is friendly to first time players who may not be experienced in card games with text effects. The artwork is beautiful and you get an engaging story as a bonus. I definately recommend this game.

Review: Gunrunners:: The Purge: # 1540 Gunrunners: Time to spy out and dominate those packages

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 02:32:23 +0000

by william4192 Please check out my other reviews at: Gunrunners has the theme of being undercover agents looking for a big bad guy. For my taste, this is just pasted on and I don't get this feeling at all when I'm playing. It takes a tad away from the game, but not much. The components don't help bring you into the game either.Gunrunners is from the designer of Bilbos and I can see a little bit of his thought process in both games. In this one, you can't always put the card you want where you want. At times, you are playing cards of the opponents which is interesting. You do not always have full control over what you want to happen; instead, you have to influence things the best you can.Gunrunners is really a game about collecting crates and playing cards to get these crates. I found a few things difficult one of which is it hard to remember when to bust. I think a player aid may have helped with this. The theme is just pasted on and I don't really feel like international spies. The components are blah and it might pull you out of it. At 45 minutes, the game sticks around too long. If you can get it down to 30 minutes, the game is a lot better for it. Also, the game is really a 3-4 player game despite the box saying 2 players. I actually think the game plays best with 4 and the 2 player experience isn't very good. Overall, I think the game is fine. It isn't something you should run out and purchase unless this sort of card game appeals to you. It is something different; it isn't just a copy of another game. That is a plus for me. It is interesting that these decisions are happening around you and you just try to influence those decisions the best you can. Due to the fact so many cards are face down, it is hard to make an optimal decision, but you can do your best with what information you have. This will turn some gamers off, but I found it fun and refreshing. Keeper. Components: The components are good if not generic. The crates are brown cubes in two different sizes (meh). I feel in today's market we would see actual crates, but in this time period this was acceptable. The cards are fine quality and I do like the art work and style of the game. Not a lot to love, but not a lot to complain about either. Rule Book: The rule book is fantastic. This is one of those games you sort of want to see in motion, but the rules do a fantastic job of giving you examples and pictures. While the game isn't complicated, it does take a little bit to visualize it and the rule book does a great job. It tries really hard to stay on theme. Flow of the Game: The game ends after 7 bust. At this point, the player with the most crates is the winner.The main game is for 3-4 players, but there are additional rules for 2 players.Phase 1: Active player rolls a die. If it is equal to or less than number of locations, add a crate to the location. If it is more than the number of locations, add a crate to the warehouse. When a crate is delivered to a location, all crates from the warehouse go with it to the card. Phase 2: Active player takes 1 of 2 possible actions:A. Deploy Probationary Agent: You move a face down card of ANOTHER player to the right of a location. Then, the active player places a card from their hand to refill the missing position. B. Deploy Undercover Agent: Place a card from your hand facedown to the right of a location. This option can only be taken if the player has zero cards to the right of a location.* Then the active player draws a card. Phase 3: If a special operative was flipped, the player who owns that card may take the action on the card. Phase 4: If a location has 4 or more agents, then a bust occurs. Turn all undercover agents over and sum up the numbers. The player who has the highest amount takes half the crates, second place takes half of the remaining cubes[...]

Review: Dead Drop:: The Purge: # 1540 Dead Drop: A deduction game that may cause a Coup but you will Dead Drop for sure

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 02:32:18 +0000

by william4192 Please check out my other reviews at: Dead Drop is a card game not alike Coup with deduction. You get a small hand of cards, you can see some face up cards, and then you start finding out information about the cards. You are trying to guess a random card in the center of the table, but you also have to have cards that equal the number on that card (guessing it is not enough!). The game is like Coup that the components are sparse and the game is easy to play, but it exchanges the bluffing for deduction.The game plays really fast and an individual round is even faster. The game moves! There is a lot of tension as you figure out what you need, but you still have to go get what you need. The inclusion of three themes is a great plus and well above the requirement. Great job!This is just a small filler or a game for non-gamers who want something they can chat over while playing. The game is smooth. Smooth as silk. It works quickly and the player aids keep all your options in front of you. The options on a single turn are very simple, but the strategy comes from who, what and where you are trying to find the information from. When you show cards, you are giving information to another player. Information is the key to this game and it is the only currency. I have to admit I really like this game. It isn't something I would play as the Main Event of the night, but it is a fun game to start a night off with (or end with). It doesn't stick around too long, it has that fun deduction element and then you go for the strike and get the cards you need. And when you flip over the Drop card to see if you won is full of tension. Excellent!This is a game I feel has fallen under the radar but is a hidden gem. Dead Drop is a fantastic game that you should try out. I highly recommend this filler game. Keeper. Components: The components are just cards, but they gave you 3 sets of cards with different themes. You get monsters, spies, and kids. All three work exactly the same but it is a nice change of pace to have different art work. The scoring markers are hard wood and really nice tokens. You get a draw bag, but I'm not sure why as it has no effect during the game. The box is also a magnetic closing box which is a really cool and useful. Hard to complain about these components. Rule Book: The rules are small and very concise. The rule book is fantastic and when we played we didn't have any issues or questions. Fantastic rule book. Flow of the Game: The goal of the game is to score 3 times. You score by grabbing the Drop or being the only player not eliminated.Set up:One card is placed face down out of play and this is card people are trying to obtain (the Drop). Then a number of cards equal to the number of players is placed face up on the table. This is called the Stash. The remaining cards are dealt to the players.Players Turn:You perform one of the following actions:1. Share: Trade 1 card to another player. They must do the trade. This allows you and that player to see an additional card.2. Swap the Stash; Trade 1 card with the Stash (this gives everyone information).3. Sell Secrets: Reveal 2 cards to another player (only that person can see the cards) and they say yes or no stating whether they have a card equal to the cards. If they say yes, they must hand you a card of that value. End of Turn:1. Grab Drop: Play 2 cards next to Drop and look at the Drop. If it is equal to the Drop, you win. If not, you are out for the round. Should I buy this game?:I would recommend this game for gamers and non-gamers a like. Literally anyone could play this game. It is a really fun filler that always brings a laugh and a guess or two. I'm surprised this game isn't on more radars. Keeper. [...]

Review: Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe:: La Segunda Guerra Mundial a través de los ojos de Salvatore Vasta (Spanish review)

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 02:32:05 +0000

by zolle001 -Sal’s World War II Game: EuropeHay juegos que enamoran, que te atrapan y no puedes dejar de pensar en ellos. Aunque los recojas tras una partida, no enmudecen cuando cierras la tapa de su caja. Desde la balda de la estantería donde descansa Unconditional Surrender (USE) rodeado de muchos otros juegos puedo oír una queja en su silencio. Sí, sé que no he terminado lo que empecé, que mis soldados siguen allí, que Stalingrado cayó, pero no Moscú. Y yo quería, necesitaba Moscú.Miras melancólicamente la superficie desnuda de la mesa donde estaba desplegado el juego y se ve triste e incompleta, como si le faltase algo. A tus ojos el frente sigue allí su lucha. Quieres continuar, tienes que volver a intentarlo, tratar de cambiar la historia, de hacerlo mejor. Se lo debes a tus soldados, debe ser posible un último impulso para seguir extendiéndose por llanuras, luchando contra un frente de soldados, de cañones y rebasarlo definitivamente. Pero todo eso es sólo una pequeña parte fragmentada de la historia que ofrece USE. Mejor, empezar por el principio.He jugado a muchos juegos que me parecen estupendos, algunos fantásticos, y un buen número de ellos míticos. Aunque sean grandes juegos cada uno en su nicho no todos ellos han llegado a impactarme e incluso conmoverme como lo ha hecho USE. Supongo que cada cual tiene mayor o menor predisposición a sumergirse en el tema que presenta un juego. Pero cuando un juego te absorbe hasta el punto de hacerte querer conocer más sobre su tiempo, los personajes de su historia, su literatura, su música, su geografía, entonces podemos decir que ha superado los límites estrictamente lúdicos. Hace unos años me hice con Eastfront II de Craig Besinque y más tarde de No Retreat! The Russian Front de Carl Paradis. Ambos son juegos estupendos de grandes diseñadores. Sentía un gran interés por el frente ruso y tenía ganas de completar la experiencia con otros juegos que abordaran otros frentes en Europa sin lograr convencerme del todo por ninguno en particular.USE no ha sido mi primer juego sobre la Segunda Guerra Mundial en Europa. El primero fue un viejo Risk del que mi parte preferida era repartirse los países y colocar tus cubitos sobre ellos. Tras ello quedaba una configuración de fuerzas siempre interesante aunque luego el monótono rodar de los dados enfriara la emoción.Hasta que una mañana de este mismo año leí sobra la segunda edición de un juego que cubría todo el teatro europeo de la Segunda Guerra Mundial llamado USE. Entre sus muchas bondades estaban la de una densidad relativamente baja de fichas en juego, apilamientos muy reducidos y un mapa el doble de grande que el de Path of Glory. No pude resistirme ante tales características y decidí apostar ciegamente - muy típico en mí - por él. Hace poco que lo recibí y reconozco que durante este tiempo no he jugado a otra cosa, sencillamente no puedo quitármelo de la cabeza. La portada de la caja de USE creo que expresa perfectamente lo que el juego representa. El velo del humo que se desprende de las ruinas calcinadas, los edificios rotos por los bombardeos, el avance silencioso de las unidades por ciudades irreconocibles para dejarlas atrás y traer la misma destrucción a otras ciudades vecinas, y todo ello con el único motivo de agotar la voluntad de lucha de la potencia rival. La tragedia y el drama de su portada están bien presentes a lo largo de todo el juego.El reglamento de USE es uno de los más bien escritos que he tenido el placer de leer. Cuando tienes una duda siempre sabes donde buscar la respuesta y siempre la encuentras allí bien referida. Los ejemplos bien escogidos, escuetos o largos según la dureza de lo que se trate de explicar, son esenciales para que las reglas queden claras y ordenadas en tu cabeza. El uso de cursivas y recuadros de diferente[...]

Review: Welcome to the Dungeon:: Welcome to the Dungeon - A Review

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 02:31:28 +0000

by The Silver Surfer

This is a condensed version of a review written for Cardboard Koinonia. The full review, which includes a gameplay overview, can be found here:

Game Summary:
Welcome to the Dungeon is a 2-4 player push-your-luck and bluffing style game, with a play time of about 30 minutes (closer to 20 in my experience), recommended for ages 10 and up.

In Welcome the Dungeon, players are competing to see who among them is the bravest and willing to take the chosen hero into the depths of a dangerous dungeon with the fewest pieces of equipment. Players will face all manner of monsters inside the dungeon, but did they bring enough along with them to survive?


The components to this game are well-made and nice to look at and handle. The artwork is a very appealing, somewhat cartoony style. The cards, while not the highest possible quality, are good (and there’s so few that if you’re really worried about them, you could sleeve them in little time at all). The equipment tiles are nice and study, and have a cool spot-varnish that gives them a nice visual presence on the table. The rules are short and simple, and the game has good, clear, references on the monster cards and player references. The box itself is also a nice, small size, making it easy to transport.

This game packs a big punch for such a small box. There are few components, simple rules, and uncomplicated powers and abilities (on the equipment tiles). And yet there’s a surprising amount of depth to the strategy of what is essentially a game of chicken, where players are daring each other to face the unknown with as little as possible.

The choice you most frequently face in this game is, “Do I make the dungeon more difficult by adding this monster, or do I make the hero weaker by removing this helpful piece of equipment?” However, you also have to face questions like “How powerful was that monster he just put in the dungeon? Would he put in a monster he knows he can’t defeat?” Or, “Why did he remove the only weapon that kill the dragon? Does he think it’s not in the dungeon, or does he know it is and is trying to sabotage me?”

And while you can try to intentionally sabotage other players, if they bail out too early you may get stuck with a dungeon deck you know you can’t defeat. But other times, you may be forced to go into a dungeon you think there’s no way you can survive, and yet somehow you come out alive. That’s a truly great feeling!

One minor thing I have noticed with this game is that while the rules themselves are very simple, making it a great game to teach to new gamers, the nuances of this game are hard to explain, and most new players will need a round or two to really “get” the strategy and motivation behind certain choices. I recommend doing a practice round before beginning to actually keep score. After that, most players should be good to go, and all bets will be off.

Welcome to the Dungeon is full of simple yet significant choices, tension and excitement, fear of the unknown, the occasional thrill of defeating the impossible, and the joy of seeing your friends (or yourself!) face their doom. Plus, it all happens in 30 minutes or less. It’s a really neat, fast playing game, and I absolutely think you should check it out.

Review: Serpent Stones:: The Purge: # 1538 Serpent Stones: A two player ancient game where we wonder if it lives up to the history

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 02:31:20 +0000

by william4192 Please check out my other reviews at: Serpent Stones is a two player abstract game about collecting stones of your opponent. The game is a little bit of a mess in that it doesn't know what it wants to be. There are a lot of variants and different ways to play the game, which may be a plus to some people. The problem with this for me is that I have to go through a few games to figure out which one I like best. Just give me the game. Or at least tell me the preferred way to play.I am also not a huge fan of abstract games. The theme is pasted on with Kindergarten glue. I just didn't find the game very fun. We built these chains of warriors, then my opponent would destroy some. I felt winning and losing had a lot more to do with what cards we had when, rather than these great decisions I was making. I did not find a lot to like about this game. With a crowded board gaming industry games really need to stand out to be great. This game came out early in Kickstarter so it had some success, but this game isn't going to make it in the market (and this has been proven). I think there was a decent idea behind this game, but games have flown past this game before and since its release. If you are looking for a two player abstract check this one out. Otherwise, watch it pass us by. Purge. Components: The components are odd to say the least. The board is a cloth which wrinkles and can be easily shifted. The tokens are nice that you use, but abstract to the max. The cards are not the best quality. The components are below par at best. Rule Book: The rules are interesting, but easy to digest. I don't like games that give everything a cute name in the theme and this falls for that trap. There are a lot of different variants to change the game and I'm not a huge fan of that either but it does slowly add complexity to the game. Flow of the Game: I am not going to spend a lot of time explaining the entire game, but I want to give you an idea about the flow of the game. There are also a few variants in the back of the book to change the flow of the game.The goal of the game is to capture the 3 stones of your opponent. You will create a chain of "warriors" to accomplish this objective. Basic Game:Each player takes turns until someone gains a stone. The loser of that round is now the first player for the next round. A turn of the game:1. Draw a card2. Play a card (you can also discard a card)There are three types of cards:A. Warrior - These cards are used to build the chain to the stones you are attempting to collectB. Nahualli - These will attack your opponent's warrior cards. Each card has an animal on it that can attack a certain type of animal of your opponent. There are a few rules attached to this, but there is a shape on each card that shows the fighting pattern. C. Teotl - These cards will give the player an advantage: draw a card, force opponent to discard a card, perform a sacrifice.There are also some variants and an expansion included in the box. Should I buy this game?:I cannot recommend this game to very many people. If you are looking for a two player abstract game that has a bit of history, then this might be it. Otherwise, this is one you can forget and miss out on. Purge. [...]

Review: Letters from Whitechapel:: Grisly, gruesome, great - Letters From Whitechapel Review by meepleonboard

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 01:47:10 +0000

by nickster1970 Letters From Whitechapel is the gruesome forerunner to the recent Fantasy Flight release Whitehall Mystery. Both deal with the kind of subject matter probably best not talked about in front of the children, namely the grisly murders of women in late nineteenth century London. Whitechapel goes so far as to place one of its players in the role of Jack The Ripper him(presumably him)self, while on the other side of the table the gallant police force search desperately for clues in an attempt to stop the maniac in his tracks.Whitechapel has lain unplayed on my shelf longer than any other game, over three years, and yet there was something in those clean and clear rules that kept drawing me back to this box, tempting me to get it to the table. There were rumours that it could be too long for what it offered, that the tension was just a little too significant – my other half only rarely deals well with gaming tension – but the arrival of Whitehall Mystery in the house finally pushed me to blow away three layers of dust, skim the rules, and get it played. Oh, and it was Halloween as well.Whitechapel will accommodate up to six players, but given that its basic premise is one against everybody else it plays perfectly well and probably more quickly as a simple head to head game. The beautifully illustrated and atmospheric board shows part of 1880s London, numbered circles and unnumbered squares all linked to each other in a delicate spider's web of possibilities. At the beginning of each game “night” Jack will strike in one or two of those circles and then try to evade capture until he makes his way back to his lair. Meanwhile the police will move around hunting for clues and attempting to arrest Jack or to keep him from making it back to his hideout until dawn arrives.The component quality of Letters From Whitechapel, at least in the revised edition, is pleasingly high. The board is large, thick and heavy, while the tokens give the impression of being able to withstand repeated use without damage, an important quality in a game where many of them need to be indistinguishable from one another. The rule book, player aids and the board itself and all drenched in the theme of the time - a fact here, a splash of blood there, all enough information to lure the players into that accursed world.Letters From Whitechapel plays out its barbaric drama over four game “nights”, each of which is divided into two phases, appropriately named Hell and The Hunting. The first half of each of these nights sees Jack stalk his prey, seeking the ideal combination of circumstances to strike and make good his escape. The way that this is achieved is simple and clever, a wonderful illustration of clear and simple game design that opens up a realm of possibilities for the players. Jack and the police are provided with a set of markers each, and both sets contain some decoy tokens. Jack's tokens represent possible victims while the police markers represent the trusty old foot soldiers of the Met, but neither side can be entirely sure of what the other side is up to. Once the white markers are revealed Jack's possible murder locations become known, but it is only when he strikes that the locations of the policemen are revealed, and then the chase is on – the police know for sure where he has just been, but cannot tell where he is now.In the second part of each night Jack and the police take turns, Jack to move between adjacent numbered circles and the police to move between junctions and seek clues or attempt an arrest, but this is trickier than it sounds because there is no physical representation of Jack on the game board. Instead Jack keeps his location written down behind a screen as he ducks and dives and weaves his way around[...]

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Showdown:: The Purge: # 1538 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Showdown: Beebop and Rocksteady take center stage and Casey Jones is just sitting around

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 01:46:04 +0000

by william4192 Please check out my other reviews at: After the great success of TMNT Shadows of the Past, I was excited when I saw this game available. I thought at worst I would get a condensed version of that game and at best I would get something new. I got something much worse. Much, much worse.I admit I'm not a huge fan of skirmish games. Without a story, I lose interest fast in all the fighting (and the dice rolling that normally comes with them). I did not hold that against this game and was actually pumped about a small skirmish game. Then I opened the box. The components are so bad I thought it was a joke and actually started laughing out loud. This is mass market bad. No joke. If this game was sold at Target, I would understand this mess better. As for game play, it is super simple. You play a tile and move and if you fight you roll a single 6 sided die. Easy, easy. This is so boring for adults. Yes, there is a cat and mouse game going on, but don't let anyone tell you it is more than the most simple of cat and mouse games. The combat is so simple and the turtles better stick together or they will be losing this game fast. Your strategy better be attached to some luck or none of it will matter.For adults, the game is just boring and nothing we will want to play. On the other hand, if this is intended to be a kids game, then we might have a winner on our hands. AS a mass market kids game, this game is super fun. As a kid in the 80's, I would have loved this game (no mass market games for kids have not improved at all since then). Kids will really dig this game although most kids won't want to play as Rocksteady and Beebop but it might be a good chance for Dad to be the bad guys and let the little ones be the Turtles. The only problem with this is the components are so poor there isn't any way this game will last more than a couple of plays with the kids playing without parents. That's a shame really.Overall, you get a very simple skirmish game. I think the lack of reviews I see online is likely due to the fact they didn't think they had a good game on their hands. I wish I knew for sure if this is a kids game. If it is, then it is a darn good one that deserves better care. For adults, this is an automatic pause except for the biggest of turtle fans. Purge for adults. Keeper for kids. Components: The components are complete garbage. The tiles and tokens are paper thin. The cards are barely "business card" quality. The standees are clear with a printing on them. They are fine for standees, but admittedly low quality. Everything was done as cheap as possible and it shows. Which is super odd after the Shadows of the Past version of TMNT by the same company. For a kids game, the game won't last long due to the components. Rule Book: The rules are pretty darn good. Lots of white on the pages and plenty of wasted space, but if they wanted to print more pages it doesn't bother me. There are a lot of examples, pictures and a sample turn. Excellent job on the rules!Flow of the Game: The winner is the first one to score 10 Showdowns (win fights) or if the Turtles get 3 allies back to their home base. If all the tiles are added to the board, then whoever has the most Showdown points wins.Each character in the game has two cards (they have different powers). This is chosen at the start of the game. Each character has an attack, defense, tile laying, and movement score. On your turn, you must move at least one space (even if you return to your first space). If you can lay a tile, then you must and it is laid adjacent to your space. If you end up on a space with an enemy, you can fight them in a showdown. Both [...]

Review: Great Western Trail:: Game of the year 2016... at least for me

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 01:09:31 +0000

by cookiemonster83 Hi everyone,today I want to tell you about my favourite game of the year 2016... by far and why it is so so so great.Regarding game play, theme and whatsoever hard fact a lot of words have been written so I would just leave that out.I played GWT for the first time at Spiel 2016. I didn't even really intend to because until that point I heard nothing of that game except that it was from Alexander Pfister who also made the great but really dry Mombasa.So, just by accident, me and my 2 mates found an open table when we came to the booth and just gave it a shot. After we got to learn the rules I still wasn't sure whether this is a game I could like but man, I had a blast during that game, liked how the decisions felt and how every action had an impact on the following actions as well as on the whole strategy itself. Of course I bought that game.Since then I played it way too less for my personal taste and I am slowly convincing some people to try this more often. After the first game of some people they told me it felt too random to them regarding draw luck of cows etc. But after some more plays no one had that feeling any longer. It is a perfect example of mixing up tactical and strategical decisions, of how to create interaction by passively blocking people's ways, racing for certain cows, train stations, tiles, missions and so on. There is just a lot going on.If you set up the starting buildings randomly I can truely say that every single game feels different in a lot of ways from any game of GWT you played before. Combined with the random setup of cows and assistants even the start of the game offers different possibilites depending on your starting position, drawn cows and what you want to achieve. WOW!What seemed a little funny to me was that in the forums here every main strategy was at least once called overpowered, some of them very early on. But until now at least I cannot say that I found some kind of broken strategy and the winner in our rounds always took a different approach than the winner of the last round. Probably I have to play 50 more games to be really convinced but unlike for example Railroad Revolution where after very few games you could find the dominant strategy, I cannot see it here. More reasons why this is great? The turns are very quick. If you play this with experienced players you can finish a full round including setup in less than 2 hours (managed to play a round of 4 in 1h25min including setup). The players don't have too many choices during their turn but each feels very important as it directs your game AND the possible options you can take in the next turn and the turn after and so on. All randomization except the cows you draw is equal for all players. Of course some people always tend to blame bad luck for everything but in my opinion there is very little luck involved (as you have a lot of possibilities on your way to Kansas City to maximize your card hand).The iconography is absolutely brilliant. Yes I said it, brilliant! You have to get into it but if you got it once everything is supereasy to understand. And for the rare case you don't, be sure one of the other players can easily help you out or the well-written rulebook will clarify it for you.GWT is one of those games I want to play immediately again after just having finished a game to get into it deeper, try different roads, buildings, setups, strategies, speed of the game. Ah well, by the way speed of the game. Another great point of this game is that every player can play with his own speed of the game depending on what he/she tries to achieve each round. Of course you should be very aware of how fast the pace is overall but you can certainly manipulate it[...]

Review: Tides of Time:: AQUELE jogo de só 18 cartas (Tides of Time review Portuguese - BR)

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 00:28:20 +0000

by Sylvioze

Eu curto muito Tides of Time, e por várias razões.
É um jogo rápido, inteligente, compacto e por incrível que pareça (apesar de só contar com 18 cartas) tem uma boa rejogabilidade.
Pra mim é aquele jogo pra se jogar quando o tempo está curto, ou você não quer gastar aqueles 20 minutos só pra fazer o setup de um jogo maior, afinal, aquela caixinha está logo ali, e você só precisa tirar as cartas, embaralhá-las e pronto, prepare-se para ter um grande reino, ou ruínas.
E além de todas essas características que fazem de Tides of Time (apesar de seu tamanho) um GRANDE jogo, ainda tenho que falar da arte, e QUE ARTE!
Esse jogo é ótimo para quem está começando, para quem já é veterano, para quem quer uma coisa rápida, e até para aqueles que desejam introduzir alguém aos board e card games modernos.
Ah, e sim, em algum momento o jogo começará a ficar repetitivo, pois afinal, ELE SÓ TEM 18 CARTAS!. Mas ele é tão rápido e atrativo que isso não o fará NUNCA mais jogar o jogo, talvez se jogue com menos frequência, claro, mas com certeza eu posso dizer que ele ainda verá mesa.

OBS: E um fator de sorte minúsculo, o que me agrada muito ( e creio que a muitos outros também).

Review: Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis: Animation Annihilation Deck-Building Game:: Gaming Bits: Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis: Animation Annihilation Review

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 00:01:45 +0000

by MillicanDarque Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis: Animation Annihilation is a standalone game as well as an expansion for Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis by Matt Dunn, published by Crytozoic Entertainment. It is for 2-4 players. This expansion adds new Nemesis, Event and Main Deck cards, as well as all new Oversized Character cards to play as. For more information on the original Cartoon Network Crossover Crisis game, please check out the link at the bottom of the review.Before I get into all of the new cards that this expansion adds to the game, I'd like to take a few moments to go over how to set up and play the game. As I said, this expansion can be played both with the original game and by itself. I will discuss adding both this expansion and the main game in the gameplay section below. For now, I'll simply cover setting up and playing this expansion by itself. To begin, each player may be dealt a random Oversized Character card, dealt two random cards or they may simply choose their favorite character to play. As long as each player has a single Oversized Character card, it's fine. The card is placed face up in front of the player. Each player is then given 7 Punchies and 3 Pratfall cards. These cards are shuffled together and make up each player's starting deck. The Event cards are added to the Main Deck which is then shuffled together. The Main Deck is then placed face down in the middle of the play area. The Kanker Sisters Nemesis card is set aside for the moment. The remaining Nemesis cards are then shuffled together before being placed face down across from the Main Deck in the middle of the play area. The Kanker Sisters card is then placed on top of the face down stack. The top 5 cards from the Main Deck are placed side by side beside the deck in a row called the Line Up. The Inside Joke and Weakness cards are placed in separate stacks above and below the Nemesis cards stack. It should be noted that if there is more than 1 Event card face up in the Line Up, the additional Event cards should be removed from the game and replaced with cards from the Main Deck until there's only 1 Event card face up. Each player will now draw 5 cards from their deck. The first player is chosen and play now begins. On a player's turn, they will be able to play as many cards from their hand as they would like. It should be noted that Weakness cards must be played first before any other cards. Each time a card is played, it's text is resolved immediately. Many times the player will gain Power which is then used to purchase cards from the Line Up, Nemesis stack or Inside Joke stack. Any bought or gained cards are placed face up in the player's discard pile. Once a player has finished playing cards and making purchases, they will announce the end of their turn. Any remaining cards in the player's hand are placed into their discard pile. Any end of turn effects are resolved at this time. Any cards that were played are now placed into the player's discard pile. Any unspent Power is lost at this time. Five cards are then drawn from the player's deck. If there aren't enough cards to draw five, the player's discard pile is shuffled to create a new face down deck. The remaining cards are then drawn. If the top card of the Nemesis stack is face down, it is now flipped face up. The card's Group Attack is read aloud and resolved. Play then passes to the next player in turn order. The game continues until one of two conditions is met. If there are no more Nemesis cards left to flip up new card, then the game ends. If there aren't enough cards to refill the Line Up back to 5 cards, then the ga[...]

Review: One Night Ultimate Werewolf:: Once Really Isn't Enough: A ‘One Night Ultimate Werewolf’ Review

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 08:06:51 +0000

by OMD56 Link to original review: deduction is a hit genre amongst many board game groups. The Resistance and The Resistance: Avalon both sit in the BoardGameGeek Top 200. Werewolf remains popular in both gamer and non-gamer circles. Secret Hitler has been one of the newer additions that’s hit the hands of many. But all have a play time of about an hour. What about a solid social deduction game that lasts, I don’t know, ten minutes?To describe my feelings toward One Night Ultimate Werewolf (ONUW), I feel the need to define the word “meta” and provide some context toward it in my life.“Metagame,” shorted to “meta” or “the meta” by many circles or communities, is defined in the opening paragraph of Wikipedia as “any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game." (I know, great source. But for a word without a Webster’s entry, we’ll take what we can get.)The term “meta” has been a word that has floated atop my vocabulary for many years. It began making sense to me as early as 2012 when my roommates and I dove headfirst into the competitive scene of Yu-Gi-Oh. We watched decks like Mermails, Spellbooks, and Evilswarms win tournament after tournament, only to be sifted out of the competitive forefront for every other player that ran a variation of Dragon Rulers.As I turned my back on Yu-Gi-Oh and found the Super Smash Brothers community, I saw the long-term meta shift on almost microscopic levels. Matchups that were seen highly unfavorable were tossed in the opposite direction, whether by a player dominating that matchup (PPMD’s Marth vs Sheik for example) or discoveries being found that helped a character compete against another they struggled against.And even now, with years of study on traditional sports, I use the idea of “the meta” to look at each sport in a different light. Basketball relies on the use of speed instead of the big man that dominated basketball throughout all of the 1900s. From the 80s and 90s to today, the shift in tendencies of American Football offense is primarily passing the ball as opposed to running the ball.So how does all of that relate to a social-deduction game in a box the size of a large sandwich?If a group of individuals sat down to play a single game of ONUW, those people would think of the game as awkward, confusing and, honestly, unsatisfying. Those were my feelings after my first game. The app (which I will discuss later in depth) counted down for the vote, the seven of us pointed at who we wanted to die, a team won (I couldn’t tell you if it was the village or the werewolves) and we all let out a collective “Alright.”I was puzzled. “Is that it?” I asked myself. “I’m really confused what just happened." We sat around in silence, someone would say something funny, it would get awkward again before the app would tell us the time is up. There has to be more to this. There’s no way this is the game that people rave so much about.“Let’s play again,” I said after exiting my thoughts.I awoke from the night of the second game and was hit with why this game can and does succeed.This is a game built upon establishing information and developing a meta. The information comes through characters like the seer, (who look at person’s role), the masons, (who look at each other), and even the robber who can reveal whose card he stole.But alongside that information a meta develops. The werewolves and the tan[...]

Review: Nuns on the Run:: UMCR Nuns on the Run Review: Not a Convent-ional Game

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 07:08:04 +0000

by toothpickman

I saw this game on craigslist in a nearby area, and remembering some positive comments about it from the people at the Dice Tower I picked it up.

The game is a good quality Mayfair game with good components.
The board looks really nice in how it depicts the abbey, the art on the cards and box is fun. The Cards are of good quality, and the player movers are either standees or cardboard disks. They are of good thickness.

Game Play
This is a one against all game. One player is playing the "guards", the prioress and the mother superior. The job of these two is to make sure the novice nuns adhere to the curfew. The novice nuns are attempting to find their secret wish and make it back to their bed chambers without being caught.

The novice nuns use hidden movement, indicating their movement by the use of cards. They first head to get their key, then to their secret wish. As they move they have to roll for noise, to show how many spaces they can be heard from. Noise markers are used to indicate this. If a novice ever comes into view of the guards then their disk is placed on the board. If the two ever occupy the same space the novice is caught and must begin moving toward her room.

The guards draw cards that show the path they are to take, they can only deviate from it when they hear a noise or see a novice. If a novice makes it back to her room with her secret wish, then she wins.
If the guards catch novice nuns equal to the amount of novice nuns playing or they keep the novices from getting their secret wishes at the end of all the rounds then they win.

Our Experience
This game was tricky to learn, it is a little fiddly with the noise rules and the line of sight. The guard player doesn't have too many meaningful choices so that can be a bit scripted and bland. For the novices, once understood, the game can be quite fun and exciting.

- Interesting theme
- Multiple people get to be the hidden mover
- Plays up to 8 people


- hard to explain
- scripted guard movement
- line of sight fiddlyness

Responses to the Cons
- A video tutorial almost seems necessary
- scripted guard movement means the most experienced player should play the guards
- there are some charts that can be downloaded and given to each player to help with line of sight issues.

Final Thoughts
Nuns on the Run is a unique and fun game. It is not what I would call a must have. If you have a large group wanting to play a board game, you might consider this one. If you love hidden movement games, it also may be worth checking out. I think it will get some play with us, but Scotland Yard will likely be our gateway hidden movement game of choice.

I rate this game a 6.5/10
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Review: Kingdomino:: Everything Board Games Kingdomino Review

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 05:11:11 +0000

by Dt92stang Quick Look: Designer: Bruno CathalaArtist: Cyril BouquetPublisher: Blue Orange GamesYear Published: 2016No. of Players: 2-4Ages: 8+Playing Time: 15-20 MinutesFind more info on BoardGameGeek.comYour kingdom is grand but not grand enough, you are now seeking new lands to increase your wealth and stature but so are the rival kingdoms. Can you out maneuver your opponents claim the the best parcels of land and make your subjects happy? If so you will become Kingdomino!Overview:To setup Kingdomino each player will take a castle, matching start tile and matching king tokens placing them in front of them—castle on top of the starting tile with space around it. Players will then shuffle the land tiles and place them back in the box so the number side is facing out towards the players. Four tiles are drawn from the front of the row of shuffled tiles and placed in numeric order starting at the box and working outward. Once the tiles are laid out they are flipped over revealing what they are. Then the player's king tokens are collected and held in a player's hand who mixes them up and drops one out randomly. The player who's token it is then places it on a tile of their choice. This continues until each player has placed their king token. Four new tiles are now drawn and placed in numeric order (like previously) to the side of the first set tiles and flipped over. Players are now ready to begin play. Note: there are some variations on the number of king tokens used and tiles drawn based on the number of players.Four player set up. Sorry for the overexposure. Also it is easier to use the box to hold the tiles and I should have laid out the next set of four tiles.The order of play is determined by which player's king token is closest to the box. That player then takes the tile her king token is on and places it into her kingdom. She then takes her king token and places it on the land tile of her choice in the new line of tiles. This will determine the next tile she will claim to add to her kingdom.When placing a new tile into her kingdom she must follow a couple of connection rules:1) Either connect to the starting tile, which is considered a wild landscape type, or to at least one matching landscape type of a tile already in play. For example forest to forest or water to water.2) Each kingdom is limited to five squares by five squares so the tiles played must fit within that constraint.If a player is unable to place a tile according to the above rules that tile is discarded.Once a player is done choosing her new tile play moves to the next player who is closest to the box, who takes the same actions as the first player. This repeats until each player has had a turn. Four new tiles are then drawn and placed per the rules above and the next round begins. Play continues like this until all the tiles have been placed or discarded.Players will now score their kingdoms. Points are scored by taking the number of like landscape types that are continuously connected and multiplying that times the number of crowns in that area. For example in the image below the player will score the following: 0 points for the lone water tile in the upper left corner, 36 points (9 tiles X 4 crowns) for the field tiles on the left hand side, 3 points for the single mine area, 0 for the lone march area, 0 for the forest area in the lower right, 4 points for the water area in the upper right (4 tiles X 1 crown), and lastly 0 for the lone field tile in the upper right. For a grand total of 43 points.The player who has the highest score wins!There are a few addit[...]

Review: Photosynthesis:: More than just pretty trees - The Board Game Family review

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:09:53 +0000

by TheBoardGameFamily If you know someone who thinks board games are as fun as watching trees grow, how about challenging them to a new board game where you watch trees grow!Ha – wouldn’t that be fun!Board games come in all shapes and sizes and cover an unending array of themes. So having a game about growing trees isn’t really too surprising. But making such a game good is another matter.We’re happy to report that Photosynthesis is a fantastic board game!And it’s not just due to how wonderful Photosynthesis looks. The game play itself is easy to learn and engaging while also requiring a fair amount of strategy and planning ahead.Blue Orange Games has published another family board game hit!How to play PhotosynthesisJust like ideas the name may conjure up, Photosynthesis is all about harnessing energy from the sun. During the game players will plant seeds, grow them into trees so they can capture the most sunlight, and then harvest them for victory points.Photosynthesis is really easy to learn.The game is played over a series of rounds with 2 Phases in each round. At the end of each round, the Sun rotates one spot on the border of the board. The another round occurs. Once the Sun has circled the board three complete times, the game ends.To begin, each player takes a player board and their corresponding set of colored trees. On each player board, players place 4 Seeds, 4 small trees, 3 medium trees, and 2 large trees. They also set their Light Point tracker on the “0” space of their board. The rest of their Seeds and Trees are placed next to their board in their “Available” area.Then in turn order, players place one of their Available small trees on an edge space of the main board. They then each place a second available small tree on another edge space. The Sun is placed on the Sun symbol on the board and the game can begin.Phase I: The Photosynthesis PhaseAt the start of the Photosynthesis Phase, the player with the First Player Token moves the Sun one segment clockwise around the board (except for on the first turn of the game).Players get Light Points based on the new position of the Sun and their trees. For each tree that’s not in a shadow of another tree, players receive 1 light point for a small tree, 2 points for a medium tree, and 3 points for a large tree.If a player’s tree is covered in shadow, they don’t get any points for that tree. A small tree casts a shadow 1 space away from the Sun. A medium tree casts a shadow 2 spaces behind it. And a large tree casts a shadow for 3 spaces.However, a tree standing in a shadow area of another tree will earn light points if it’s taller than the tree casting the shadow.Players mark their gained light points by moving the Light Point Tracker on their player board that number of spaces forward.Phase II: The Life Cycle PhaseOnce all light points have been gained, players take turns (beginning with whoever has the First Player token) spending their light points for actions.BuyingBefore seeds can be planted and trees grown, they must be in a player’s “Available” area next to their player board. To place the items there, a player must first Buy those items from their player board.The numbers listed on the player board indicate how much each item costs. Players also much purchase items on their board from bottom to top. For example, the first seed purchased costs 1 light point whereas the first large tree purchased costs 4 light points.The player places the purchased items in their available area and decreases their Light Point Tracker [...]

Review: Shark Island:: When is Blackjack Not Blackjack? When it's 23 of course ! Not All the Sharks are in Vegas

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:09:11 +0000

by Chris Baylis Designers: Richard Launius, Pete Shirey Published by UPPER DECK. Available in your local games store costing around £35.00 - £45.00.SHARK ISLAND is a game for 2-5 players (aged 14+ ) where one of them takes control of the Shark and the others play the Shark Hunters, as such it is marked under the semi-cooperative game genre.The Shark theme has always been a good one and here it has been very well utilised to bring this game to the table and ensure it is enjoyable for all.When you see the homage to JAWS on the front cover of the box for the first time it really pulls you towards this game whether you see the box on a shelf or in a magazine or online. Let's face it, who can resist the lure of a Great White Shark, mouth wide open baring its rows of very sharp teeth?The players take on the roles of mighty Shark Hunters searching the waters around the small but pleasant islands in the calm, warm ocean. These islands have soft white sandy beaches, luxury Hotels and tall, beautiful Palm Trees. Dolphins and Seals frolic in the warm waters while swimmers, sail-boarders, wind-surfers and party-goers on yachts and speed-boats enjoy and soak up the magnificent sunshine and the holiday atmosphere. Unfortunately for these vacationers the waters are also the home to at least one Great White Shark (possibly two if they are really unlucky) but then luckily there are armed Hunters waiting to get the Great White in their sights, tranquilise it and send it on its way back into the ocean far away from the populated sun kissed beaches.One player has a small shield behind which they arrange the Shark tokens and the Fin tokens prior to placing them face down on the current crop of islands - only the Shark player knows where the real Shark can be found, or you can play it randomly so that even the Shark player doesn't know where the Shark is.I tried this the last time I played and Fran managed to find it first time three out of four times despite it being on the island with at least 3 or 4 Fin tokens. Note: If you as the Shark player does randomly place the Shark token then they cannot give its position away with facial "tells", plus it's as much a surprise to them when it is or isn't found.The Shark player has a Mission they must complete to succeed. These are on Strategy cards of which one can either be chosen or randomly dealt (only the Shark player knows the task ahead of them) during the game setup. The four Strategy cards have the same back "Welcome to Paradise!" but different winning Missions; RESORTS CLOSE: you have succeeded in collecting 5 Resorts Close Tokens. NATIONAL PRESS: 5 National Press Tokens. MAYOR FIRED!: 5 Mayor Fired Tokens and GHOST TOWN: 12 Tokens in total. Tokens (aka Terror Tokens) are randomly collected after the Shark has terrorised an island successfully - the flip side of the Island board determines the number of Terror Tokens won. Tokens collected are placed face up on the table in view of all players so they can see their defeat slowly approaching.Each Hunter has a character card that gives them a name, an occupation/profession, a sailing craft, a number of dice for searching, a fight skill a damage track and a specific skill; these ships are represented by card tokens in plastic stands. There is one exception and that is Willy the Pilot who has a Helicopter and an intense Search ability. There are six characters for the players to select from but only four Hunters maximum can be involved in the game at any time.The Rules took a while to sink in as they we[...]

Review: Aeon's End: The Void:: Aeon’s End: The Void Content Breakdown and Review

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:08:52 +0000

by mynameisthis Aeon’s End: The Void Content Breakdown and ReviewWith Aeon’s End: War Eternal’s kickstarter being packaged with The Void and Outer Dark, I figured there’s not much good resources for people trying to decide whether or not to buy them. I’d like to rectify that a bit. If you are a veteran player of one of the base sets, I’ve included details on everything except spoiler cards in my review so you can make some of your own assessments. People trying to figure out if they should buy this expansion before even playing the game can skim over those details. I will mainly focus on where this expansion fits in with a base set of Aeon’s End.A couple notes:The difficulty ratings are as printed in the game. I’ve included my personal difficulty ratings in parenthesis: (#/10).For my own convenience, I’ve replaced the Aether symbol with "$", because of the similar shape and function. Putting it on the right side of numbers drives me insane though.I don’t have a good camera, so no pictures. PM up if you’d like to collaborate to make this review a bit prettier.NemesisKnight of ShacklesHealth: 40Difficulty: 4/10 - (4/10)Unleash: Knight of Shackles focuses its closed breach with the lowest focus cost.Additional Rules:During any player’s main phase, that player may spend $ equal to the focus cost of one of Knight of Shackle’s closed breaches to turn that breach 90゜ counterclockwise. Once one of Knight of Shackle’s breaches are opened, it will remain open for the rest of the game.When Knight of Shackles opens a breach, resolve the effect listed on that breach.- Breach I: Two different players each suffer 2 damage.- Breach II: Place the most recently discarded minion in the nemesis discard pile back into play. (Ignore it’s PERSISTANT: effect this turn.)- Breach III: Gravehold suffers 7 damage.- Breach IV: Knight of Shackles succeds in summoning its full skeletal legion. Gravehold is overrun and the players lose the game.Increased Difficulty - (4/10): Knight of Shackle’s breaches’ focus cost is increased by 1$.Knight of Shackles adds a third way for player to lose tied directly to Unleashing. Each of his breaches opens after focusing 4 times and players lose when they all open. Some of his personal cards are especially painful if you fail to revert some of the focused breaches by spending the appropriate amount of $. This means that more so than other nemesis, Knight of Shackles will slow down the development of your engine. It tends to be more difficult to put together the usual overpowered endgame deck against Knight of Shackles. This additional tug on your $ adds depth to the purchases which can be satisfying for solo or 2 player games, but may possibly feel slow for 3-4 players.Maiden of ThornsHealth: 80Difficulty: 4/10 - (7/10)Unleash: Maiden of Thorns gains one nemesis token.Additional Rules:At the end of the nemesis turn, if Maiden of Thorns has two or more nemesis tokens, it Impales. Any player or Gravehold (based on the Thorn marker) suffers damage equal to the number of cards in the Thorn supply pile. That player or Gravehold suffers additional damage equal to the nemesis tier minus one. Maiden of Thorns loses two nemesis tokens, and Advance. Repeat this until Maiden of Thorns has 0 or 1 nemesis tokens.Advance means to flip the Thorn marker over and place it on the next most expensive supply pile. If there are no supply piles more expensive than the Thorn supply pile, move the Thorn marker to the least expensive suppl[...]

Review: Lignum (second edition):: Cardboard Clash Review for Two - Lignum (Second Edition)

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:15:46 +0000

by dtwiley Thank you for checking review #36 by Cardboard Clash. My aim is to focus on reviewing board games and how they play for two people and, on occasion, how they play for one person. Because my wife is my primary gaming partner, a lot of consideration goes into finding those games that play well with 2 players, and we typically prefer to find those games that do not require a variant (official or otherwise) in order to play it with just the two of us.**Note: A review copy of this game was provided in exchange for an honest review. The below opinions remain our own based upon our impressions and reactions to the game.An Overview of Lignum (Second Edition)Lignum is a game designed by Alexander Huemer and is published by Capstone Games. The box states that it can play 2-4 players and has a 90-120 minute play time.Starting with a limited amount of resources and workers, you set out to run your lumber mill as efficiently as possible. Savvy investments and proper planning will ensure that your mill will be the most profitable. Be cautious, however, for competition is fierce! You will need to secure the best cutting areas, make use of limited contract workers, and continually update and replace your equipment. Your competitors are not the only thing to worry about as you will also need to store enough firewood and food to survive the harsh winters.Lignum is a strategic optimization game that portrays the logging industry in the 19th century. Each round, players travel to the nearby forest, picking up tools and hiring workers along the way. After felling timber, players must decide how to transport their wood to their sawmills and if the wood should be processed or sold immediately, all the while optimizing their entire processing chain.The second edition of Lignum also includes the "Joinery & Buildings" expansion. In this expansion, players can visit two additional locations along the supply path. Players may now acquire special buildings that give them unique, special abilities for the remainder of the game. Additionally, players can acquire joiners to help generate more income each round; if those joiners are supplied with the appropriate wood, players can earn extra money at the end of the game!Setup and gameplay for 2 PlayersThere are only a few changes in setup for this player count. The starting wood supply in the center will have (2) firewood placed on four of the spaces and (3) firewood placed on the other two spaces, along with a player's token going onto these two spaces so that each player will cut in a (3) wood area for the first round. The tokens placed along the track each round will consist of (2) X tokens, (2) rafts, (1) cart, (1) sled, (2) food, (1) money, (1) saw, and (3) random orange "building" tokens. These are randomly distributed throughout the empty spaces around the board track each round, and the big inclusion would be those X tokens which essentially shrink the board by two spaces.Six bearers, eight cutters, and three sawyers are placed on their respective places on the board. Two task cards are placed face-up, and four planned work cards are used. If using the Joiners expansion, six random building tiles are also placed face-up along the board.The game is played over the course of two years, with each year being broken into the four seasons. Spring, Summer, and Fall are all played in an identical manner. Players start by secretly selecting one of six areas where they will cut wood that season, reveali[...]

Review: Cthulhu Wars:: Cthulhu War - 邪神大戰 (Traditional Chinese review)

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:15:13 +0000

by behappy

人數:2 - 4 (8 expansion)
上手難度: ★★☆☆☆
文字量: ★★★★☆
性價比: ★☆☆☆☆
口味: ★★★★☆
遊戲時間: 60-120min
遊戲性: ★★★☆☆
背景主題: 克蘇魯
價錢: 主遊戲 $199 + 種族擴 $50 + N x $XX
遊戲年份: 2015年
賣點: 跟邪神玩遊戲,大型模型。
第3次KS Late Pledge

作為一個克蘇魯愛好者,終於有機會試玩傳說的Cthulhu War ,這究竟是一款邪教信徒的遊戲?還是大少通吃的遊戲呢?

遊戲是一款非對稱版圖控制遊戲,要勝出遊戲,首先要完成邪神各自的六個目標 。完成目標後,邪神要在世界崩塌前獲得最高分,就可以勝出遊戲。

玩家利用的信徒及傳送門去拿取”邪神能量”,然後使用能量去召喚魔物為你戰鬥,爭奪更多的傳送門,完成你的目標。遊戲的系統有點像Bloodrange 及 Chaos inthe old world ,每個玩家輪流使用能量去召喚,去移動,去攻擊。直到所有玩家都用光能量,就進入填補能量程序及得分流程。

每個邪神有其特殊行動,功能,怪獸以及獨特的邪神降世方法,從而伸延不同的6個目標。每當你完成其中一個目標,邪神就可以學習技能,強化能力。選擇目標的次序可以說是遊戲勝利的關鍵。 邪神的目標包羅萬有,配合邪神背景,可以是佔用地方,擲很多顆骰子,殺敵,獻祭信徒,召喚邪神等等,千變萬化。

邪神不一定要互相擊殺,大家可以選擇和諧地共同存在一個地方上,直到一方支付1點能量去引發戰爭。遊戲的戰鬥系統只攻不守,不同的怪獸有不同數量的攻擊骰子,但邪神跟信徒都是同等血量。 每1點攻擊力擲一顆骰子,骰子6 為之擊殺,對方需要把一個部隊移離遊戲。骰子5及4 是擊退,對方需要把一個部隊移離戰區。3,2,1則是沒有效果,所以遊戲的死傷情況並不多。

1. 學習容易,遊戲系統很容易明白,不到15分鐘就可以解釋清楚。
2. 遊戲時間短 ,四人遊戲大約一個多小時,十分理想。
3. 重玩性高 , 種族數量多,不同的種族有不同的目標,重玩都不會公式化及重覆煩悶。
4. 目標不複雜,簡單而做,邪神容易召喚,玩家容易建立自己的部隊,會有很好的成功感。
5. 戰爭系統死傷不多,不會一下子滅國,而且有補助機制,不會崩盤。
6. 控制克蘇魯的邪神去攻擊絕對是一個賣點吧。

1.運氣 , 遊戲的戰鬥要倚賴骰子,絕對有機會小卒跟邪神同歸於盡,運氣有一定的影響。
2. 大量文字 , 不同邪神的技能,目標,學習能力的進階資料有大量文字,需要花額外的時間去理解。如果要精通遊戲,要記著的東西倒不少。
3. 戰爭相關,移動消耗太大,減低攻擊意欲。 除了要完成邪神目標外,驅使玩家戰鬥的回報不高,而玩家可以自行花費能量去建立傳送門得分,使遊戲可以作防守型玩法。
4. 戰爭或擊殺邪神都不會增加分數,遊戲沒必要引發大型戰爭,遊戲未段雖然大家有龐大的軍隊,拍起照上來是很有型的,但遊戲上卻沒有戰鬥的理由。
5. 貴。

綜合而言,遊戲是一款跑任務的Bloodrage又加上了Eclipse 的不對稱種族味道。遊戲雖大,實則只是初中階遊戲。小編的初嚐覺得好壞參半,不知是否大家都是新手上路,以一款版圖對戰遊戲預期會有激烈的戰爭,事實上大家卻自給自足,沒有半點討戰的味道。遊戲最嚮往是召喚邪神及操控邪神的快感,而最不惑是沒有戰鬥的原因。雖然某些邪神的目標是需要戰鬥才可以達成,而為了目標往往都是實力懸殊的極端戰事,打一場完成目標就無戲了。除此之外,如其付出大量能量移動強大兵力去打一場不知勝負的仗,為何不自給自足建立自己的傳送門跑分呢?

由於小編只是玩了Core Game,擴展只是額外種族選擇,單是Core Game 系統小編覺得目標及跑分是不錯的,但有不少改進空間,如提高大規模的戰爭的誘因。舉例遊戲未段大顆兒閒著一堆怪獸,如果改進殺邪神會加分,相信大家都不會只作Sim City 般去玩一個邪神版圖遊戲。 (希望沒有玩錯)

信徒 - 8/10
非信徒 - 6/10 (邪神很醜,去玩Bloodrage更好)


#bgkshk #boardgame #cthulhuwar #cthulhu #kickstarter

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Review: Eldritch Horror:: 掉棄你的魔鎮驚魂吧! 全球驚慄! (廣東話教學) (Traditional Chinese review)

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:15:07 +0000

by behappy

人數:1 - 8
上手難度: ★★★☆☆
文字量: ★★★★★
性價比: ★★★☆☆
口味: ★★★★☆
遊戲時間: 90min + 30@每玩家
遊戲性: ★★★★☆
背景主題: 克蘇魯
價錢: 主遊戲 $60 + 細擴$25 X 4 + 大擴$50 X 4
遊戲年份: 2013年
賣點: 最美妙的克蘇魯體驗。

如果有留意克蘇魯神話的信徒,必定知道一款舊遊戲魔鎮驚魂(Arkham Horror)吧~玩家在 Arkham 調查,阻止邪神甦醒,遊戲難度極高,新手很難掌握。
有見及此,FFG 在2013年推出新遊戲 Eldritch Horror ,一款像是魔鎮驚魂2.0 的合作遊戲。遊戲從Arkham 擴展到整個世界,選定邪神後在mytho完結前以解決3個謎題為宗旨封印邪神。玩家要在世界地圖穿洲過省,裝備自己,找尋道具,幫助封印。遊戲以骰子作檢定,檢定成功與否都會帶來不同的後果。




1. 玩家目標清晰- 3個謎題就是玩家的目標,不像AH傻傻的不知道要做什麼。特別是克蘇魯新手,他不能好好的明白AH 要怎樣去封門,然後什麼時間不能做什麼,變相就是1個Alpha Player 去結指令一班什麼都不理解的人去玩AH。而在EH ,他們較能容易理解要做什麼,自己可以有想法去玩遊戲,明白遊戲的進程,享受遊戲。

2. 調整的遊戲難度- 玩家除了能選擇不同的邪神使遊戲有不同難度外,更重要是可以自己調節Mytho(神話) 的難度,使新玩家也可以有良好的體驗,不用第一鋪就給邪神玩弄而死。

3.豐富的故事,強大的參與感- 遊戲每到遭遇流程,玩家都會有自己的故事。你可以跟你的同伴分享你的遭遇,透過檢定得到或失去什麼,使玩家投入遊戲,而亦不是無腦的一輪擲骰然後調整。

4. 重玩性極高 - 有大量的邪神,邪神有數張不同的謎題,大量各款不同的角色,大量不同的裝備,神器,故事,魔物,神話等等等等。

5.克蘇魯的體驗- 克蘇魯神話最引人入勝的地方就是邪神給你的無助,而這款EH 絕對能滿足你這個體驗。你有機會被迫簽下暗黑契約,掉進 Lost in Time and Space,一命鳴呼的時間更要被邪神的神話加害而沒有任何抵抗方法,一身超強的裝備卻敵不過神智的衝擊而進入昏迷狀態變成廢人,成功在望卻一下子化為烏有等等。這不就是玩克蘇魯的享受嗎?

6. 集各家之大成- 易學,有趣,有內容,有氣氛,適合新手,而且還在努力開發新擴展。

7. 可以單人遊戲 - 可以單人遊戲是很重要呀。。。

1.時間太長 - 除非你在玩單人遊戲,否則絕不是2 - 3小時可以完結。遊戲時間藉著人數會增加得很多, 故事說多了,檢定做多了,行動做多了,人數多也會Downtime 很多,6人遊戲很容易就快上4 / 5小時。雖然可以支持8人遊戲,最建議4人遊戲,不多於6人。

2.骰子就是一切 - 勝也是骰子,可以只得一顆骰就通過檢定,亦因為骰子通不過就整個遊戲庸庸碌碌。

3.瑣碎規則太多 - FFG 的老問題,總是有很多瑣碎的規則,總不能一下子就全部解釋,又老是一堆Errata要補完。

4. 遊戲設立麻煩- 遊戲有很多設定像Mthyo 的難度,邪神,選角等等的遊戲設定,要花一段時間去準備。



遊戲隨著擴展增加新角色,邪神及地圖,小擴包括新角色及一個邪神。大擴包括新角色,新地圖,2個新邪神,還有新的系統。小編早就搬不動整套收藏,所以每次遊戲前都花時間整理需要的內容才出發,但還是重重的。新擴展加了不少新元素新系統,但小編不認為需要全部東西都混在一起遊玩,這反而變得復雜混亂。如果要購買擴展,小編首推 Under the Pyramids ,這個金字塔的Boss 及新地圖都很好玩。

另外,全家的EH玩家自發收集了一堆EH 的數據,當中提到魔王的難度,甦醒的機率等等,差不多有一萬局遊戲!有興趣絕對要看看哦。…/1ZdxFQZu-5jT9zyTRuE0JCFR4Km…/edit…


#bgkshk #boardgame #arkhamhorror #cthulhu #eldritchhorror #ffg

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Review: The Expanse Board Game:: A first impressions review

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:47:26 +0000

by benme If I play a game and feel I have a good handle on it I often check the Geek and see what it has by way of reviews. In the case of The Expanse there was only 2 reviews in English so thought I would share my thoughts.If you know nothing about The Expanse board game it is a multiplayer area control game that owns a debt to card driven war games with a key choice in card play of using cards for events or action points. If you use a card for action points then potentially you are letting your opponents utilise the event. I love that core mechanic but find a lot of the games that feature it are 2 player only and few have the kind of brisk (sub 2 hours) play time i seek. Fewer still do that with 3-4 players and fewer still could be introduced to a wide range of gamers. I am not sure if many people will quite reach the 45-75 minutes for their first game but the time feels fairly achievable thereafter.That is where this game shines, it is a very interactive and very accessible game that many players will be able to "get" to actively participate and enjoy even their first game. It does so with an easy rules teach and a quick playing time. Nothing in the game feels that nasty, you take fleets or influence cubes away from your opponents but it is hardly ripping the rug from under them and quite possibly came about cause you were overstepping into their territory or had been getting free points each scoring round without contention. I have seen lots of critisisms of the components but I think modern gamers are sometimes spoiled in that department, everything works well and I dont have any problem with them. The cards seem fine, the cubes seem fine, the player boards are fine. True the player boards could be made of iridescent card stock but that would just add weight and distraction. The initial price seems somewhat high which might have lead to this critisism (but US imported niche games into the UK often are) but already the game is being made available at more reasonable prices. I do not want to make out that the game is perfect. Far from it. Firstly one of the real strengths of the card driven war mechanics is for the events to add thematic and narrative elements to the game. For instance in my favorite game of the genre Wir Sind Das Volk! the player who is East Germany needs to decide whether or not they want to build the Berlin wall with drastic consequences either way. Some events are more powerful, some favor one faction more than the others but they do not really tell much by way of story, nor do they radically change or distort the game. If you love the series or the books behind them you might be able to tell your own stories with the cards but its not that obvious for anyone else and even with that knowledge the card abilities do not tell much of a story on their own.Luck plays a role and the appearance of the last scoring card could radically alter the outcomes. Also both the ordering of the cards and the actions of other players can really hit your chances of success. Whilst I loved my single play I was also looking for the extra depth and options that some other games of the type bring. Sometimes I play a game and it gets into my head and I am playing again and again in my head afterwards and looking forward to future plays. I didnt get that with this game, although I see nuance and areas that could shine with future pl[...]

Review: Inis:: Inis - Farts of Wisdom

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:46:00 +0000

by BoxFartBandit

Inis has your 'dudes on a map' mechanic but the strategy involved and restraint you must exercise are what make the game so engaging.

It is important to know when not to fight as a combat you can win is not always in your best interest. It takes a few plays to know when to let rival clans live peacefully in your territories and for how long.

This is also true for knowing when show your hand or when to pass even though you intend on taking more actions this turn. The game requires some patience. If you make bold moves too early in a turn you could end up blocked by the Geis card and lose your action. Alternatively, if you pass hoping make your critical move after the Geis card has been used and actions are safer you could end up missing your chance completely. The balance is always in the forefront of your mind.

My group often ends the game in a struggle where more then one player is meeting a win condition at a time. Then it's a race to stay on top, for which you better have the right cards in hand.

Inis has a finesse to it that is accentuated by the gorgeous card art and map tiles.

For images and more short reviews please check out @BoxFartBandit

Review: Dungeon Degenerates: Hand of Doom:: Review of Dungeon Degenerates after first play

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:18:52 +0000

by orkboi

I got this game off Kickstarter last week, and I want to write a quick review of it. I’m a huge fan of Sean Aaberg’s eye-bleeding punk rock psychedelic lowbrow dungeon crawl art, and I backed this game primarily for the art and theme. I was pleasantly surprised to find a very good game in the box as well. This is a game that will probably see repeated gameplay with my game group.
In DD: Hand of Doom, you play a bunch of low life scum making their way in a degenerate fantasy world menaced by an otherworldly horror, the Necromancer. If exploring a vividly imagined fantasy world full of threat and danger is your jam, this game is for you, and it provides enough interesting choices that tactical players will enjoy it too.
Dungeon Degenerates is a cooperative game, though there can be some competition for loot as well. The players can even split and go their separate ways if they want to. There are plenty of directed and even heroic missions to undertake if you want to, but the world seems to be essentially a sandbox.
Punch out the components very carefully! Although the materials look beautiful, there are issues with the punch ours, and the standees sometimes bunch up at the bottom.
Gather up some extra D6’s, ideally six red ones, six green ones, and three purple ones. The game goes much faster if everyone has their own set of dice.
The art, theming, and color is all 100% spot on. The board is a work of art in its own right. The flavor text is A++. Everything contributes to this being a fresh and fun take on the dungeon crawl.
The rules are very clearly written and sensibly laid out with a decent glossary.
Play is fast paced—we taught the game and did two missions in our first four-hour session.
The game has some depth, with plenty choices that are tactically interesting.
It gives you an exciting world to explore. Triggering new encounters, fighting new monsters, and digging up new look yields interesting results and fun events.
The game world is very dynamic, with shifting levels of threat, some persistent dangers, missions, and a glowing sense of glowering doom.
The board is a work of art, but in play it can be hard to parse. It’s not always clear what region a location belongs to, or what other areas are adjacent.
When you start getting into the minute details, the rules are a bit vague and may require some interpretation. I expect an FAQ or revised set of rules to show up at some point.
Campaign play requires more bookkeeping between sessions than I’d like. The rules advise you to leave the game set up, but that’s usually not practical.
There are a number of easy-to-miss rules and procedures. To be fair, a certain level of fiddlyness may be a feature and not a bug for many players, and the game doesn’t typically break if you do something wrong the first few times.

Review: Castellion:: Castellion - Review

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:44:18 +0000

by gschloesser Design by Shadi TorbeyPublished by Z-Man Games1 - 2 Players, 30 minutesReview by Greg J. SchloesserNOTE: This review was first published on the Opinionated Gamers website.I am generally not attracted to solitaire games as I honestly do not have the opportunity often enough to play them.  Whenever I do find myself alone, I usually have household chores to do, game reviews to write, or other tasks to accomplish.  Further, for me gaming is a social activity to be shared with other people.  As such, I tend not to seek games designed primarily for one person.Castellion by designer Shadi Torbey is designed for both one and two players, but my experience has been strictly solitaire.  I found myself alone and with a bit of time on my hands, so I played the game several times, trying the different difficulty levels.  The game has a decidedly puzzle-like aspect that may well appeal to those who enjoy those types of challenges.The theme is a bit unusual:  the player (or players) must construct a fantastic, morphing castle to protect the realm against the dreaded menace which threatens to overrun the kingdom.  The challenge is to construct the castle in a fashion so as to meet the requirements on the three "ordeal" cards in effect for that game.The game has three different levels in increasing complexity.  The base game--the School of Architects--introduces the basic tile-laying and construction requirements.  The Admiral's Academy incorporates the tiles' special powers, while The Menace (considered the "expert" level) adds even more special powers.  The base game is sufficiently challenging, while the two advanced versions are very difficult to win.  Each of these have further options--ominously entitled "Shadow of the Menace"--that make matters even more difficult.Note that I will describe the solitaire version, indicating the rule changes for two players later in the review.In the School of Architects version, three "Ordeal" cards are revealed, each listing a requirement that must be met.  Two stacks of tiles are formed, one containing 12 "safe" Dream tiles (no traitors) while the other stack contains 72 standard tiles.  Tiles come in four factions (colors) and three shapes (triangle, square and circle).  A player's turn consists of drawing a tile, placing it into the castle or discarding it.  If the tile is a "defender", the tile can be placed or discarded.  However, if it is a traitor, it must be placed next to the current Ordeal card.There are a few simple rules when placing a tile into the castle:*The tile must be adjacent to a previously placed tile;*Except for the six tiles that form the foundation of the castle, each tile must be placed above another tile, which supports it;*Except for the six tiles in the foundation, a tile may not be placed adjacent to another tile depicting the same shape;*The castle can be a maximum of 6x6 in size.When placing tiles, the idea is to form formations consisting of four tiles of like factions that meet the criteria depicted on the Ordeal cards.  These formations are either linear or in a square pattern.If the player cannot or does not desire to place a defender tile, he may discard it. Be careful, however, as too many discards will result in the deck depleting faster and limiting your placement options.T[...]

Review: A Feast for Odin:: [Top of the Table] A Feast for Odin Isn't Actually About Vikings

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 11:13:16 +0000

by drewhauge The following is an excerpt from, where I'm writing about my quest to play the entire BGG Top 100.Today we’re going to take a look at A Feast for Odin, one of Uwe Rosenberg’s latest worker placement classics. While upon first glance this may appear to be a game about Vikings, I’m here to posit an alternative ‘fan theory’. In A Feast for Odin, you’re not playing the role of a Nordic jarl – you’re actually stepping into the shoes of a hoarder with delusions of grandeur. Don’t believe me? Read on.Look at This Stuff – Isn’t it Neat?The goal of A Feast for Odin, plainly stated, is to collect all manner of goods and trinkets and store it wherever you can. Beans, cattle, whale bones, peculiar rocks — you want it all. If it’s shiny or big or oddly shaped, oh you REALLY want that.There are plenty of different ways to collect goods. Foraging, crafting, hunting, raiding, trading – the list goes on. So many unique and interesting strategies to pursue, and they all lead to the same end goal.Where to put all these treasures though? Well, for one, there’s plenty of space in your yard. If you need additional room, then you could build a shed or warehouse, or go out in search of more land. I hear that Greenland has plenty of extra storage space.Careful though, you need a system for organizing your trinkets! Green things can’t touch other green things directly, just the corners. Unless you put it in a shed or warehouse, then it’s fine. And you can’t put red or orange things outdoors – they’ve got to be stored inside. But you DEFINITELY can’t touch red to red or orange to orange, ever! Blue things are the best treasures, so you can put those wherever you want. You can also store money anywhere, and iron pretty much anywhere. As long as the iron is outdoors! As long as you stick to the system, it’s easy to remember exactly where everything is in case you ever need it. And surely you’ll need all of it at some point.I almost forgot to mention – when placing stuff outside, you generally have to go from the bottom left to the top right… What’s that, no need to explain the placement rules any further? Okay, I knew you’d understand – it’s intuitive really.Are you ready to learn the secret to winning the game? You can earn more stuff simply by storing the things you already own! That just goes to show all those people who call your treasures ‘clutter’ or ‘junk’.Being endowed with so much wealth, you do have an obligation to share with your friends. It’s your duty to host an annual feast for everyone in town. This is the time when you can share the bounty of all your best food and drink. The presentation is very important too. Always alternate meats and vegetables. If you don’t have enough, you can put money on the table to fill any gaps. That always seems to appease the guests.In the end, you get to look back and reflect upon your accomplishments. There are so many different paths a Viking can follow in his or her life, so how does one measure success? Well, by how much stuff that Viking accumulated, of course! All stuff is good, so how much space it takes up is the only fair way to measure its worth. (The only exception to this is literally the Crown of England[...]

Review: Quest for the Antidote:: A truly good crossover game for Family and Gamers

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 07:18:30 +0000

by Chris Baylis Tom Deschenes Game QUEST for the ANTIDOTE is a 2-6 players aged 13 and up. It is published by UpperDeck and available in the UK from your local game store.It is blessed by illustrations from Scott Sherman and although it looks like it should be a gamers game it is really a very enjoyable family game which becomes obvious once you read the comprehensive but slim book of rules. Just 14 glossy, colourful pages which also contain a short comic-style story, Alternate ways to play, Credits and a Quick Guide to the Ingredient cards.The high quality components are 6 pairs of wooden Pawns (2 of each ID colour) a pair of Dice (1 x 10 sided and 1 x 6 sided), a small Grey wooden cube, and a Deck of just over 80 cards which splits down into several smaller Decks.The game board is set like an old-fashioned fantasy adventure Dungeon with passages and tunnels leading to the various chambers and special hide-aways. In the main rooms/chambers there are a small stack of Monster cards which represent the creatures that amble through or use this chamber as their home. When you reach the space next to the Chamber it means you have opened the door and must face whatever is inside, defeating it by a die-roll (plus any equipment/weapon bonus) versus the Monsters target number - the highest being 10 - on a 10-sided die. The ten Special Loot cards are shuffled and four are placed face down and unseen on the board, one in each of the appropriate spaces. Reaching these first gives the player whatever advantage the Loot card offers.The idea of the game is to be the first player to get back to the Apothecary with all four ingredients required to save yourself from the poison you have been given - reading the two-page comic will explain the why's and wherefore's of the poisoning. The ingredients are found in the various locations around the map and those you require are on cards dealt out randomly at the beginning of the game. Players are also dealt a number (depending on the number of players) Meddling cards randomly at the beginning of the game. Meddling cards have two uses, the first being that they can be played on other players so that their effects affect their actions. the second use is explainbed below.QUEST for the ANTIDOTE has a game mechanic that can be really good but can also be really frustrating. Players move their characters around the board by rolling the 6-sided die and counting their moves on the flagstones of the pathways. If they reach a Chamber where there is a Monster they can either fight it or turn around and run away as long as they have enough movement points remaining.If they fight they have to roll the D10 and beat or equal the Monsters target number. By defeating the Monster they can walk through the Chamber (cavern, room whatever you like to call it) and continue using your Movement points along one of the exiting paths (Entry and Exit from Rooms are marked by arrows). If the defeated monster has additional text in light italics then it means there is a reward, a special item, but these are only found on Monsters with target values of 8s, 9s and 10sThis all sounds pretty easy, and indeed it is, but of course there is a catch, there just had to be. The catch is that every character has just 50 Breath[...]

Review: Vs System 2PCG: Monsters Unleashed!:: Opens the VS System up for some additional strategies and fun

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 02:25:19 +0000

by Chris Baylis UPPER DECK's Vs SYSTEM 2PCG: MARVEL MONSTERS UNLEASHED @ £40.00 - £45.00 Online and In Your Local Game StoreAlthough this boxed set is named as an expansion for the VS System and its cards can be used with other VS System sets, the 400 cards in this box are not collectible but instead are capable of being melded into 60 card themed decks. Players can create/build decks using just the cards in this set and play against each other using the regular VS SYSTEM rules (found in other VS System box sets or online Main Character Marvel Heroes in this box are, in the main, not as well known as some but they still have awesome powers and brave Supporting Characters to enhance their Teams (Decks), but the most fun way to play is with three players, two with Decks created using Main Super Hero Characters and the third player (the one who should enjoy the game the most - I know I do) controlling (or being controlled by) the Evil Leviathon Mother and her Legion of Leviathons. The two Hero Characters need to work together against the Leviathon Mother's Horde while she has to defeat each Main Hero on her own. When The Leviathon Mother plays a Location she gets one of the following effects depending on which power symbol it has:2016-upper-deck-vs-system-2pcg-alien-battles-preview-power-symbol-alien Defend Your Mother: You may put a Leviathon team affiliated character from your hand onto your side as long as its cost is less than or equal to the number of resources you have.Vs-Intellect-2pcg The Time of Nesting is Here: Draw a card. Draw another card for each One of a Kind character on your side.Vs-Might-2pcg Face Me and Die: Put three +1/+1 counters on the Leviathon Mother.Vs-Skill-2pcg This Planet Angers Me: Each enemy player chooses one of their face-up Supporting Characters and Stuns it.. The Desecrated Nest: When you play this Location, choose any one of the four above effects.On opening the MONSTERS UNLEASHED box you are faced with 4 sealed decks of 100 cards each and a single, double-sided, sheet of Rules. You do not need any of the previous Vs Sets to play MONSTERS UNLEASHED but you do need the basic complete rules (as mentioned previously). These Decks contain the Four New Teams. three of which are the "Good" guys and one is the invasion of the Evil Leviathons lead by the aforementioned Leviathon Mother. Each Team has their own recognition icon ; the InHumans, the Champions and the Monsters all are defenders of Earth against the Leviathons.Two cards, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, are affiliated to two teams; Moon Girl with the InHumans, Devil Dinosaur with Monsters Unleashed and both together are a combined group which allows them to Team Attack together.The first thing you should do, in my opinion, is to sort the cards into the Decks as noted on the Game (Rule) Sheet. You will find that the Main Characters and Supporting Characters (with the possible exception of Moon Girl) are all easily found in their respective sealed packs but the Plot Twists (Blue cards) and Locations (Green cards) are spread throughout the 4 packs so as you come across any not required in the current Deck you are building just put them aside in separ[...]

Review: In the Year of the Dragon: 10th Anniversary:: I wish I had been this good at 10 years old

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 02:24:15 +0000

by Chris Baylis TEN YEARS ago Stefan Feld's boardgame "IN THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON" was launched. Published by ALEA it soon became a favourite amongst strategy boardgamers and has consistently remained so.This latest Edition includes two mini expansions, "The GREAT WALL of CHINA" and "The SUPER EVENTS", each taking one page of the Rules booklet for their rules as well as having specific, separate component pieces (Wall Tiles and Corners)Of these expansions the SUPER EVENTS are just 10 small card counters die-cut into fan shapes. Only one of these is used per game and thus there are ten different new variations or twenty different if you use the SUPER EVENTS and the GREAT WALL of CHINA expansion together. Neither of the expansions are major but each does add a new dimension of play that requires thinking about and always adds something good to the game. These expansions were originally released as part of the Alea Big Box Expansion sets - the 2009 Alea Treasure Chest.So there is the Basic Game (1), plus the first expansion (2) plus the 10 tiles for the second expansion (12) and then there is using the Ten tiles with the GREAT WALL scenario (one tile only per game of course) which takes the total to 22 similar but different games in the one box, it's better than a compendium. My suggestion is to do as we did and play the Basic game until you are used to the mechanics and then you will find it really easy to introduce the new Expansions into your sessions and enjoy them more than you would if you had just jumped in feet (expansions) first without building up to them.The GREAT WALL of CHINA:This introduces a new Action card, the Wall, so that instead of three twin-sets of cards and one solo card in the central section, you now have four twin-sets to choose from. Players also have six small wall tiles in their colour. These have a different privilege on each of them: A Rice Tile, A Fireworks Tile, A Palace Section, 2 Yuan, 3 Spaces on the Person and 3 Spaces on the Scoring TracksThe SUPER EVENTS:This introduces the ten Corner pieces, each of which is a small, but super, event, which comes into play after the seventh Event tile has been activated but scoring hasn't as yet occurred. The new mini events are listed below:Lanternfest: 2 VPs per person in Palaces.Buddha: Players score VPs for Monks according to the number of floors in your Palaces.Earthquake: Everyone loses two Palace sections (floors).Flood: Half of everyone's Yuan, Fireworks and Rice tiles they currently hold.Solar Eclipse: The seventh Event's effect is repeated.Volcanic Eruption: All markers on the Person Track are returned to the Zero space.Tornado: Players have to discard 2 of their Person cards, thus they only have one card each for the eighth and ninth months and have to skip the Person phase in the last 3 months (10, 11 and 12).Sunrise: Each Player selects a unique "young" Person and scores it appropriately.Assassination Attempt: All Privileges are discarded without compensation,Charter: Beginning with the Start Player everyone receives the advantages from one (they select which) Person type in their Palaces.My memory isn't clear on the original, so apart from the expansions I cannot comment on any[...]

Review: Black Knight (fan expansion for T.I.M.E Stories):: Black Knight

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 02:18:31 +0000

by Trajello

This TS expansion was incredibly fun and challenging. I loved how well the atmosphere, plot and puzzles wove together. My group found the puzzles to be difficult enough to spur great conversation, but they were never too overwhelming (although a background mathematics definitely helps). After having played all TS official releases through Lumen Fidei, I would say this was one of my favorite expansions, and another member of our group said it was their favorite Time Story period.

One drawback was the lack of clarity of instructions. Several cards refer to spending "TU" without specifying if it's being spent by the individual or the group or using the blue/white and black symbols. A few cards have you make rolls at nonstandard times and don't clarify if doing so costs any TU. But these are minor quibbles.

All in all it took our group about 4 hours to complete. You absolutely need a smartphone and probably access to Google during the mission. The base says you can use paper to take notes, which I thought was a nice touch.

Review: Paths to Hell:: A short review

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 02:18:03 +0000

by skippy01

Paths to hell.

Early Russian front tactical.

Leaders/counters take turns activating and reacting.

Platoon level counters. Units are units. You deploy companies whose units need to work together. Individual leaders for each unit on the map. The quality of that leader affects the performance of the underlying counters. First with a command range and also the tactical skill of the leader. This tactical factor allows leaders to attempt to combine an activation.

The game in my view represents the difference between early Soviets and Germans. I feel like I am playing the era when I play a scenario, not a generic group of counters with bad range and firepower. The Russians want to bunch, and close the Germans outflank and... close. The Russians are worse than the Germans at combining leaders and their tanks need to bunch, but not as badly as the French.

Units fight as units. I have say this has been the first tactical game that felt like I was commanding a battalion/company. There is plenty of potential to recreate you favourite actions from the Barbarossa books we all own.

The innovation in this game is the new battalion rules. I don't have a good handle on these so I might comment when I do, but they look interesting.

The counters are good the maps are paper and A3, I like the natural artwork of the maps.

The combat resolution is a bit squad leader, in that there are charts and tables, I like this but it is not lock n load's nations at war.

I like the scenario's they are usually on 1-3 maps and have a small footprint, you have the ability to outflank but you cannot do this wildly due to leadership and unit integrity.

If you like East Front tactical buy this one. I did and got a couple of the other games as a result.

Review: Crazier Eights: Camelot:: Everything Board Games Crazier Eights:Camelot Review

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 01:34:50 +0000

by Dt92stang Quick Look:Designer: James Wallace GrayArtist: VariousPublisher: RecoculousYear Published: 2017No. of Players: 2-4Ages: 13+Playing Time: 10-30 minutesReview:Rules and Setup:Crazier Eights:Camelot is a hand-management game, in which the object of the game is to be the first player to have no cards in hand. Each turn, you will draw a card, play a card, and discard a card matching either the color or number of the top card on the discard pile.Game setup is very simple. At the start of the game, shuffle the cards together, and deal each player 7 cards. The remaining cards now become the draw pile, and you will create a discard pile next to it by turning over the top card of the draw pile. Play begins clockwise based off of the starting player, who can be determined randomly.Within the deck are two types of cards: Asset and Event cards. Asset cards are cards that have an on-going effect, and can impact any or all players in the game. Event cards are single-use cards that allow you as the player to change parts of the game, whether it is allowing you to discard an additional card on your turn, or manipulate any assets that are in play. Once you play an Event card, it will be discarded to the Discard Pile, and placed at the bottom of that pile.Play continues until a player has zero cards in hand. If, during play, there are no cards to draw from, the top card of the discard pile is set aside, and the remaining cards are shuffled and made into the new Draw Pile.In addition to the base game of Crazier Eights: Camelot, an expansion of 33 additional cards is also available, called Crazier Eights: Avalon, adding a larger variety of Assets and Events to the game. Theme and Mechanics:The theme of Crazier Eights: Camelot and Avalon is heavily based on the King Arthur mythos of the early 6th Century, where the fabled King Arthur, King of Britain, led the defense against the Saxon invasion. The artwork and text on the cards relies on the characters and items from that time.Mechanically, the game is based on a solid premise of playing cards that allow you to discard cards while attempting to manipulate your opponent’s hands and future actions. To discard a card, you will need to match either the color or number of the top card on the discard pile. The base game comes with four colors (or suits) of Orange, Blue, Purple, and Green. To help for players who may be color-blind, each color also has a symbol representing it (Orange is the Sun, Green an Ankh, Blue the Moon, and Purple an Eye). The cards are numbered A-10, J, Q, K. The Camelot expansion continues this by adding cards numbered 11-15. In the base set, the 8 card of each color is considered a wild card for any color. With the Camelot expansion, it introduces color-specific wild cards, so you may see a wild-card for Orange-Green or Purple-Blue that can only be used on those colors. Each wild-card can be used either a wild-card or to trigger the event printed on it. It cannot be used for both.The majority of the event cards focus on either deck or asset manipulation, while the assets focus more on the draw manipulation or hand man[...]

Review: Village of Legends:: Village of Legends - What if Star Realms punched to the left? - quick review

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 01:34:40 +0000

by tiagoVIP Village of Legends is a deck building game, in which players battle among themselves in order to be the last one standing. It offers the possibility of playing in teams, with two players facing other two - attacks go clockwise, so isn't normally possible to gang up on the same player, although many spells can attack any player.The mechanics remind those of Ascension: Deckbuilding Game and its kin - there are some always present cards (Beer, Concentration/Meditation, Spells, Nuggets and Healing Potions), while the bulk of the cards will come from a single deck: five cards open for purchase, and when one is taken, a new one is revealed from the deck and put in the market. As in Ascencion, players can buy any number of cards, as long as they can pay for them, and use as many actions as they can. The only restriction is that when using a Heavy Weapon to attack, no other weapon - Heavy or not - is allowed to be played in the same turn.As I mentioned, the goal of the game is to eliminated to other side. Players are representated by characters, all with different abilities, requirement to level up and hit points. Players will use weapons, spells and monsters to attack the other side, trying to bring them down. While this can be fun, it comes with a big issue: the player elimination. Often the elimination won't come too soon, and once it happens, the game is likely near the end, as two against one (when playing 4p, in teams) hardly takes long to finish. Yet, with some combinations, is possible for someone to exit early. Since player elimination is often seen among the most despised mechanic in a game, is worth knowing it is present in Village of Legends.There are other four issues with the game: first, the minor one, is the downtime. You can't truly act when the others are playing, just adjusting your hit points when damaged. Since the game isn't a deep one, nor is very complex, turns shouldn't take long, and the pace can normally be quick. Yet, as we all know, some people just use a big chunk of time to do things. Second is the grind: the game goes forward when damage is being dealt and characters are getting closer to dying. However, in some plays, the healing and protection from armor, shields, etc, can put a halt in the game - one side gives damage, the other block or simply heals afterwards. The play doesn't advances - it is simply an attrition battle, with the sides just waiting for an opening and/or a lucky blow - is quite close situations I participated in Star Realms.The third is some graphic design and production choices, mostly regarding the monsters. Players can acquire monsters and use them against the other - they are a good way to give damage and hassle. But while all of them have hit points, which players should be able to control and see easily, the design of the cards failed in adding the HP of them to the cards - you need to find them in a messy player aid. Also, it would be nice to have control markers to place on the monsters, as once beaten the monsters go to the discard pile of the controlling players - normally is easy to rem[...]

Review: Coffee Roaster:: The Unique Blend: A Coffee Roaster Review

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 01:34:18 +0000

by OMD56 Link to original article: games do not always receive the same praise as multiplayer board games. While we still have video games that provide a solo experience, books to enjoy amongst ourselves and even television and films to binge alone, many gamers prefer their cardboard games to be accompanied by a social aspect. I can personally agree that the social aspect is a HUGE bonus to playing games, but it’s not the defining factor. Just as multiplayer games have developed from Monopoly to Agricola, Pandemic Legacy and Gloomhaven, single-player games have evolved from Solitaire to Onirim, Friday and (the topic of today’s review) Coffee Roaster.Coffee Roaster, similar to what one sees on the cover, is a quirky little game, in appearance and gameplay. Even the theme is out in left field. The board gaming scene doesn’t have a mass selection of coffee-based games, minus VivaJava, VivaJava: The Dice Game…. and this, to name the significant ones. But unusual themes are what Saashi (the pen-name of Coffee Roaster) likes to stick to. Not only does he have a game about roasting coffee, but he’s also designed games about photography (Wind the Film!) and improvising jazz musicians (Take the “A” Chord).Saashi has partnered with Takako Takarai for the art in all three of his titles, which some people are going to be turned off by. We’ve got our coffee roaster all smiles on the cover next to his trusty… coffee roaster... (Wait, our cover boy is nameless! We’ll name him something fancy, like Hans. Props to the best Christmas move ever: Die Hard) The cream yellows and aqua blues fill the background of Hans’ workplace, along with the reds, greens and blues of the flavor tokens drawn out of the bag.I can see why some may think this game looks ugly. The colors are fairly childish. The grinning face and beady eyes of Hans are scattered about the two player boards. The circles on the turn track aren’t even fully rounded. Compared to the illustrations of famed artist Klemens Franz, many would say Franz does bright and colorful correctly. But that’s just it! The art of Coffee Roaster only adds to the unique qualities of the theme and gameplay (which I’ll get to in just a moment).And to be honest, you don’t need a ton of art for this game. We’re not looking at a Rosenberg epic with a billion cards. It has cardboard tokens with numbers and different tones of browns. There are two player boards, a rulebook, and Bean Sheets that aren’t even graced by Hans.Coffee Roaster is a bag builder, an uncommon offshoot of deck building. Each game you start with a pre-determined number of beans, flavors, moisture and maybe a bad bean or two, all based on which type of coffee you are attempting to roast. You set out the five smoke tokens on their spots on the player board, the red timer disk and you’re all set to begin roasting with Hans!Each round, you pull a number of tokens based on where the red token is on the timer track. Most beans are numbered and th[...]

Review: 8-Bit Werewolf:: Ender's Comprehensive Pictorial Overview: Werewolf & Mafia get 8-bit pixel art

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:49:32 +0000

by EndersGame 8-BIT WEREWOLF and 8-BIT MAFIA Home Run Games8-Bit Werewolf and 8-Bit Mafia are a set of companion games from Home Run Games that come in the same box of cards. Subsequently they've also been published in a miniature version, under the title 8-Bit mini Werewolf & Mafia. This is something that will be of special interest to those who enjoy Werewolf, and who have a fondness for 8-bit artwork.So who is Home Run Games? I have reviewed some of their products before, such as their Werewolf Coins (review link), which was a unique concept of using customized coins for playing Werewolf. I've also covered their beautiful Murphy Varnish deck as part of a larger article on transformation decks (review link). Home Run Games specializes in restoring classic decks of playing cards from the 19th century, and has reproduced many of these in beautiful new editions (store link). They've also produced a couple of games of their own, like the Press Start Pocket series, and their combat card game entitled Ultimate Soldier, a new version of which is currently up on Kickstarter (review link).But in this article I want to take a look at the 8-bit versions of Werewolf and Mafia that Home Run Games has published, which features the retro-style pixelated artwork that is popular in many circles. Werewolf & MafiaThe genre of social deduction games has exploded in recent years, but Werewolf is arguably the classic of the genre, and it remains a regular staple of many gaming conventions, with games sometimes operating on a large scale and going into the wee hours of the morning. It also continues to be a big and active hit in the play-by-forums section of BGG. Werewolf can accommodate very large numbers of players, and its devotees are dedicated and many, happily playing it over and over again.If you're not familiar with Werewolf, the basic concept of the game is that a group of around a dozen or more players are assigned secret character roles, corresponding to two teams: Villagers and Werewolves. A Moderator leads the group through alternating night and day phases, as the village tries to survive the threat of the Werewolves. Each night, the Werewolves eat one Villager, who is eliminated from the game. During the day, the Villagers must use discussion to try to uncover the Werewolves, and lynch one person each day by means of a vote, aiming to identify and eliminate the Werewolves before the Villagers are outnumbered. As the circle grows smaller, there is more evidence to work with, but the tension grows, because the Villagers need to lynch all the Werewolves in order to win. Many unique and special character roles have been developed for the game, to add extra interest, variety, and enjoyment, with roles like the Seer being a standard fixture of the game. The genesis of Werewolf is usually attributed to a Russian named Dimitry Davidoff, whose original concept for the game in 1986 employed a mafia theme. American Andrew Plotkin reworked the game with a werewolf theme in 1997, and it is this form of the[...]

Review: Import / Export:: A great game that successfully builds on the Glory to Rome mechanics

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:46:38 +0000

by Poins Initially launched on Kickstarter, Import/Export is a beautifully designed game from Dark Flight. The designer, Jordan Draper, has built unashamedly on the mechanics first developed in the currently out-of-print Glory To Rome and recycled by GTR designer Carl Chudyk in his more recent games, including Mottainai and Uchronia.Plastic cubes and (in the deluxe Captain edition) plastic model ships aside, this means that Import/Export is essentially a card game. Like its forebears though, it is a card game where all of the cards have multiple uses. Players control shipping companies and they are competing to earn money by loading containers onto ships and fulfilling contracts, each of which boosts your capabilities. Like Glory to Rome, the action chosen by the active player (the Captain) can be copied by the other players; so there is a need for canny players to keep a close eye on what opponents are trying to achieve (and on their special capabilities) to avoid taking an action that benefits them more than it does you.Because Import/Export is building on an already well-established mechanic, it plays seamlessly and you will admire the elegance of the design as the game unfurls. Unlike previous games that utilise similar mechanics, the cards in Import Export are all unique: there are lots of cards of each type, of course, but no two have the same contract powers on them. This means that the game can play out quite differently each time you play; and that’s before you add in any of the four mini-expansions. Import/Export introduces an auction element and opportunities for piracy; neither of which directly correspond to elements in Glory To Rome. These add spice to the gameplay, although neither turn this into an overtly aggressive ‘take that’ game.Nevertheless, Import/Export is a game where you may well find yourself cursing. Though there are several potential actions available to players, these are dependent on you having matching cards. Sometimes the card you have permitting an action is the very card you want to use for one of its other functions. And, be warned, Import/Export can be quite unforgiving: if you make a bad call (for example, going for a contract that you cannot readily complete or overbidding in an auction), you can find yourself scuppered with virtually ‘wasted’ turns.Import/Export is a game that is both challenging and rewarding. If you’ve not previously played other games with multi-use cards, you may find it initially daunting but after a couple of turns you’ll have got to grips with the different ways in which you can utilise the cards and you’ll quickly be on the lookout for how best to use the available cards to build the most effective economic engine. This is definitely one to check out. It’s a game you’ll likely to be playing again and again.To see a 360 degree photo of Import/Export, take a look at the Board's Eye View review pages on Facebook at [...]

Review: Space Race: The Card Game – Interkosmos:: 5th player, more cards, and richer history. What more could you ask for?

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:45:27 +0000

by Dismas The more I play board games the more I realize that they are a lot like movies. There are big budget titles and indie darlings. There are ones with big names, and ones by first-timers looking to make a splash. The movies most interesting of all to me are the cult-classics. These movies are hidden gems that are underappreciated, except for their small core following. Eventually, their brilliance is discovered and the popularity explodes. Two such titles I can think of that fall into this category are The Princess Bride and The Goonies.This got me to thinking. Are there cult classic games currently in the hobby? I think so, but I can't really prove it, because it's just kind of a gut instinct. However, if I had to provide you with some examples to back my claim I would list Vast: The Crystal Caverns and Space Race: The Card Game. Space Race is a clever little card game of space exploration for 1 to 4 players. It was a Kickstarter darling that did not see retail release, causing a lot of people to be sad they missed this project. Well, if you missed it, lucky for you, there is currently an expansion out called Interkosmos, and you can get the base game and expansion during this campaign! So what's new in Interkosmos?The first big change to the game is the addition of a fifth Space Program (or player). In the original game, you had the U.S., Russia, Europe, and Private Sector that you could play as. With the expansion, we now have the Chinese and their Taikonauts! Not only does this make the game playable with a larger group, it adds more theme to the game as China was the third country to put astronauts in space.Second, you will now have achievements which can be completed and range in difficulty from having two of one type of card in your agency to using two immediate actions in one round. With only five available each game, you will now have to focus on completing specific tasks while still building the best space program. However, you will have to complete these tasks more quickly than your opponents or you will risk not scoring any points for them at all.The third big change is an influx of new cards added to the universe. We now get to see famous people such as Alan Shepard, Jeff Bezos, Yang Liwei, and Vladimir Komarov. There is technology such as Mir, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Falcon 9.There's also some fun breakthroughs like a Martian Colony and Landing on Venus. These cards expand the deck of cards dramatically and add so much more theme to the game that you can taste it!The last and biggest change related to the game is the introduction of Scenarios! There are currently three Scenarios (with the potential for more in the form of Stretch Goals) that make the game so much more awesome. The Scenario I tried was called The Dawn of an Era. In this scenario, countries are at the start of the space race (Appropriate!) and are competing in a technological arms race to establish supremacy. This means that you won't be playing breakt[...]

Review: Millennium Blades:: Gaming With Swag Review: Millennium Blades

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 23:30:40 +0000

by gamingwithswagchris This Review was originally published at Gaming With Swag here: Type – Economic Card GameNumber of Players – 2 – 5Mechanics – Set Collection, Drafting, NegotiationDifficulty – MediumRelease – 2016Publisher – Level 99MSRP - $80Introduction/OverviewHAHA! By opening this article you've activated my TRAP CARD (what did you think the title was lying?)! What's that you say? You'll counter it with your Discerning Reading Spell!?! Hmmmmmmm this is quite the predicament I've gotten into. If I summon my Molten Clickbait Beast they may just flee the site forever. Wait, I know what to do! If I lure them in with my Exciting Premise Blue-Eyed Ultimate Dragon Card then there's no chance they won't read this review!GameplayMillennium Blades is a collectible card game tournament simulator. Now I know that description alone might turn some people off but this is one of the most unique, smoothest running games I've played in a while.Each game consists of 6 alternating rounds of deck building and tournament play. You score points based on collections you've sold and tournaments you've won. Playing two players the winner is simply the first person to win 2 tournament rounds.Each deck building phase is is split into 3 timed sub-rounds with players getting 6 “booster packs”, represented in the abstract by the cards in the game, at the start of each sub-round. During these rounds players can buy more booster packs, buy and sell cards on the aftermarket, trade with other players or to the bank for promos, and arrange their cards into one “deck” and collections based on cards of the same type. The coolest thing about this is that there is no turn order during deck building! Player just wheel and deal freely until the timer runs out. At the end of the phase they trade collections to the bank for points, grab the 8 cards they put in their deck, and flip the player board over for the tournament round.During the tournament round players take turns where they place a card from their hand to score ranking points. After all players have played 6 cards they rank themselves based on points and score victory points based on their ranking. Most of the card abilities involve giving points based on various conditions in a players tableau. For example a card may give you points if there are no cards with a higher cost or give you points for every other fire card you play.Both rounds of the game flow very smoothly and feel quite cohesive, even though each of the two types of round are very different. The game play is also very intuitive and makes sense as soon as you start playing.Rule bookThe rules are very well written and easy to follow. They flow nicely and don't read like a technical manual. In addition they have the three things I always want to see in a rule book, examples with pictures, a FAQ, and an index. It also includes a very variants ru[...]

Review: Queendomino:: Will the Queen beat the King? - The Board Game Family review

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:44:41 +0000

by TheBoardGameFamily A few months ago we reviewed the award-winning board game Kingdomino from Blue Orange Games. We also gave it a hearty recommendation for families everywhere.It’s a colorful tile-laying game that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.Of course, the Queen can’t let the King have all the fun. So Blue Orange Game recently released a wonderful companion game – Queendomino!While Queendomino isn’t an expansion to Kingdomino, both games can be joined together to create even larger kingdoms or play with more players. But that’s just an extra bonus.Queendomino is a stand-alone game that gets big thumbs up in its own right.And we’re happy to show you why. How to play QueendominoThe main objective of Queendomino is similar to Kingdomino – players use terrain tiles to build their kingdom and score the most points.And the main flow of play is also similar to Kingdomino – players choose terrain tiles based on their pawn position and then add them to their kingdom. The tile placement rules are also the same between the two games.With the same objective and flow of play, you may think the games are exactly the same. But you’d be wrong.Queendomino takes these basic ideas from Kingdomino and ups the ante by throwing in more strategy due to a new terrain type, towers, knights, money, a Queen, and a Dragon!So rather than cover the main tile selection and placement flow, we’re going to focus on the new elements that create a new game experience.(If you’d like a quick rundown on the game flow, jump over to our review of Kingdomino.) New Terrain Type – Towns (& Buildings)The new terrain type on the Queendomino tiles is an orange Town type.Before the game begins, players set out the Builders board with the random stack of Building tiles. There are 6 spaces for Buildings that can be purchased. The purchase costs are designated on the Builders board below each tile space.After a player places a tile in their Kingdom, they may purchase a Building from the Builders board as long as they have a vacant Town space in their Kingdom (whether added during this turn or a previous one).The player pays the bank the amount shown on the board and collects items (knights, towers, or both) indicated in the upper left corner of the Building tile. Then the player places the Building (orange side up) in a Town space in their Kingdom.If the resource on the tile was a Tower, the player takes the indicated amount from the supply and places the Towers on that Building.As soon as a player has acquired the most Towers in their kingdom, the Queen figure comes to their Kingdom. While a player has the Queen visiting, they can purchase Buildings for 1 Coin less. Also, the Kingdom where the Queen is hanging out at the end of the game gets to place her on their most expansive territory – where she counts as an extra Crown.If the resource on the tile was a Knight, the player takes the indicated amount [...]

Review: Dice Forge:: Customizing your dice rocks! - The Board Game Family review

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:44:28 +0000

by TheBoardGameFamily A couple years ago we played a board game called Rattlebones where players evolved their dice during the game. Players start with standard six-sided dice and throughout the course of the game they remove sides and replace them with other sides that let them do different things.Changing the face of their dice was a very cool feature. However, we found the game bland because it’s just a roll-and-move game where players roll their dice and move continually around a loop.We wished the game would have been as exciting as the customizing dice feature was.We’re happy to report that there’s now a game that uses that dice-changing feature and delivers what we were hoping for – Dice Forge!Dice Forge has players customizing their dice throughout the game to make them more powerful as they compete to gain the most Glory points.But it’s not all about the Glory points.Players gain Gold, Sun Shards, Moon Shards, and Heroic Feat cards to increase their powers and influence their outcomes.There are many reasons why we’ve had a blast playing Dice Forge by Asmodee. But we better not get ahead of ourselves. First, we’ll give a quick rundown of the game play. How to play Dice ForgeThe premise in a game of Dice Forge is that players are heroes competing to gain the most glory. So the objective is obvious – gain the most Glory Points to win the game.Players can gain Glory Points in a number of ways. But most of their points will come from the cards they purchase during the game using Gold, Sun Shards, and Moon Shards.Each player gets their own player board where they track all of their resources (Gold, Shards, and Glory) as well as 2 customizable dice to begin the game. They also place their pawn on the starting portal on the Island board.Players then set out the Island board and Heroic Feat cards.The Island board folds out and is placed next to the game box. The cards are placed in their respective locations around the island forming stacks of identical cards. It’s easy to know where each set of cards goes because they’re placed in ascending order by cost and their artwork matches with the Island board locations.The board of die faces is placed inside the box and is referred to as the Sanctuary.The first time playing the game, it’s recommended to use certain Heroic Feat cards. In subsequent games, players can swap out Heroic Feat card sets with alternative cards.Once the starting player is determined, players set their starting Gold reserve on their player boards. Unlike other games where players besides the starting player get a starting bonus, it’s reversed in Dice Forge. The first player gets 3 Gold, player 2 gets 2 Gold, player 3 gets 1, and player 4 gets 0 starting Gold.Then players are ready to begin. Player TurnsDice Forge is played over a series of rounds where each player gets a turn being the Active Player. And each turn consists of[...]

Review: Between Two Cities: Capitals:: It's a good thing we've got Capitals - The Board Game Family review

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:44:20 +0000

by TheBoardGameFamily One of our favorite tile-laying games in the last few years has been Between Two Cities by Stonemaier Games.There are a number of reasons why it’s such a great family board game.It’s easy to learn, quick to play, requires coordination with your neighboring players, and allows up to 7 players to join in the fun. And one of the best elements of the game is that it’s simultaneous play rather than taking turns. So everyone is engaged the whole game rather than waiting for others to take their turns.So when Stonemaier Games published an expansion for Between Two Cities earlier this year, I immediately put it on my “must play” list.Does Between Two Cities: Capitals live up to my high hopes? Let’s find out. How to Play Between Two Cities: CapitalsSince the basic game play and flow are unchanged from the base game, here I’ll just dive into the new elements the Capitals expansion adds.There are 3 main additions to the game with the Capitals expansion: Landscape Mats, Civic Tiles, and Districts. LANDSCAPE MATSThe first thing players will notice in the Capitals expansion are the Landscape Mats. That’s because they’re unlike anything else in the game.They’re cardstock mats that have different scenes covering a 3×3 area. Five of the 9 areas in the landscape tile can not be built on and represent a natural feature within the city limits – like rivers, lakes, mountains, and such.Each landscape layout is unique and creates a fun added challenge to constructing valuable cities.When setting up the game, each city between the players will randomly be given a landscape mat. Players can build around this feature however, they’d like as long as the entire landscape feature remains within the finished 5×5 city grid at the end of the game.The landscapes also include bridges over the natural features that represent those areas being adjacent for placement and scoring purposes.The first tile placement of the game in each city must be on one of the empty spaces of the Landscape Mat. CIVIC TILESThe Capitals expansion includes 21 new building tiles that are referred to as Civic Buildings. Since this is a new type of building, the game also includes new player aid / reference cards that incorporate this new type of building for scoring.The Civic building tiles are mixed in with the regular building tiles of the game and are distributed just like all building tiles.Since the layout size of each city is increased from the base game, in rounds 1 and 3, players draw 9 building tiles at the start of the round instead of 7.Just like other buildings, Civic buildings are also scored at the end of the game.Each Civic building tile shows 2 positive tile types and 1 negative tile type when placed adjacent to it. These combinations are different for every Civic building. So players need to pay careful attention in their placement cho[...]

Review: Magic Maze:: Ronny reviews... Magic Maze

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:43:56 +0000

by ronjake11 Hey guys, I'm Ronny from Co-op Board Games. You can also see this review here, which includes some pictures of the game.GAMEPLAYTo begin a game of Magic Maze, all players will get a tile that will tell them the actions they can take throughout the game. The tiles will have arrows telling players where they can move the characters, and most will also have a special action.Your goal is to get all four characters to their special equipment spaces, then get them out of the mall through the exits. All of the characters will begin the game on the starting tile and you will expose more tiles as the game progresses.Once the sand timer is flipped, everyone will work simultaneously to move the characters around the mall, but no one can talk. The only way you can communicate is by placing (or tapping) the large pawn in front of the person who you think needs to take the next action.The tiles you’ll be moving around will have icons on them that tell you how you can interact with them. Each Explore icon will allow the person who has the Explore action to add a new tile, revealing even more icons that you can interact with. The person with the Vortex action can move characters to any of the vortexes around the mall. The last action that you might have is the Escalator action, which allows you to simply move a character up or down an escalator.If you see that time is running low, you can work as a team to move one of the characters to a Sand Timer icon. This allows you to flip the sand timer over and talk to each other until someone takes the next action. After activating a Sand Timer space, you’ll place an Out of Order marker on it, meaning you’ll have to find and use another space for that action if you’re running out of time later in the game.After you’ve gotten past the first three scenarios, character-specific special abilities will be introduced. The Dwarf will be able to pass through small passages that no one else can; the Elf allows players to talk when he explores; the Mage can add two new tiles anywhere in the mall; and the Barbarian is able to turn off security cameras, which are found on new tiles that you’ll use from Scenario 7 onward.In the first scenario, everyone will have to make it out of the same exit in order to win. In each subsequent scenario, characters will have to make it to their own exits, which are spread out around the mall. If you’re unable to help all of the characters get out of the mall before the time runs out, everyone loses.PROS• If your team doesn’t work well together, you won’t win. That’s what I want to say about all co-op games, but the reality is that it’s just not the case with a lot of them. You simply can’t pull off the victory on your own in this one, so (hopefully) each player will try to do their best with the job(s) they’re given.• I lik[...]

Review: Dark Moon: Shadow Corporation:: Dark Moon Rises Again (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:43:42 +0000

by The Innocent Dark Moon Rises Again Ever since its release two years ago, Dark Moon has ranked as one of my preferred traitor games. Between its in-your-face brand of manipulation and the grungy utility of its visuals, it offered an oppressively claustrophobic take on the classic tale of a crew torn apart by an invisible insider.Shadow Corporation is one of those expansions that might not seem necessary at first glance, especially because Dark Moon was as perfect as a curly-haired baby. But now that it’s here, I can’t fathom playing without it.As you might expect of an expansion, there are plenty of little additions in Shadow Corporation, the bells and whistles that give its box some heft and justify the price tag. New event cards, a couple extra characters, some cardboard tokens that nobody needed the first time around.But the best additions all fall into the same category. They make the game longer, harder, and nastier. They are, in effect, the hidden Weyland-Yutani representative aboard your Nostromo.The most visible tweak is a simple trio of yellow dice. These are rolled at the start of every single task, and nearly always make your mission tougher. It’s a small but crucial reminder that your space station’s parent company — the Noguchi Masaki Interplanetary Mining Corporation, for those who bother to read game fluff — is always there in the background, fiddling with the state of affairs even remotely.But that’s just a reminder, because the real danger is the one that lurks unseen: the company man living in your midst.There won’t always be a company man. Like the presence of an extra infected player, it isn’t a done thing. Maybe one in four games will contain one of these soulless bastards — just often enough that you have to keep the possibility in mind, but rare enough that you can’t ever be sure. Unlike the infected, his job isn’t to scuttle the station’s survival. It’s to secure a sample of the infected, by one dark method or another.In the original Dark Moon, there was only really one way for an uninfected human player to win. By figuring out who their real teammates were, they could fight the decay of the station and eventually accomplish their shared final mission. By contrast, in Shadow Corporation success is a multi-step process with two very divergent possible outcomes.First, a crewman must appease the threat made on their loved ones by the company. This is basically a one-time personal task that must be accomplished sometime in the midgame. There are only four options, ranging from wasting all your dice on a maintenance task to revealing your identity to someone, at which point you’ll be free of the company’s influence, and no, the game doesn’t bother to explain why the company doesn’t just blackmail you into securing a sample of the[...]

Review: Alien Artifacts:: Deep Space 51 (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:43:30 +0000

by The Innocent Deep Space 51Portal Games has a thing for tableau building games that occupy three rows. See 51st State, Imperial Settlers, and the other 51st State, all of which were largely defined by how much your economic engine snowballed. If the last round wasn’t ten times longer and slower than the first one, you probably hadn’t adequately snowballed.At this point, Portal delivering another three-row tableau-builder might feel a smidgen like those games that reappear after a Cthulhu retheme. Slap tentacles on the cards, change some keywords — the draw pile is now Miskatonic University or whatever — and there you have it. No need to come up with new ideas when people will gratefully snap up the latest mind-numbing coat of paint, fumes and all. 51st State in space.But in spite of appearances, Alien Artifacts isn’t just another three-row tableau-builder. Sure, cards are aligned across three rows, and sure, it’s about assembling a tableau. While it wasn’t designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek, co-designers Marcin Ropka and Viola Kijowska could have fooled me, right down to the factions with ever-so-slightly different advantages. But that’s where the similarities stop and Alien Artifacts steps out from under the shadow of its predecessors. And the most radical aspect of its reinvention? It melts snowballs.It’s impossible to understand Alien Artifacts without first understanding its resource cards. These are the game’s heart and soul. Also its timer, currency, sound barrier, and everything from combat system to planetary strip-mining.In essence, each resource card offers two flavors of currency, whether the wintergreen gum commercial blue of science, the angry red of war, the verdant green of colonization, or the wild yellow of, um, wildcards. Nearly every action will require you to match a bunch of these resources. Colonizing a planet, for instance, takes five greens, plus one more for every planet you’ve already conquered. The same goes for science and ship-building, but with blues and reds. Trade, which provides credits for buying cards, requires any matching set of resources. Going to war or mining your planets takes five of a particular color, but without letting those yellow wildcards pitch in.So things get more expensive as the game progresses. Your first card, no matter how worthless or awesome, will cost five greens, while your tenth planet will cost a staggering fourteen, at least in theory. But your tiny hand size of three resource cards isn’t the only limiting factor, especially since planets eventually spit out extras for you to use. Instead, in the game’s most abstract notion — I guarantee somebody in your group will struggle with this — you’re also limited by an “assembly limit.” In practice, this means that you can[...]

Review: Sonar:: Swabber Sonar (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:43:18 +0000

by The Innocent Swabber Sonar There were precisely two problems with last year’s firecracker-in-a-tin-can Captain Sonar. One, it benefited from a crew of at least six people to staff its dueling submarines, and was further improved by a full complement of eight. And two, it was the direct opposite of a good meditation session. It could get so hairy it was almost a cure for balding.Sonar — sans the Captain — is Matagot’s gesture of reconciliation toward those who suffered post-traumatic stress as a result of their time at the scope, helm, engine room, and torpedo tube. In theory, it’s the same grand sub-hunting action, but for two or four players and at a much more relaxed pace. The question, then, is whether Sonar represents a dry-erase The Hunt for Red October — or is it more akin to Down Periscope?For veterans of Captain Sonar, this will be easier if you set aside everything you know. The multiple stations with their interlocking demands, the sense of suffocating panic as your reactor started melting down, even the terror of staying surfaced too long. All gone.Sonar is still about dueling submarines. Both sides are still divided by a pleasantly expansive screen, and everyone will be making dry-erase marks on dry-erase mats. And killing your opponent is still as simple as blasting them with a torpedo. This is simpler than ever, actually, but we’ll get to that in a moment.There are two stations per side in Sonar, and careful coordination between both is instrumental to any submarine’s continued survival. The captain’s task is to steer the thing, avoiding islands and trying to confuse their pursuer. Every move will charge up a pip of energy, which can eventually be spent to do something with your turn other than steering around the depths. Launching a torpedo, for instance, costs all four pips, while sonar — which forces the enemy sub to announce either their row or column — costs two, and silence charges three for the honor of moving a single space without announcing it out loud.Ah yes, that bit. Out loud. While both captains are steering their underwater boats, the radio operator is charting their rival’s moves on a sheet of plastic and sliding it back and forth across their map of the ocean in order to hone in on a target. When the captain decides it’s time to do something other than tootle along from one reef to another, they will consult the radio operator’s chart, make some tutting noises, and then do what they feel is best anyway, since they’re the ones managing the energy and the sub’s position and, well, everything really.It’s a tad ironic that these roles should feel so unequal, especially since one of the most-repeated criticisms of Captain Sonar was that its four stations were vastly diff[...]

Review: Flip Ships:: Flipping Flips (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:43:08 +0000

by The Innocent Flipping FlipsKane Klenko showed that he knew what he was doing with last year’s FUSE, a game that saw its players disarming bombs in real-time by matching dice and occasionally balancing them in precarious towers. It wasn’t necessarily deep, but it produced a thick cloud of tension and banged some pot lids in your ears. By the end of its countdown, even failure was a relief. More so if you had that annoying app braying in your ears.Even though they couldn’t be more different, Flip Ships reveals Klenko doing what he does best. Like FUSE before it, Flip Ships takes a single idea and blitzes merrily past the point where any other designer might have been content to wrap the thing into a minigame box and be done with it. Here, the idea is that just maybe the best way to defend against a Space Invaders scenario would be to launch your starfighters so that they spin like one of those barfy amusement park rides, right before rolling off the table and beneath the couch. As in, it’s the plan you resort to after everything else has failed.It’s a dexterity game. Obviously. Naming a game Flip Ships and not including components that must be flung from one point to another constitute a cardboard heresy, punishable by paper cut. It would be like calling your new game Deck Builder but not letting players buy lumber, nails, and varnish at the local Renaissance Faire. However, lest you try to get away with thinking this is your regular dexterity game, Flip Ships puts its best — and most infuriating — feature right there in the title.These ships are gonna be flipped.I mean that literally. Not pushed, not flicked, and certainly not thrown like some chimpanzee tossing its feces. Flipped. From the edge of the table, right into those rows of aliens and their flexible tubular probosces. If it doesn’t flip end over end, it wasn’t a flip.This being a game by Kane Klenko, there are naturally some twists that keep the proceedings from being nothing but a bunch of directionless disc-flipping. For one thing, you have two objectives. The first is those alien ships, which must be smashed out of the sky. And the second is the mothership, essentially a shoe box that’s plopped down at the opposite end of the arena. Landing ships in this hulking monstrosity is a huge feat, but it’s necessary to take down the big bad before it wipes you out.Crucially, though, the biggest shock is that the game manages to feel almost tactical. Rather than simply making you flip your ships at those cards and mothership, you’re constantly gauging the abilities of your ships against all those little alien mooks. Each player gets their own set of three “classes” of ships, and as the aliens deal more damage to the city,[...]

Review: Charterstone:: Charterstone - A Randomgame Review

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:43:00 +0000

by Wolle_Petterson Charterstone - A Randomgame ReviewOur gaming group is playing a random game from our collection every other week, which we maybe bought as kids or got as a present and hardly played before. This time it is different. This game is new. This game is not at all a random choice, but a careful consideration to buy something unique for me and my significant other. And later maybe also (the codeword is "recharge pack") for my gaming group.This is the review for "Charterstone", after the end of the campaign, but not having played a follow-up non-campaign game yet.Minor spoiler alert: imho it almost impossible to review this game without revealing a few secrets. I try to stay as vague as possible and won't talk about specific cards or events. But there are some mechanisms which may unveil a little what lies ahead.ObjectiveThe king has sent you and your friends on a journey to a greenfield to build a new village. Every player is the owner of one charter in this village. During the course of the campaign you construct buildings, explore new technologies, collect items and meet new allies.While doing that, you collect victory points for your activities. The player with the most VP wins a game. But the overall campaign has very different aspects of scoring, so you try to find the balance between winning a single game and collecting sustainable points for the overall campaign.Conclusion: the premise is interesting. A campaign based worker placement game with VP and "campaign points" which is competitive and builds a unique village during the course of the campaign? Sounds exciting!Game contents1 two-sided board – I really like the art. The size also seems ideal and the idea that you can play a second campaign (after buying a "recharge pack") on the back is neat. At the beginning the village is very empty, but you can see what lies ahead. lots of cards – the artwork overall is coherent and gorgeous. Even evil cards look sweet. The thematic fit (which effect has a card, how is that illustrated and how does that relate to "the real world") is above average for a worker placement game.lots of boxes - boxing and unboxing things is an integral part of the preparation and wrap-up of each game. And sometimes you also open legacy-related boxes. If you don't like boxes, this is not a game for you ;-)lots of wooden pawns – all different types of items are differently shaped, colored and resemble things from the real world. It's not just "red cubes", it IS the items you want to acquire. There is just one exception to that, one mechanism where cubes just seem to be cubes.lots of other material – some common (e.g. coins, cardboard, stickers) and a few suprises. And one thing I h[...]

Review: Hemloch: Dark Promenade:: Swallowing Hemloch (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:42:48 +0000

by The Innocent Swallowing HemlochHere we are at last, taking a look at the final installment of John Clowdus’s second-latest trilogy of Small Box Games games. This time it’s Hemloch: Dark Promenade, and it’s by far the most interesting of the three.The first and last thing you’ll see in Hemloch: Dark Promenade is the city itself, a trim three-by-three grid of twisted city blocks, all Boneyards and Alley Mazes and sparkling Courtyards, just begging to be seized by your shadowy household. It’s a game of control, as the games of Clowdus’s Hemloch setting have always been, though with the essential distinction that control is a matter of perspective.Literally, in this case. Both households are bent on gobbling up as many of the city’s districts and artifacts as possible, but both are coming at the project from an entirely different direction. As in, while both sides are all about sending minions to influence the city districts and hopefully swing them onto their side, one household is influencing rows while the other manipulates columns. It’s the same puzzle of interlocking demands, but solvable from two divergent angles. And crucially, while you might be holding minions that would absolutely dominate in your opponent’s position, you’ll have to get clever to put them to good use from your side of things.The minion cards are a clear highlight, as they’re the goons who’ll be propelling your household to prominence or poverty. Each of them sports a fairly wide range of abilities. First up they have an influence value, which they can add to any location in their avenue. But most of them also have a bonus, things like the Cutthroat being worth a bit extra if deployed to the cramped Alley Mazes, or the Gravedigger breaking any ties in the Boneyards. If that wasn’t enough, there are also plenty of abilities to leverage. Some minions force your opponent to lose a particular district, some reclaim them from the “outskirts” — a discard pile for bad neighborhoods, essentially — while others steal minions or artifacts, swell your hand, or even rearrange the city itself. Many of the best abilities are conditional, requiring you to play a minion to an avenue with the right type of district, which occasionally forces you to sacrifice a card to a lane where it will only add its influence or trigger an ability.It’s also very, very mean. Not always, mind you. Often, it’s possible to go an entire in-game week without realizing that your rival household is doing anything other than adding influence to all those city cards. Then they’ll plop down an Acolyte and steal the card that was the linchpin of your strategy, or have an Alchemist [...]

Review: Seii Daimyo:: Daimyo Seii, Daimyo Do (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:42:41 +0000

by The Innocent Daimyo Seii, Daimyo DoAnother day, another Small Box Game by John Clowdus. This time it’s Seii Daimyo, where much like every other game about Feudal Japan, your goal is to unite the country’s warring clans under a single Shogun.Fortunately, the execution is more interesting than the setup.The big reason I keep taking a chance on John Clowdus’s designs has nothing to do with any particular love for small-format games. If anything, I often think we over-value short games. There’s nothing wrong with a game announcing its intent to kick off its boots and stick around for a good three or four or five hours, so long as it’s going to be a solid conversationalist while it’s hogging my table.The thing about Small Box Games, though, is that Clowdus isn’t so much reinventing the wheel as taking the same pieces and rearranging them in surprising ways. Multi-use cards are often the hub, tug-of-war mechanisms the spokes, and recycled settings the — I don’t know, wagon wheels don’t have all that many parts. The hub flange, maybe? Add a pinch of direct confrontation and, baby, you’ve got yourself a chuckwagon stew going.Seii Daimyo prominently features some very familiar elements, mostly in the form of its clan cards and location cards, which means roughly eighty-five percent of the cards could almost pass for belonging to one of Clowdus’s other games. The first ones are the guys you can play for their abilities or into your army to maybe capture extra fortresses, while locations are the spots you’re hoping to capture — with the risk that their real estate values can either skyrocket or plummet depending on whether they’ve been put to the torch or fortified.Of course, familiarity doesn’t mean this wheel doesn’t roll with the best of them. If anything, it rolls. Choosing whether to hold onto a card for later or burn it for an immediate benefit is as compelling as ever, especially since by this point in his career, Clowdus knows how to give his cards teeth. It’s even possible to largely ignore the big army-building stuff in favor of a flurry of swift strikes, taking and fortifying locations before the end-of-round battle even starts.But the central feature of Seii Daimyo is one I haven’t even mentioned, and it elevates the whole package with some very light — but very crucial — role management. At the start of each turn, your strategy is determined by selecting one of two roles, whether the location-capturing Samurai or the card-playing Ashigaru. The trick is that both of them grow more powerful as more of your opponents choose the other role. For example, picking the Ashigaru when ther[...]

Review: Cartouche Dynasties:: Not Sure What a Cartouche Has to Do With It (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:42:30 +0000

by The Innocent Another year, another trio of small box games from small box games king John Clowdus, proprietor of Small Box Games. Except this time I’m so far behind that he has some other games out, which pretty much makes me a filthy truant, and—Deep breath. One thing at a time. First up, Cartouche Dynasties. This is a single-deck ditty about building a kingdom in Ancient Egypt. It has nothing to do with either cartouches or dynasties.Now let’s uncover what else it’s been lying about.Much like every other game about Ancient Egypt, Cartouche Dynasties revolves around appeasing the gods in order to reap some material benefit. It’s an idea so old that it doesn’t even count as tired. Dusty, maybe. Desiccated, mummified, its brain ripped free of its cranium through its nasal cavity.Both players want to found the coolest kingdom, that goes without saying. Laid out between them are four stacks of cards, layered like four cobb salads of followers, scarabs, structures, and statues, each with their own benefits and means of scoring. As has been one of John Clowdus’s hallmarks since the dawn of time, each of these cards can be used in a few different ways. The main division is that everything is worth something in your kingdom, but likely worth more in your pile of scrolls — though scrolls won’t sit around generating ongoing benefits. For example, an obelisk will be worth two points as a scroll, but one point for every follower if it’s built physically rather than on papyrus. Striking the right balance between all those different scoring options, combo opportunities, and complementary card types is what will set apart the kingdoms housing the pyramids of Giza from the ones in Meroë.Where Cartouche Dynasties comes to life, though, is through the way you gather and play all of these kingdom cards by supplicating the gods of Egypt. There are six of these animal-headed deities, and each round sees four of them drawn at random and alternately deployed to those four stacks of kingdom cards. Placing a god blocks that stack from being selected again until next round, but lets you activate one of its two abilities. For the most part each god’s two abilities are identical — one lets you take a card and the other lets you play something into your kingdom — but every god offers their own twist, like Sobek sending cards directly into your scrolls pile or Anubis letting you draw double cards but from the bottom of his chosen deck.The trick is that even these gods are something you can eventually grow more familiar with. Not just in terms of understanding how to make the most of their abilitie[...]

Review: Azul:: Azul (Brandon Kempf)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:39:36 +0000

by Vacabck This review originally appeared on the WDYPTW website, you can find this review and many more at www.wdyptw.comAzulDesigned by Michael KieslingArt by Philippe Guérin & Chris QuilliamsPublished by Plan B GamesAzulejo is a form of Spanish and Portuguese painted ceramic tilework. They can be found inside Churches, Palaces, Schools and just about anywhere nowadays. They were originally brought to Portugal in the 15th Century by King Manuel after he visited Seville. He returned and decorated the Sintra National Palace with Azulejo tiles. Azul, from Plan B Games, tile drafting, tile placement game in which you are competing against the other players to get your tiles placed in the Royal Palace of Evora, in the most pleasing way that will score you the most points. Factory and 4 tilesSetup for Azul is super simple. you figure out how many of you are playing and you put the correct number of coaster like Factories out on the table. Then, make sure all of your tiles are in the beautiful drawbag and you draw and place four tiles on each Factory. Everyone gets a player board and sits it in front of them and a small cube for your score marker that goes on the 0 at the start of your scoring track on your player board. Place the 1st player marker in the middle of all of the Factories and you are now ready to do some tiling.Two tiles in a Pattern RowOn your turn you will do two things. You will take all of one color from one of the Factories on the table and the rest of the tiles that remain on that Factory will go to the middle of the table between all of the other Factories. You then will take your tiles that you drafted and you will pick a row on the left hand side of your board and you will place them there, filling up the blank spaces on the appropriate row. Note, you can only place tiles that you have taken on one row. If you have more tiles of a color than spaces on a row, those extra tiles will go to the Floor Line on the bottom of your board and will score you negative points at the end of the round. Sooner or later, someone is going to want some tiles that are in the center, or that first player marker, when they decide that, they just simply take all the tiles of the same color as before. If you are the first person to take from the center of the table, you will also take the First Player marker and it will go straight to your Floor Line. Play goes this way until all of the tiles are taken by the players, you will then proceed to the Wall Tiling phase. Let's move some Tiles over to the wallWall Tiling is all about moving your completed rows of tiles over to the w[...]

Review: Crossfire:: The Other Other Crossfire (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:39:03 +0000

by The Innocent The Other Other CrossfireAh, yes, those social deduction dollars. Even a company like Plaid Hat cannot resist their allure.Crossfire — and we aren’t talking about that silly 1970s ultimate challenge commercial, nor the Shadowrun game — is the sort of title that’s going to have to justify its seat at the high table, especially now that higher-profile offerings like Secrets have wet their pants in public. Social deduction is tough, and for a genre about pulling the wool over your friends’ eyes, it seems there’s not much chance of fooling players into embracing a lesser option.But here’s the weird thing. For a game that doesn’t even seem like it even wants to succeed, I’m actually a tiny bit enamored with this one.Like ripping off a band-aid — one of those foreign knockoffs that stays locked to your flesh like a super-glued tourniquet — let’s get the worst out of the way right up front. Crossfire’s setup is irritating, weird, and sort of off-putting.You’re given a card, right? Your identity. Your team. Your goal. Maybe you’re gunning for the VIP of an evil corporation. Or maybe the opposite is true and you’re trying to kill the VIP’s would-be killer. Or maybe you’re just a bystander hoping to avoid getting shot. No problem. You’ve done this before.Well, take a good look at that card, because you aren’t going to keep it for long. Now pass it to the left. Check your new card. Now every third player starting with the dealer, take the cards from your adjacent players, shuffle ’em up, and redistribute. What you’re holding now is your final identity. Got it?There’s no eye-closing, no identifying teammates, no Citizens of the Weimar Republic, wake up! If social deduction were an organized religion, Crossfire would be an iconoclast.The result is very different from what we’ve come to expect from our social deduction games. Everyone in that circle — you don’t even need a table, so minimal are Crossfire’s components — is holding a few scraps of the larger conspiracy. You know the general location of maybe three roles. Beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess who to trust.And that’s when the timer gets flipped.There has always been an irony to social deduction, in that they present a very immediate problem — a werewolf is terrorizing our village! someone has stolen the Godfather’s diamonds! this Hitler punk is trying to become chancellor! — only to spin into long-winded discussions of identity and suspicion. That’s more feature than bug, of course, but a forty-minute session of acc[...]

Review: 878: Vikings – Invasions of England:: More Than 878 Vikings (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:39:02 +0000

by The Innocent More Than 878 VikingsThere’s something insecure about the title of 878: Vikings — Invasions of England, as though the creators weren’t sure they’d sufficiently clarified their intent. It’s set in the year 878, check. Also there are Vikings, sure. And they’re invading England, right. The only missing elements are motive, opportunity, and outcome.Clunky title aside, 878: Vikings is a successor to Academy Games’ Birth of America series, which featured the rather-good 1775: Rebellion. And for the most part, it’s as fun as being on the pitching side of a monastery raid.One of the cleverest ideas rattling around this game’s not-horned helmet — and this applied to 1775: Rebellion as well — is that it pitches each side as a combination of forces that must cooperate if they hope to overcome their mutual enemies. It’s a team game, one where each side boasts slightly different strengths and weaknesses. The Vikings, for instance, field a combination of Norse warriors — hardy and numerous, but still prone to fleeing from a fight — and Berserkers, who never run and inflict casualties with ease, but are guaranteed to absorb the first hit in any given battle, which quickly depletes their numbers. And in the English camp sit the Housecarl and Thegn, one of which is tougher than the other, though not by much.There’s a veiled criticism there, and it applies to much of what follows when you spread that map of England over the table. 878: Vikings encourages cooperation in subtle and important ways, and boasts a slick battle system and plenty of solid decisions, but it’s also a game where one side feels distinctly more interesting than the other.But we’ll get to that in a minute. For now, it’s important to note that the raw gameplay has been honed over multiple iterations. Players can only move armies if they’ve got one of their units mixed in, and can only contribute so many dice, and both of these details encourage allied players to assemble mixed-group armies. Even better, it’s possible to give armies multiple commands per round — one per player — provided you’ve set them up properly. It’s a straightforward system, but also one that encourages a heavy dose of cooperation. A huge stack of Berserkers might look imposing, but it’ll be half as fast, only roll the two red Berserker dice, and won’t be as likely to benefit from its Norse companion’s event cards.From that foundation, 878: Vikings stages a compelling back-and-forth between England’s defenders and invaders as[...]

Review: Fate of the Elder Gods:: Fate of the Public Domain Monsters (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:39:02 +0000

by The Innocent Fate of the Public Domain MonstersWhen it comes to board game settings, I’m about as energized by the appearance of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu as by anything featuring zombies — as in, yeah, they’re overdone, but at least they’re easy to design around. Just as zombies provide baked-in behavior (walk and bite, walk and bite), the presence of Cthulhu & Co. means you know what you’re getting yourself into. Hooded cultists, the coastal hamlets of New England, encroaching madness, and the Arkham that isn’t associated with Batman. It’s thematic shorthand for “watch your health and sanity meters.”It might be possible to say that Fate of the Elder Gods does the setting a service by letting you don the robes of the cultists themselves as you strive to summon your chosen mind-flaying monster, but it’s hardly the first to do so. Instead, we’ll have to settle for celebrating the fact that it’s a surprisingly good screw-your-buddies affair.The first thing you’re likely to notice when laying Fate of the Elder Gods across the table is the board itself. Arrayed like an old-timey wagon wheel, with an abyss of dead cultists at its hub and various locations situated between the spokes, it’s certainly the attention-grabber. It isn’t the game’s chthonian heart, however. That honor is reserved for the unassuming deck of spell cards, one of five colors on their backside and one of many dozens of powers on their front. These are the buggers that will determine where you move, the powers you and your rival cults can access, and ultimately the ways you’ll break the rules in your favor.Not that the board isn’t critical. Each turn sees you interacting with a single space, gradually amassing the powers and cultists you need to summon your elder god. The primary target is usually the Other Worlds location, where cultists can be used as dice rolls to hopefully draw your elder god closer to the surface of reality. As you might expect of a place called “Other Worlds,” this spot is tricky to reach, often requiring a gate card procured at The Ceremony. Nicely, while some locations initially appear more useful than others — particularly the ability to bounce between The Ceremony, The Gathering, and Other Worlds in order to summon your elder god as quickly as possible — all of them offer compelling ways to get ahead. There’s the Museum for gathering artifacts, the Library for hoarding extra spell cards, and spots like the Streets of Arkham or The Gathering for siccin[...]

Review: Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62:: COIN Volume VII: Colonial Twilight (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:52:57 +0000

by The Innocent COIN Volume VII: Colonial TwilightWhether it’s tackling the Vietnam War, the Cuban Revolution, narco-terrorism in Colombia, or the shenanigans Julius Caesar pulled before attracting Shakespeare’s fancy, the COIN Series has never shied away from a hard topic. If anything, the French-Algerian War of 1954 to 1962 is a perfect fit for the series’ asymmetric take on insurgency warfare, casting players as either the French colonial government or the Front de Libération Nationale. Even better that it should be Brian Train’s second contribution after the quagmire simulator that was A Distant Plain.But the stickiness of its setting isn’t why COIN’s seventh volume comes as such a surprise. Rather, it’s because Colonial Twilight is the first entry to feature fewer than four sides — and for all its familiarity, the result is a game that breaks exciting new ground for the series.As Colonial Twilight’s play notes helpfully point out, David Galula was a French military officer who witnessed multiple lifetimes’ worth of insurgencies and counterinsurgencies, including the Algerian War. To say he wrote the book on the topic would only be inaccurate because he wrote two of them. In the process, he outlined four broad “laws” for conducting a counterinsurgency. You can find them easily enough elsewhere, but the gist comes down to the need to capture the attention of the populace — usually by appealing to a minority group in order to galvanize the neutral majority against another enemy minority — and to then maintain their loyalty through infrastructure, security, and long-term relationship-building.As a theory, Galula’s laws emphasized control of the populace over control of territory, and that’s Colonial Twilight in a nutshell — with the caveat that even the best-laid plans never survive contact with the enemy.The dynamic is simple enough. The French government is deeply invested in Algeria, having made it an official part of France over a hundred years earlier. They have large quantities of manpower, highly mobile special forces, and the resources to field both. The FLN, on the other hand, flourishes under cover of darkness, slinking across border checkpoints and establishing bases in mountain strongholds. Their soldiery isn’t as impressive or half as mobile as the Government’s, but they spend much of their time hidden from view, and must be effectively rooted out twice, once to reveal their location and again to actually wipe th[...]

Review: Leaving Earth: Stations:: What Spring Is Like on Jupiter and Mars (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:47:19 +0000

by The Innocent What Spring Is Like on Jupiter and MarsI’m a huge fan of Joseph Fatula’s Leaving Earth and its expansion Outer Planets. They’re messy in some ways, but that’s precisely why I like them — much like actual space exploration, they’re a cross between careful preparation and outrageous risk-taking, between brute-forcing the math and forgetting to take a heat shield on your trip to Venus. Back to the drawing board you go, again and again, until you get it right. Or somewhere closer to right than you were before, anyway.Leaving Earth’s second expansion, Stations, feels like a microcosm of the whole thing, and not just because it’s all about adding a ton of extra depth to the exploration of the inner planets. Rather, in between offering new toys, new objectives, and new wonders to uncover, it still can’t seem to shrug off its former messiness, and even seems insistent on adding a few new problems.First of all, the good. Because seriously, the good is good.The central delight of Leaving Earth has always been the way it mixes the known with the unknown. What I mean is that we know what’s up there, at least generally. You’ve got Mercury, Venus, our own Moon, and Mars. Beyond that, things get a little muddier, but we’ve got the broad model sketched out. My Very Educated Mother, and so forth. Just because you’re exploring the unknown doesn’t mean you don’t have a target. Space exploration has often been compared to the Age of Discovery, but at least in space you can see past the horizon.Phobos will always be there, is what I’m saying. Whether it’s a boring lump of rock or a hollowed-out alien installation, on the other hand, is what Leaving Earth left up to chance. Are there samples to be taken on the Moon, or is it an ocean of dust that will swallow up anything attempting to land on it? Is there life on Mars? Can you survive Venus’s crushing atmosphere? These are the questions that can’t be answered until you get someone crazy enough to strap themselves to a rocket, brave cosmic radiation and muscle atrophy and food that comes in toothpaste squeezers, and set foot onto alien soil. Or drown in it.Leaving Earth: Stations represents one giant leap for mankind in that regard. Instead of arriving at a planet and revealing everything it has to offer, exploration is now more gradual thanks to the addition of feature cards.Here’s a little bit of what I mean. Let’s say you land on the Moon and don’t[...]

Review: Downforce:: Jerkforce (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:46:22 +0000

by The Innocent JerkforceAt first glance, I gave Downforce a pass. After all, of Restoration Games’ opening catalog of refurbished games from times past, my interest was more piqued by Stop Thief! and Indulgence, in part because I’ve never been partial to racing games.I couldn’t have been more wrong. Downforce is not only the best of the three, it’s also hardly a racing game at all. Instead, it’s a game about being the biggest jerk on the track and coming away filthy rich.Firstly, of course there’s some racing in Downforce, though it’s very much unlike any racing game I’ve ever endured. Rather than focusing purely on speed, the danger of taking corners too briskly, and the sponsorship patches sewn onto your drivers’ jumpsuits, it’s all about bottlenecking. Put simply, your driver should burn gas until you’re in a tight corridor, then slam on the brakes and wait around until everybody else’s really good maneuvers have been used up, at which point you can start puttering along again. It’s the sort of racing everybody else seems to be doing whenever I go out for lunch.It helps that all those potential maneuvers are so deftly handled. Each turn, somebody slaps down a card showing multiple moves, then carries them out from top to bottom. Maybe they’ll move the blue car seven spaces, winding around obstacles and coming to a stop, then move the next car four spaces and the last one two spaces. It’s simple and efficient. Better yet, the fact that cars can only move as far as possible before they bumper-kiss the car in front of them transforms the entire game into a sort of puzzle to maximize your moves while depriving your opponent of theirs. Timing a card so that your cars spring forward while everybody else’s sputter in place is a thing of glory.And yes, I said “cars.” Because Downforce truly isn’t about racing. It’s about gambling.This is where Downforce roars to life. Each game opens with an auction to lay claim to all those cars, also handled by playing cards from your hand. But cars are more than just pretty colors, and come paired with a driver who bends the way they operate during the race. So there’s the driver who can ignore a rival’s move when she plays a card with enough colors, the one who can resolve their maneuver card in reverse order, and the dude who goes faster as long as he isn’t handling any turns.These abilities are the same from game to game, and whil[...]

Review: OK Play:: Tic Tac On-the-Go (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:45:58 +0000

by The Innocent Tic Tac On-the-GoOK Play isn’t the usual sort of thing I write about, but… um… All right, look, I don’t have an excuse. Deep down, all we’re doing in this hobby is playing with toys, and OK Play looked like it would be fun to play with. Not necessarily by following its rules, but just by clicking it around. It’s sixty little squares of plastic attached to four prongs that are connected to a carabiner. And yeah, it’s a lot of fun to goof around with. I basically use it like a stress ball or fidget spinner. Clickety clack clickety clack. 10/10.The rules of OK Play, on the other hand, might sound familiar. Each player gets fifteen squares, and on their turn they put one on the table while making sure it abuts another square along an edge. The goal is to connect five of your color in a row, including diagonally. The game’s pair of twists — though, spoiler warning, we’re really stretching the definition of “twist” — are that you can expand in any direction and that running out of your fifteen pieces means you’ll now be picking one up and relocating it each turn.And it’s fine. As you might expect, it’s can easily devolve into a sort of intro-to-philosophy game theory deadlock, wherein you and a friend move the same pieces back and forth until the only solution is to take the district attorney’s plea bargain and hope your buddy didn’t take it at the same time. It plays better with three or four people than with two, if only because it means there’s some strategy to purposefully not blocking an opponent’s successful line in order to force somebody else to waste their time on it.It isn’t devoid of brainpower, is what I’m saying, though it’s got smarts the way a potato is a clock battery.Then again, OK Play’s tiny size and carabiner do clearly out it as a travel game. It’s the sort of thing you toss into a tent trailer cupboard or squirrel away in the console in the car, ready to pull out and distract people for a few minutes. There are games I’d rather play in those moments — Hive springs to mind — but you really could do a lot worse than having this thing around. The fact that it’s good for four players isn’t a bad thing either.And as I said, I have it mostly for the clacking, and there’s very little substitute in that regard. My three-year-old loves it.This review was originally published at Space-Biff!, so if you [...]

Review: Sentient:: Do Androids Dream of Electric Algebra? (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 18:54:04 +0000

by The Innocent Do Androids Dream of Electric Algebra?Sentient is a bit of a weird one. By plugging robots into your mainframe — and doing your best to keep things orderly when their growing awareness starts to kick back — you hope to position your company at the forefront of the sentient revolution. It sounds like the first act of a robot uprising story, not a game designed around basic algebraic operations.It doesn’t help that the game’s setting is about as substantial as chalk dust. As a thought experiment, my gaming group redesigned the whole thing on the spot to be about trying to persuade our pal Geoff to do us a favor, wherein his mental states — things like “playing Angry Birds right now” and “has another question about the rules” — might begin to affect our collective mood. It worked just fine.But that’s where Sentient sets itself apart, because in spite of its insubstantial fluff and algebra-based gameplay — or perhaps thanks to it — it’s a surprisingly excellent filler.As I mentioned above, the goal of Sentient is to plug robots into your mainframe — represented by a row of five dice — and hopefully spit them out the other end as contributing members of society. That’s the easy part. It’s everything else that gets in the way.The first of many complicating factors is that your awakening robots aren’t likely to simply play along. Each one has something they want out of your dice, and it’s your job to provide the right values in order to earn their points, but each robot is also liable to alter one or both of their adjacent dice up or down when plugged in. String this fact between the four robots you’ll be slotting into your mainframe in a single round, and that’s a whole lot of potential change. Perhaps even more infuriating, robots must first be claimed by little trenchcoated agents, but their placement will also determine your contract bids at the end of the round. And since contracts are one of your primary earners once the game ends, we’re now up to three major things you need to consider every time you pick up a robot.It’s an insanely tricky system, and we haven’t even talked about the way each robot asks for different inputs. It’s entirely possible, for instance, to find a robot that would perfectly conform to two of your dice if it weren’t for the fact that it would also mess up those dic[...]

Review: A Handful of Stars:: A Few Acres of Stardust (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 18:53:52 +0000

by The Innocent A Few Acres of StardustMartin Wallace birthed a new subgenre with A Few Acres of Snow. Here was deck-building but tied to a map, every single location represented by a card. Seizing territory not only meant extra points and opportunities, but also more regions to administer, and your deck and hand could gradually choke on bureaucratic smoke that distracted from the conflict at hand. It was deviously clever. Also incomplete.Wallace’s Mythotopia sought to fix up the concept, broadening it from two to four players and sanding down some of the system’s rougher edges while giving others their due. It made for a good time, as far as I’m concerned, though still an experience where a single pulled thread might unravel the whole thing.Now Wallace is back with A Handful of Stars, the last in his trilogy of deck-building-on-a-map games. And as we’ve come to expect, there are some excellent ideas on display here — and a few that could have used some extra work.Right away, A Handful of Stars inflicts its players with a setup that sticks around like an unwelcome guest settling down on your couch for a long chat about politics. Habitable and uninhabitable planets are spaced across the board, certain lanes are blocked off with black holes, and then everybody’s starting planets are doled out, slowly found on the random map, and populated. In some ways, it feels like a presage of what’s to come, especially if this game had gone the same route as Mythotopia by struggling to reach a timely conclusion.Then, a miracle. Instead of plodding along, A Handful of Stars hits the hyperactive hyperdrive. Turns roll by quickly, propelled by the need to capture planets as quickly as possible, and soon you’ll be overseeing peacetime border tensions, outright war, and wild new technologies that mess with how both are conducted. It’s a race that actually feels like you’re expanding and conquering as fast as you can.It’s hard to describe just why this is without drawing a few too many comparisons to Mythotopia. Where that game had no time limit, A Handful of Stars is carefully regulated by its own ticking clock. Whenever somebody shuffles their draw pile, a little marker creeps one step closer toward the end of its track. Once it gets there, everybody’s only got one more turn. And that’s it. No fussing around with hitting a [...]

Review: Star Trek: Ascendancy – Ferengi Alliance:: Ascendancy: The Next Generation (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 18:53:38 +0000

by The Innocent Ascendancy: The Next GenerationStar Trek: Ascendancy was not only among my favorite games of 2016, but also one of its most unique for how defiantly (yeah, that’s a reference) it clung to the vision of Star Trek. It was sprawling and dangerous, complete with a burgeoning playtime and the possibility of player elimination. But it was also as sleek and streamlined as a Starfleet vessel, every single turn — nay, pretty much every move — cast as an episode of the original series, with planets and cultures and deadly space phenomenons popping onto the table. It was rife with political intrigue, border tensions, shaky alliances, and a futurist’s appreciation for technology.Well, buckle up — or don’t, because real Starfleet ships don’t have seat belts — because now that its first two expansions are out, Ascendancy is better than ever.Before we get into the particulars of Ascendancy’s two new races, it’s worth noting that their mere presence is precisely the hypospray the emergency medical holographic program ordered. One of the big reasons Ascendancy struggled to hit the table was its confinement to three players. The dynamics of its trade agreements and alliances prevented it from working with two, so three it remained, always an eternal struggle between the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans. Much of its politicking was likewise constrained, always two sides allied against whichever third was currently stretching for domination.Playing with four or five races changes everything. Now comes the era of bloc warfare, entire sides remaining loyal — or being persuaded to engage in a spot of treachery — based on the way the galaxy’s stellar cartography unfolds. There’s nothing quite like a critical cultural hotspot being plopped in the middle of three warring superpowers, or using a phenomenon-riddled backdoor into a former ally’s soft underbelly. It’s easier than ever to be persuaded to act as a buffer to a winning player, especially if they offer their best trade agreements or other incentives, and table-spanning galactic wars are far more logical than before.Each of these expansions also adds a bit of everything. New planets to conquer, new phenomenons and exploration cards to brave, and a bunch of extra tokens because all the stuff in the original box won’t be ne[...]

Review: Yamataï:: Yamataï - or, Downtime: The Min-Max Experience Board Game - quick review

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 18:50:48 +0000

by tiagoVIP Yamataï is a neat game: is pretty, has a nice set of decisions, indirect interaction, is somewhat easy to teach and play. It could be a big winner. But it wasn't. That is mainly due to time - the amount of it that I expend not playing.I'm rarely bothered by downtime in games. I like to play, I enjoy the environment they create and often is interesting to see what the others are doing. Still, on Yamataï I just couldn't ignore the downtime. Not only the turns tend to be long - yes, yes, maybe you and your beautiful and smart friends play fast, but I don't play with them or you -, as the game has all the informations of the round open at the start of it - there won't be a random draw of cards, of events, no dice roll. This leads to more control, and normally a min-max situation: players keep taking long turns in order to calculate many possibilities, trying to find the one that will give just one more point. "Four is good. Hummmmm...." (1 minute of ponderation) "But this will give me 5 if I buy this boat, move this to there and place these there. Nice! So I will do th-- no, no. Wait a minute. Can I get that other building? Let me see... If I took that tile"...And there is basically nothing to do in the other players turn. There aren't off-turn plays. No response necessary. No direct interaction that goes more than give or take a few coins from one person to the other.What is more - since the board state can change a lot, with the addition of boats, some possible movements and openings, and the taking of an assistent tile or a building - there is not even a good reason to actually start planning before your turn is up. Something you couldn't do just one turn before, now you can - and something you could, you can't, or simply isn't the best maximum point gathering you can make now.One person truly wouldn't miss anything objectively important if, after playing her turn, she would leave the table to do something else, and just return when called. Your presence wouldn't be required for anything (if you trust the people you are playing with, of course), and your planning wouldn't be faster if you were there.To add insult to injury, is possible, and happens quite often, a person can be the first to play this round, and be the last to play in the next round. Meaning, in a 4 [...]

Review: Codenames Duet:: Codenames Iterated (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:36:02 +0000

by The Innocent Codenames IteratedLast week I talked about a Vlaada Chvátil game called That’s a Question!, arguing that it was pleasant enough, particularly in family or get-to-know-you settings, but didn’t exactly rock my socks off. In part because it didn’t feel like much of an innovation from one of our hobby’s most renowned innovators.Well, today I’m going to tell you about Codenames Duet, which right there in its title announces itself as a new take on the living classic Codenames. But here’s the thing — in addition to being a testament to why our hobby thrives on iterative design, it just might be one of my favorite Chvátil games.For those who haven’t played Codenames, the concept couldn’t be simpler. You’ve got a five-by-five grid of words laid out on the table. Players are divided into two teams, each with their own set of words they’re striving to mark off on the grid. The quandary is that only each team’s leader knows which words are theirs, and they can only give clues consisting of one word and one number. The word should be some indication of which cards their teammates must guess, while the number is, well, the number of cards the clue applies to.Oh, and there are blank spaces that will end your team’s turn when guessed, plus an assassin that will lose you the round instantly. Tread carefully.It quickly became one of my favorite lighter party games, the sort of thing that could reliably get people laughing about those existential archipelagoes we call “language,” and how we never truly inhabit the same space or fully understand one another. It made light of a dismal thing. Sort of like Chvátil’s own Space Alert, weirdly enough.The thing is, Codenames also had a way of being peculiarly stressful. Whether it was existential loneliness seeping into the design like ink leeching into paper or just the fact that word games tend to winnow the smart-with-vocabulary from those who aren’t, it sometimes came across as mildly exhausting. Mildly, yes. But exhausting, mildly.Codenames Duet is not that. It’s better. And it pulls it off by being profoundly collaborative.Unlike some of Codenames’ previous outings, which mixed up the formula by being about pictures or naughty things or pictures of naughty things [...]

Review: That's a Question!:: The Interrogation Game (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:35:02 +0000

by The Innocent The Interrogation Game Here’s a question for you. Which would you miss more if it ceased to exist: Vlaada Chvátil designing light party-style games or Vlaada Chvátil designing overly complicated games?If you’re anything like me, there’s no contest between Codenames and Space Alert, though I’d still miss the former if it disappeared from the face of the Earth all the same. If you guessed that would be my answer, you get a point. If not, the guy who asked me the question gets a point.There you go. I just summed up Chvátil’s latest, That’s a Question!In the grand tradition of parlor games that ask the timeless question, “Who’d You Rather Do?”, this is a game about binary questions and hopefully surprising answers. It’s the sort of thing that aging hosts like to spring on younger guests, usually as a means of highlighting just how little everyone knows about their significant others. And often as a means of showing off, because Harold and Maudette spent four hours rehearsing their answers in between episodes of Murder She Wrote.In practice, That’s a Question! plays a bit like an interrogative Dixit. Someone asks a question from three prompts and a thick stack of cards, everyone guesses what the person being asked will answer, and points are doled out based on your success or everyone else’s failure. It isn’t necessary to know each other, and in fact the game works either way, as a get-to-know-you activity or as a step toward realizing that your best friend really doesn’t have any sense of personal ethics whatsoever when they respond that they don’t really mind when someone skims a bit of money at work, but really frowns on anyone who coughs without covering their mouth.There’s a bit more to it than merely asking questions and making guesses, mostly in the form of kicker tokens. Each player has two of these, one that triples their score if they guess the correct answer and another that gives them points when everybody else gets it wrong. The trade-off is that these are one-shot deals and will only return to your hand once you reach particular scores. It’s a minor thing, but it does make it possible to make the occasional clever play or fumbling error.It’s familiar territory,[...]

Review: Secrets:: Secrets Secrets Are No Fun (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:19:16 +0000

by The Innocent Secrets Secrets Are No FunWith its pedigree, you’d think Secrets would stand out as one of the finest creations ever put to cardboard. Bruno Faidutti stands at one end, with hits like Citadels, Mission: Red Planet, and Mascarade in his pocket, while Eric Lang inhabits the other. And if you don’t know who Eric Lang is, might I recommend Blood Rage or Chaos in the Old World? A social deduction by those two seems like a no-brainer.But as it would turn out, no brains isn’t the right way to go for a social deduction game. At least not unless you’re content making a merely okay one.It’s all a big shame, because Secrets does have a couple whiz-bang ideas rattling around its empty skull.The concept hits all the classic notes. At the outset of the game, you’re aligned with one of three sides. The mighty KGB and CIA are both out to score the most points for their side, though of course they aren’t entirely certain who they can trust. Meanwhile, the lowly hippie gets off on being oppressed, and wants the fewest points once the dust settles. It’s a perfect mix of serious Cold War flick and dunderhead comedy of errors. You can almost hear the bunker chatter about identity and double agents, intercut with scenes of a bumbling hippie being treated like he knows some tidbit of crucial intel.Perhaps most interesting is the fact that you might not actually know your own identity, let alone everybody else’s. Sure, you start out fully aware of which side you’re working for, and with more players you might even know your neighbor’s identity as well. But as the game progresses, it’s common for those delightful ceramic identity chips to switch places. And when that happens, you’d better be doubly smart or you might just wind up working for the wrong team.Which is where the game’s setup and gameplay start to diverge. The turn-by-turn gameplay is perfectly serviceable, but often feels ever so slightly aloof from the actual spy games going on in the background. Each turn sees two different cards appearing from the deck. There are eight possibilities, each sporting some clever twist that sets them apart as somehow desirable. Most revolve around the idea of manipulating or revealin[...]

Review: Zoo Ball:: Rumble in the Literal Jungle (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:19:10 +0000

by The Innocent Rumble in the Literal Jungle Zoo Ball isn’t my favorite dexterity game — that honor remains with Catacombs — but when it comes to my favorite fast, easy, and super silly dexterity game with only like three rules? Then, sure, Zoo Ball is the clear frontrunner.The rules of Zoo Ball are so simple that they can be told and retold like the story beats of an oral history. There are only three, maybe four if you slip up and split one of them in half. Rule the first: you shall flick either your scorer or all three of your blockers. Rule the second: you shall only score when your scorer is fully enveloped by the end zone on the opposite side of the field. Rule the third: when knocked out of bounds, you will either be placed directly where you went out, or — if you left the table on the other end — you will be returned to your native side.There you go. You can play Zoo Ball. Not even kidding.Here, I’ll prove it. This past weekend we put on a big birthday party for someone very handsome and smart and still young named Dan. We had a goodly number of guests, which meant a lot of divided attention. Rather than putting out a more complicated game, we decided to put up a table just for Zoo Ball.For the first half of the evening, it sat untouched. Oh, some kids touched it, and their parents scolded them, probably because they were mistaking Zoo Ball for a fragile game. But it wasn’t until I rounded up three other players and explained the rules that it came alive.I played one game. It lasted maybe ten minutes. From that moment, that table wasn’t unattended for the next three hours. Not until it got too dark to tell apart the blue and black pieces — which was a silly production decision, honestly — did all the Zoo Balling come to a stop. And in all that time, do you know how many times I was required to clarify the rules, even though it must have gone through sixteen different players? Once. And that was only because the people playing that match wanted a clear ruling on whether a certain shot counted as a score.There’s a particular magic to a simple game, especially one like Zoo Ball. If anything, it looks almost too simple at first. Score a touchd[...]

Review: Charterstone:: 人人都爱Legacy(Everyone Loves Legacy)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:18:25 +0000

by victor1993 人人都爱legacy:Charterstone[2017]Charterstone[2017]是BGG最近大热的一款作品,本身极其高的游戏质量,加上中文版本的引入,使得这款游戏引起了不小的轰动。契约石是一款关于城市建造类的工放游戏,而让它与众不同的则是它的Legacy,也就是我们平时所说的“传承”机制。今天我们就来聊聊这款有趣的策略类传承大作,以及顺便谈谈,为什么这段时间Legacy机制的游戏大行其道,为什么“人人都爱Legacy”。0)简介契约石[2017]类型:Uncategorized分类:城市建造/中世纪/经济 机制:工人放置Legacy“传承”1-6人游戏 45-75分钟10+weight 2.5/51)游戏介绍Charterstone,中文翻译为契约石,拆开来看是Charter和Stone两部分。说道Charter,最著名的莫过于Great Charter,又名Magna Carta,中世纪英国赫赫有名的《大宪章》,认为是法治理念的基石。这款中世纪风格的游戏,用Charter实在是再合适不过了。言归正传,这是一款非常典型的工放游戏,各方面都有前人的影子。细致的来讲,资源的玩法有着港口的影子,发展路线像是Kingdom Death,背景和卡牌的结合紧密,每种资源有着自己独有的风格,让我想起了若干年前玩过的乐园;多路线发展多路线刷分是时下热门的玩法,运牛奥丁火星都有着相似的风格,每回合要么选择插工人要么拔工人,看似很像玛雅,以及游戏本身也存在着不同能力的工人,让我更是联想起了Argent:The Consortium。这么一款杂糅了很多成熟玩法的游戏,可以说本身已经是一款能够拿得出手的策略类游戏,非常典型非常传统,也不奇怪设计者敢于信誓旦旦的说“这款游戏在贴纸贴完之后也能成为一款很棒的游戏可以继续游玩”。除却游戏的策略性,游戏本身的配件是非常精致的。盒子本身就是我最爱的白色底色加上logo的简约清丽风格,插画质量非常高,整个游戏弥漫着浓郁的中世纪乡镇的田园牧歌式的浪漫。卡通的人物穿着和圆润的配件或[...]

Review: Betrayal at House on the Hill:: UMCR Betrayal at House on the Hill Review: A haunting experience (no spoilers)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:00:31 +0000

by toothpickman I bought Betrayal at House on the Hill after watching the people at Tabletop playing it. I thought it would make a fun Halloween game that would be unlike any other game we own.ComponentsI got the 2nd edition, so all the components are pretty good.- The board consists of several room tiles that are randomly added as you play. They have good thickness and nice art. The symbols and the text are clear.- The cards are of good quality and easy to understand.- The miniatures, dice, and cardboard chits are all of good quality.- The health trackers have nice detail, but as many others have said the clips that mark the numbers are too loose and are prone to slide around. We just wrote our stats.- The instructions, are a little challenging to understand at times, online videos for the general instructions are recommended, the haunt specific rules come with the expectation that house ruling will likely be necessary.Game PlayEach games begins with the players exploring the house on the hill. With each new room entered a tile is placed and its symbol and text are enacted. Event, Omen, and Item decks are drawn as indicated to add flavor and complexity to the players choices.As Omens are added haunt rolls are done, which requires a result of the number of omen cards or greater to be rolled with the 6 haunt dice. This continues until the roll fails and he haunt is revealed.The haunt will be different depending on where it happens and what omen is drawn, this adds variety and unpredictability to the game.At this point there will be either a traitor or a shared objective which is explained in the survival and/or traitor manuals.Some of these are easily understood and some will require house rules.Our ExperienceWith all the talk of problematic haunts I have read about I was a bit nervous about how our first games would go. We were fortunate to have a horror buff in the group so I knew that role play would be fun. Set up took quite a long time separating all the cardboard chits and everything.The first half of the game was fun, but a little uneventful. The flavor text was neat to discover, and the play was easi[...]

Review: The Expanse Board Game:: Twilight Expanse (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:00:18 +0000

by The Innocent Twilight ExpanseJames S. A. Corey’s The Expanse occupies a strange place in my heart. The first novel, Leviathan Wakes, I proclaim as brilliant without reservation, capturing a lot of what science fiction does best — plausible speculation and wonderment tempered by existential smallness — without veering too far in the direction of “hard” and becoming a boring high school chemistry lesson crammed with non-characters. On the other hand, main star Captain James Holden is the galaxy’s biggest dummy, pretty much just allying with whichever charismatic leader he’s most recently spoken with. Then again, space Mormons.Space Mormons.At any rate, my enthusiasm for the books — and to a lesser extent the TV show — was enough that the announcement of a board game adaptation aroused my interest. Even better when I learned it would be helmed by Geoff Engelstein, the mind who dreamed up Space Cadets, its hilarious Dice Duel sequel, and the ever-reliable The Dragon & Flagon.For those who don’t know the first thing about The Expanse, let me clue you in. Humanity has spread across the solar system, occupying Mars, the asteroid belt, and the moons of the outer planets. All our current problems — scarce resources, man’s inhumanity to man, unsolved religious and ethnic and class quarrels — have grown right along with our expanding girth. Now it’s Earth and Mars in an uncomfortable alliance against the massive Belter population, with some shady-as-Enceladus (the shadiest moon of Saturn) corporations thrown into the mix as obvious bad guys.In short, there are factions with ambiguous goals, tenuous political alliances, and the occasional proverbial dagger is burrowed into the occasional literal backside. It’s been called “Game of Thrones in space,” though probably only by marketing computers that don’t understand how similes work.The thing is, The Expanse — the cardboard version — totally nails it. Players are given one of four roles, leading Earth, Mars, the upstart Belters, or EvilCorp, each with their own centers of power, abilities, upgrades, and scoring[...]

Review: Pericles: The Peloponnesian Wars:: The Unbearable Smartness of Pericles (a Space-Biff! review)

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:00:03 +0000

by The Innocent The Unbearable Smartness of Pericles Not to be too hysterical about it, but the Peloponnesian Wars were sort of a big deal. By the time the clash between Athens and Sparta grew to encompass Sicily and much of the middle and eastern Mediterranean, and certainly once they drew in the Persian Empire, they practically qualified as an antique World War. The outcome would cut short the golden age of Greece and pave the way for those perky Macedonians to solidify into the force that would Hellenize much of the known world.It was Very Serious Business, is what I’m saying, brimming with intrigue, oration, and big stonkin’ battles on both land and sea. And in order to capture the freewheeling nature of the conflict, Mark Herman’s sandbox wargame Pericles just might be one of the maddest — and most maddening — things I’ve ever Greek-wrestled with.Picture this. Athens is on the cusp of empire. They’ve got unfettered access to the Aegean Sea, a professional navy, and a bunch of pals called the Delian League. Mobility and expansion are their game to lose, and perhaps the only problem is that they’re tethered to their home base in Attica and have a serious food shortage. Fortunately, their aforementioned mobility and sea power will hopefully secure them enough grain abroad to keep everything running.Just a short distance away even by ancient standards sits Sparta. Renowned for their prowess in combat, they’ve got aspirations of their own, and have formed their own network of allegiances and upstarts simmering with resentment for the too-cool Athenians. They’re tough, almost unbeatable in straight combat, but largely trapped in place by Athens’ superior navy and the physical geography of the Peloponnese.Which is to say, the situation is deeply asymmetrical. It’s mobility versus mettle, reach versus a strong central force. And what you do with it is entirely up to you.It would be easy to explain Pericles in terms of its goals, except Pericles has a tendency of not playing out the way you were hoping. Athens can win if they secure foreign gr[...]

Review: Wartime: The Battle of Valyance Vale:: Meeples Review - Wartime: The Battle of Valyance Vale

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:59:38 +0000

by qweable Wartime: The Battle of Valyance Vale is a light weight wargame for 2 players. Players will take command of the Valyance and Firebrand armies and try to outwit one another in quick 10 minute scenarios. What makes it so special is that you issue commands to your army in real time. No more waiting for your turn, simply announce your actions and move your units.OverviewSetting up a game of Wartime couldn’t be any easier. To set up a game, players will grab different units to add to their army and place them on their side of the board. Terrain tokens can also be added onto the board to add a bit of variety to the map. For players that don’t want to worry about the specifics, the game comes with a few pre-generated scenarios which can be played individually or together as a campaign. Players can then grab their set of sand timers and they are ready to go.The game also plays nice and quickly. You choose one of your units, declare your action, and flip one of your timers next to it. If you do not have an available timer, you will have to wait for one of your other ones to finish. For movement actions, you push the unit to its new space. And for attacks, you remove health tokens from your target’s stack equal to your damage. The game ends when one side satisfies their win condition. This could mean eliminating the other team but there are also objective based scenarios for you to play.ComponentsAll units in the game use the same design with name on the top of the tile, movement (normal or charging) stats are in the middle and combat stats at the bottom. Health is just a small number below the attack values but it will only be used during set up; stacks of unit tiles will be used to keep track of each units health during the game. Visually, the game is pretty boring to look at. No matter the unit, the tile used are all the same size. Even so, this works out well in Wartime. Units are constantly being pushed around the board and this design makes everything available at a glance.When I first opened the box, I was quite happy with [...]

Review: Trôl:: Trôl – a study of thematic implementation

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:59:27 +0000

by Schmergel Trôl – a study of thematic implementationSometimes, everything that is needed for a unique game is a good idea about its theme. I don’t know how many games cover trading in ancient times, building a city or empire or are about fighting in historical, fantasy or sci fi settings. While all these games may be brilliantly designed and introduce new mechanics to the world of modern gaming, the overall feel can be vaguely the same. To win most of these games it comes down to gather the most points via using the rules and mechanics of the game in the most effective way - a common result may be the infamous Analysis Paralysis. In some cases, the theme of a game really fades away when mechanics prevail and typical questions can be: “Should I get another card?” or “Should I buy this now for some points or wait for the great endgame scoring?” Well, “Trôl” does things a little differently: I was introduced to “Trôl” in a lovely way during SPIEL 2017: Imagine you are the chieftain of a clan of trolls and you are hungry. What do you do? Of course you send out a hunting party. During the hunt, your clan members realize that their chieftain is not the only one who is hungry as each and every neighboring clan is running for prey. This is where things become interesting because the clan(s) with the fewest meat will starve… The basic mechanic of “Trôl” is a combination of card play and dice chucking which is very easy and fast to teach/ learn: Each player has a hand of six clan cards representing their troll tribe. During a turn one troll can be sent on a hunt in one of two possible ways: either the troll joins a hunting party or he initiates the hunt if at least one other troll of his clan participates in the respective hunt. When a hunt is initiated, each participating troll (with the exception of the one who gave the attack signal) uses his abilities and rolls dice in order to kill the prey. Each prey has a minimum and a maximum value displayed and the total number rolled by the enti[...]

Review: Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate Rome:: Review for Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate Rome

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:59:07 +0000

by stixxs13 This is a long form review. The content below with pictures is available at jambalayaplaysgames.comReview: Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate RomeDesigner: Yan YegorovPublisher: Moaideas Game DesignPlayer Count: 40-60 minPlay Time: 3-6 (plays best at 4 to 6) 3 player is not recommended by meA copy of Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate Rome was provided by Moaideas Game Design for review.Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate Rome is a social deduction game where players take the roles of Senators who are part of the Liberatores. The Liberatores have one goal, to kill Caesar and restore Democracy to Rome. Within your ranks is the Competitor player who wants to take over as Dictator after Caesar is out of the picture and the Agent who is loyal to Caesar and will stop at nothing to see the Liberatores fail.The RecipeSocial deductionSemi-cooperativeA little take thatRole playmedium weight fillerThere are Two Sides to a Conspiracy….Right?The heart of the gameplay is based on your role in the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar or protect the throne. Depending on player count, players will blindly draft one of the three identities to start the game:The Republican (Liberatores)The Republican players want Caesar dead! Since Caesar is in power, Republican players must pay to bribe citizens and hire servants to gain enough influence before the end of the game. The Liberatores strategy is to play the long game and keep the influence track on their side during the game. Republican players need to figure out who their allies are as soon as possible and work cooperatively to drive the influence track in their favor. The Republican and Competitors win if the influence track favors the Liberatores side (blue) at the conclusion of the game.The Competitor (Liberatores)The Competitor players also want Caesar dead. The Competitor will work semi-cooperatively with the Republican players to carry out the assassination plot and convert citizens to join the side of the Liberatores. S[...]

Review: Cast the Ritual:: Everything Board Games Cast the Ritual Kickstarter Preview

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:58:35 +0000

by Dt92stang Quick Look: Designer: Cliff StornelArtist: N/APublisher: Cliffside GamesYear Published: 2017No. of Players: 2-5Ages: 10+Playing Time: 20-60 minutesWARNING: This is a preview of Cast the Ritual. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.Review:Rules and Setup:If you're in the mood for a quick, strategic game you can take on the go, settle in for the fantastical Cast the Ritual. Setup is a snap with only card components. Start by shuffling the character, market, and ritual component decks separately. Have each player choose a character, then deal everyone five cards from the market deck. These cards are now their Lab, the hand from which they play cards during their turn and eventually (hopefully) cast the ritual. Cards in the Lab MUST be left in the order they are dealt in. Next, deal out the ritual component cards. For the first round there are three ritual components, four for the second round, and five for the third. Once the ritual components are laid out, take the shuffled market deck, flip the top card over to form the trash, and begin the round.Sabotage opponents and fend off attacks to insure you are the first player with all the ritual cards in the correct order in your hand. The round ends once a player successfully casts the ritual, and the game ends after the completion of three rounds. Order is key in this card game, the first one to cast the ritual gains the most points each round.Theme and Mechanics:With a name like Cast the Ritual the theme is apparent from the get-go. Fantasy and occult imagery and lore are incorporated throughout the game. References to pop culture fantasy can also be found within the market deck. The two mechanics the game focuses in on are set collection in order to cast the ritual, and hand management as players have limited space in their Lab and must have components in the correct order to play them.Cast the Ritual Components, photo by Sarah JohnsonGame Play:Basic game play begins with [...]

Review: Blood on the Blade:: Blood on the Blade Quick Review

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:51:48 +0000

by Blackronin IntroductionRecently I bought a digital copy of Blood on the Blade by Gottardo Zancani. I was drawn by his solo rules and I wanted to know more. He kindly replied to my email with a playing example and I felt confident to buy his rules set.I read them carefully and I played a solo game. The experience was really good and the rules are well crafted and quick. The feeling it gave me was one similar to the best combats of Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition when I was 16 years old. The good thing now is that I did it without a Game Master.The game SystemThe game engine is beautiful in its simplicity and open aspect. It is quick but allows growth. New units and special rules can be added without destroying it. For me that is a great plus.Characters and enemies have hit points with three thresholds. As they get hit they get weaker. Simple and realistic.You can move twice or move and attack (or take another specific action).The attack is based on the figure's weapon type and abilities. You roll a number of D6´s and you must reach the TN of the adversaries defense. If you do it you can then check the type of damage of the figure's weapon. It can be the lowest or highest die or a combination of it.Truly balanced and fast.The player decides what to do with his characters and a set of very smart tables decide what the enemy does. In my first game, the tables worked very well, giving me a feeling of playing against a intelligent opponent. Those who know me know how I love solo games and having one that works well is always a pleasure for me.The Campaign SystemI didn't have a chance to use the campaign system, but I carefully read the rules and once again the system looks easy and robust at the same time. Only further expansions will confirm this.I particularly enjoyed the circular system that allows a player to play several times the same scenario (in slightly different ways). I have a feeling that it will create a different scena[...]

Review: Tybor der Baumeister:: Oh my Goods + Sushi Go = Tybor der Baumeister

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:36:36 +0000

by Anny48 Every year at SPIEL Essen, one of our first stops is at the Österreichische Spiele Museum to pick up the winning game from their game designers competition. Two years ago, this brought us Royal Goods from Alexander Pfister, now sold as Oh my Goods by Lookout/Mayfair. The first expansion, Oh my Goods: Longsdale in Revolt, introduced us to a city faced with a rebellion. This year, the Österreichische Spiele Museum published Tybor der Baumeister (Tybor the Builder), a prequel to Longsdale in Revolt. The designer, and the fact that this was a game set in the Longsdale universe made this an insta-buy for me. As an Alexander Pfister game, I thought this must be a solid card game, and since it is a prequel to Longsdale in Revolt, I thought it would be a game with a nice story line. We'll see whether I was right or not! Game play Tybor der Baumeister is a drafting game that features multiple use cards. Every player gets five character cards in their hand, takes one and passes the rest to the next player. Then, starting with the start player, everyone uses the card they chose in one of three ways. This continues until the cards are all played, then there is a short resolve and clean-up phase, and then the next round starts. The game consists of four rounds. The first option is to place the character in your playing area ('town') as a citizen. Every citizen has a symbol that scores points at the end of the game, and potentially a discount for building a building of a certain color. The second option is to place the character as a worker. Workers have a certain strenght that is used for building buildings. The third option is to discard the card you chose and build a building. To build a building, you must also discard workers with strenght adding up to the amount of strength needed to build a building minus any discounts that your citizens provide. Buildings are laid out at the start of the game depe[...]

Review: Gaia Project:: Terra Mystica vs Gaia Project

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:36:22 +0000

by Jonathan Hicks This article is taken from the Maven Games blog.Terra Mystica is one of my top ten games of all time.  I’ve played it and played it over the years.  When I heard that they were retheming Terra Mystica in space (Gaia Project), I was very interested, but also apprehensive. Would it just be a straight retheme or would there be significant differences?  Could they really improve on what I perceived to be a near-perfect Euro?  Would there be an inevitable disappointment that either it didn’t really add anything significant or was actually worse because they made changes that I wasn’t keen on?Well, following its release at Essen, Gaia Project has been played by our gaming group at almost every opportunity.  Terra Mystica is a group favourite, so everyone wants to try it.  First up, let me tell you: they did it.  I don’t know how they managed it, but it’s better.  It looks like you can improve on perfection after all. So today I’d like to talk about the differences between Terra Mystica and Gaia Project and why I think Gaia Project is a better game.  Is it good enough to purchase if you already own Terra Mystica though?  Let’s have a look… The first thing that strikes you about Gaia Project is that all the wooden components of Terra Mystica seem to have turned to plastic.  I guess it fits the sci-fi theme more, and the building models are good.  There’s just something about wood that says quality though.  It doesn’t bother me personally; the plastic isn’t cheap plastic, but it’s still plastic and I know some people are always going to prefer wood.When you start playing Gaia Project, it does feel very similar to Terra Mystica.  The faction boards are laid out in a very similar way.  The buildings are essentially the same (they’ve just been renamed) and the upgrade paths between them are the same as well. However, as soon a[...]

Review: Unearth:: Build it up again - Unearth Review by meepleonboard

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 11:58:20 +0000

by nickster1970 This review is available, with pictures, at thanks to Games Quest for kindly providing a review copy of Unearth.Despite what the title may suggest, Unearth is not a game about Mars, so we can all at least be thankful that a whole week has gone by without some Martian caper materialising in cardboard. Instead, in a Race For The Galaxy sized box we have a game that allows up to four players to control a small band of Delvers as they attempt to reconstruct the ruins of some planet or other – an Un-earth, maybe. We have been here thematically before, of course, in games like the lovely Blue Moon City (never leaving my collection, so don’t ask!), but it is still a relatively refreshing idea in a gaming world awash with Cthulhu, Renaissance traders and Mars.Probably the first thing you will notice about Unearth is the fetching and individual art, something that I am told has a certain Minecraft feel about it, all edges and angles and small squares, like pixels used to be in the old days. It is there on the outside of the box and continues almost everywhere you might care to look. The colours are all also slightly washed out, almost as though you cannot tell whether Unearth happened in the very distant past or is instead set in some far-off future. It is not bold and bright, but it is strongly individual, so plus points for that choice.Unearth’s artistic vision continues inside the box, the dice, cards and hexes all conforming to that style, unifying the design concept. The dice sparkle slightly in the right light, and come in different sizes – one is four-sided, one is eight-sided and three are four standard six-siders – , representing your tribe of five Delvers. These shadowy folk appear on the small Delver cards that allow players to manipulate their die rolls, and th[...]

Review: Merlin:: My thoughts on Merlin

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 11:56:44 +0000

by swingjunkie So I have been seeing/hearing a lot of negativity and hesitancy surrounding Merlin and I wanted to weigh in with my perspective... which is overwhelmingly positive! I had the chance to go to Atlanta Game Fest about 2 weeks ago, an event at which I was making it a point to play lots of new games and ones I cannot get played at home under normal conditions. I wanted to cram as many new and underplayed games into the weekend as I could, which made it all the more impressive that I played this game 3 times over the weekend after not learning it until the second day! (In fact, I was on my way out the door and stuck around to teach it to one of my good gaming friends and squeeze in one more game of it.)So, when I woke up and staggered into the game room early on the morning of the second day, there were only 2 other people there, one reading the rules to Merlin and the other to Black Orchestra. Having seen the beautiful pictures here on BGG and not knowing much else, I was intrigued to play, and even with a sleep-addled brain and a new teacher the game was still pretty easy to grasp. There were minimal questions and rules references once we started playing (a 3-player game) and the game clicked very early. This is the first thing I liked about this game: for a medium weight euro it was very accessible and transparent. What I mean by this is that there was not a lot of "gather A and B, go to location X if you have Y, and turn them in for Z, which gets you VP at the end of the game...". If I want to get a Manor I get one cube and turn it in a Manor. If I need to defeat a traitor, I get a shield of that color and defeat the traitor. It's all relatively intuitive and straight-forward.Now, as to the amount of meat in the game it is, as I stated, a medium weight game. It is not going to give you the same satisfaction a[...]

Review: Star Wars: Imperial Assault:: The Thoughtful Gamer Reviews Imperial Assault

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 11:55:28 +0000

by M013 Text of review from thethoughtfulgamer.comI think Matt (who you know from the podcast) put it best: Fantasy Fight’s Descent 2nd Edition is a fun game despite itself. Dungeon crawling is just a fun genre. I love having my own character with their individual attributes and skills. I like having the trappings of an RPG without the required commitment. And even though I typically enjoy more heavily strategic games, sometimes it’s fun to throw a bunch of dice around.I mention Descent because Star Wars Imperial Assault can’t be described as anything other than another game in the Descent series. The system is largely the same, with differences contained to the theme (Star Wars instead of rote fantasy) and a few mechanical changes. Because the games appear to be so similar, a lot of the advice I see regarding them is, “buy the game with the theme you like the best”. I’m going to argue that this advice is absolutely incorrect. Imperial Assault is the better game, and unless you really don’t like Star Wars (in which case you have much larger problems) you should see Imperial Assault as a strict improvement in the formula.The BasicsFor those who haven’t played any of the games in this line, Imperial Assault is a 1 vs. many dungeon crawl campaign game where one person takes on the role of the Imperials, against 1-4 other players who control individual Rebel heroes. The game progresses through individual scenarios which usually have the Rebels attempting to discreetly acquire some kind of information, only to find themselves confronted by way more Imperial forces than expected.After each scenario, both sides get rewards to help them level up and acquire new skills. The winners, of course, get additional rewards. The Rebel side gets to use their XP and money to acquire new skills, wea[...]

Review: Terraforming Mars: Venus Next:: Mars was never going to be enough...

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 02:20:15 +0000

by Poins Terraforming Mars was surely the hit game of 2016. It’s still winning large numbers of converts a year after its initial release, and justifiably so: it’s an excellent game. You can see the Board’s Eye View of Terraforming Mars at You can also see 360º photos of the core game and of the Venus Next expansion on Board's Eye View's Facebook page at success of Terraforming Mars has naturally created demand for expansions. We have had two so far and there are rumours of four more in the works. Designer Jacob Fryxelius has wisely so far gone for augmentation rather than major game changers. The first expansion, Hellas & Elysium comprised two alternative mapboards for the game: a tweak to the dynamics because you are focusing on different regions of the planet. If you were always following a similar routine in the way you tried to lay out your cities and greenery, this expansion offered a shake up. Aside from the map changes, each board also offers different Milestones and Awards.Venus Next is the more recent expansion and appears to offer a bit more of a change. Players are still expected to concentrate their terraforming efforts on Mars but the notion is that a longer term project to terraform Venus has begun. The expansion introduces a small extra board and track representing a tiny part of the planet and the early stages of the terraforming process. The track contributes to players’ Terraforming Rating but its completion is not an end-game requirement. That means it can be incorporated into the game and, depending players’ choices and the cards that come up, it may or may not play a significant role. Incorporating the Venus Next expansion means offering a ne[...]

Review: Gearworks:: Everything Board Games Gearworks Kickstarter Preview

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 23:55:43 +0000

by Dt92stang When it came to fixing clocks, Silas was the best around. That is, until an accident upended his life and he couldn’t work for months. Finally able to function properly again thanks to a newly installed prosthetic limb—full of moving parts that clicked and clacked with each finger movement—he found a job with a local workshop.Before his accident, Silas only needed to make a subtle clue that he needed a particular part for his contraption. At his new place of work, however, those parts were in high demand, and it wasn’t uncommon for other tinkerers to sabotage their colleagues’ work and steal the parts for their own projects.As a former master of the trade, Silas wanted to impress the workshop owner by what his hands could do, not by how few repairs his fellow tinkerers could make in a day. But, without another source of income, Silas stepped into the workshop on his second day of work, gritted his teeth, and plotted ways to take the spare parts his coworkers had stashed around and use it for his own contraptions. And if by so doing he also found favor with the workshop owner and his colleagues let go, then so be it.Quick Look: Designer: Kirk DennisonArtists: Sheryl Chieng, Yorgo Tsalamanis, Jason FlackPublisher: PieceKeeper GamesYear Published: 2018No. of Players: 2-4Ages: 10+Playing Time: 45 minutesWARNING: This is a preview of Gearworks. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.Review:As tinkerers in a workshop, players vie for the favor of the workshop owner by fixing a mysterious clockwork machine. Through clever use of hand management, card placement, and a unique twist on area control, players gain Parts by fixing components on the clock and use those Parts to create imaginative contraptions t[...]

Review: Traditional Card Games:: Ender's Comprehensive Pictorial Overview: More marvellous decks from Murphy's Magic

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:49:07 +0000

by EndersGame MORE MARVELLOUS DECKS FROM MURPHY'S MAGIC Murphy's MagicMurphy's Magic was formed by Mark Murphy in 1998, and it is strictly a wholesale magic dealer. That means: individuals can't purchase directly from Murphy's Magic, because they only sell in bulk quantities to authorized dealers. So if you see something on their site that you like, you can't purchase individual items directly from them, but need to ask your local magic dealer. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, because Murphy's Magic produces and sells an enormous range of magic products which they sell to magic dealers around the world, and they have a huge network of contacts in the retail industry. Their website is a terrific resource with tons of information about their products, which include all things magical: magic kits, magic tricks, card tricks, DVDs, books, gags & jokes, puzzles, juggling, playing cards, accessories, and more.Murphy's Playing CardsBut what really interests me is the fact that Murphy's Magic also produces their own playing cards. Under the leadership of the director of New Product Development, Jason Brumbalow, multiple decks of playing cards have been developed for Murphy's Magic. In this review I'll be covering some of their specialty playing cards, including the Wonder deck, Tangram deck, and Papilio Ulysses deck, which is their newest release. But they also sell a wide range of playing cards from other publishers, and in this article I'll also be reviewing one of the other decks they stock, namely the Blue Steel deck from Bocopo. All of these decks of playing cards are available from Murphy's Magic dealers, and since many retailers that sell magic or who specialize in custom playing cards often rely on Mu[...]

Review: Capere:: Capere Review

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:29:59 +0000

by Tarachia

Capere has a very striking box that draws in the eye, with shifting designs that have many different things flowing through the design.

The addition of the God Cards brings about whole new slough of ways to attack your opponent. Having abilities to stop and interrupt your opponents turn at any moment, while very painful to have happen is so satisfying to drop on your opponent.

Being able to score by capturing your opponents and by running to the other side of the board means there is always a different way to get the upper hand, and the strategies can flow and change throughout the game, switching to combat if the cards are in your favor or switching to speed if they are not.

The only issues I had with the game was the similarity of the designs of the Vulcan card and the Mars card had a tendency to intterrupt the flow of the game, as we were figuring out the new rules of the game. The other issue was we were a little confused with if we could use a Jump card AND a movememtn card, or if a jump card overwrote your turn. We were able to figure out that a jump card and a movement card cannot be used in tandem.

Capere is an excellent game with many layers of strategy, and tactics that can change in the middle of the game. It seems simple, but it can be as intricate or as simple as you want. 9/10! Excellent game

Review: Abyss: Kraken:: Keep on crackin' with Kraken - The Board Game Family review

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 16:00:44 +0000

by TheBoardGameFamily If you're reading this review, it's most likely because you already know how to play Abyss. So we don’t need to cover How To Play again.Rather, we’ll just dive right into the new things Kraken delivers. What does the Kraken expansion add to the game?NEBULISThe first new thing players will notice in a game of Abyss: Kraken, and the part that makes the big impact, are the Nebulis – the black pearls.If you read our recent review or are already familiar with Abyss, you’ll know that the currency in the game is Pearls.Well, in the Kraken expansion, the black pearls are like dirty money. That’s because at the end of the game, each Nebulis a player has will count as -1 Influence Point. And as if that’s not enough reason to be stuck with Nebulis, the player with the most Nebulis will be hit with an additional -5 Influence Points.The cool Kraken figure included in the expansion is merely a way to signify who has the most Nebulis during play.The first player to gain a Nebulis takes the Kraken figure. Then as soon as someone ties or gains more Nebulis, that player takes the Kraken figure.The good news is that players aren’t necessarily stuck with Nebulis once they gain some.Whenever a player spends Pearls to buy something, they can also use 1 Nebulis in the transaction. There are two catches for doing so however. First of all, a player can’t use more than 1 Nebulis. And second, they have to have already spent all their regular Pearls.So they’re not easy to get rid of, but possible. NEW ALLIESThe next addition of note is the new race of Allies – the Kraken.Kraken Allies are like Wild cards.After Exploring, any Kraken Ally cards can b[...]

Review: Princes of the Dragon Throne:: Hybrid or too ambitious?.....

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 15:11:12 +0000

by Jokerman Hi all,Recently purchased this meeples version.This game is quite deep and has many nuances that reveal themselves through repeated play so I will not try and explain every aspect of the game.Long story short the (dragon)king is dead,long live the (dragon) king.Each player is trying to take over as the dragon king through controlling the region,kingdoms and parliament and have the most prestige at the game end.The components are all nice,nice card art although a little thin.Nice thick clear board nice wooden bits and thick counters.The only think I would criticise is the territory markers completly cover a region so sometime hard to see exactly what you own when the board gets busy.Once set up the board looks quite busy but it really is very simple.The board is divided into race kingdoms and each kingdom is divided i to regions.Each player begins with a basic deck of ten cards,some meeple followers and some resources.There are three of,sheep and influence.When first starting you will play cards to increase your recourse pool in line with the kind approach you want to use.From there you you begin to recruit dragons,humans and non humans in the form of cards you buy with your gold and influence resources.Now the game becomes interesting as you add these to your discard deck then when you reshuffle they begin to appear in your hand.These cards allow you to begin placing followers to control districts and kingdom etc and gain prestige each district can only hold 5 followers and whoever has the majority places a control token and get assorted bonuses and prestige.There are many game mechanics and sublties to this gam[...]

Review: Abyss:: We love it underwater - The Board Game Family review

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:29:45 +0000

by TheBoardGameFamily It’s time to go underwater for our latest game review – we’re heading into the Abyss!Abyss was published in 2014 by Bombyx and immediately got a lot a buzz in the board game realms. Some of the buzz was about the game play. But most of the buzz was about the evocative artwork.After taking a closer look, I added it to my ‘want to play’ list and anxiously awaited a chance to play it.That chance first came for me at SaltCon 2016 – and I loved it!Near the end of last year I wrote about my Top 11 Game Experiences of 2016 and that first play of Abyss made the list.Now that we’ve had this fun family board game on our shelf for over a year and a half, it’s about time we reviewed it!So what’s Abyss all about?In Abyss players are vying for control in an underwater city. They do this by collecting allies and using them to recruit Lords of the Abyss, who will then grant access to control different city locations. Players acquire ally cards through a draft of sorts to in turn gain Lords of the Abyss who grant special powers to the cardholder. How to play AbyssThe objective in Abyss is to be crowned the King of the Abyss by gaining the most influence points. Influence points are gained by affiliating Allies, recruiting Lords, and controlling Locations.During the game, players will collect colored Ally cards of different values which they’ll then use to buy valuable Lord cards (for points and special abilities). As Lord cards are gained, players will also be able to gain special Location boards which deliver even more points at the end of the game.Abyss is a card-driven game with a[...]

Review: Exit: The Game – The Secret Lab:: Who wants out? - The Board Game Family review

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:25:26 +0000

by TheBoardGameFamily Escape rooms have popped up all around the world in the last few years.They're set up as entertainment venues that attract people of all ages. Families and friends venture into a trapped room and have to solve puzzles to escape within a designated time (typically 1 hour).Most such venues offer multiple themed rooms so players come back again and again to experience the different challenges.Well, escape room type games have exploded in popularity in the board game world as well.Last year we reviewed Escape The Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor by ThinkFun and today we're reviewing one of the many Exit The Game scenarios by Kosmos, Exit: the Game – The Secret Lab.How to play Exit the Game: The Secret Lab"As volunteers for a medical research study, you report to a lab as instructed. But no one is there except for you! Vapor rises from a test tube and you start feeling dizzy. When you wake up again, the door is locked, and you discover a notebook and a strange disk..."And so begins the adventure.In Exit: The Game – The Secret Lab, players work together to creatively solve puzzles, crack codes, collect objects and earn their escape.The only set up for the game is to put the cards into their 3 separate piles without looking at the front sides (Riddle, Answer, and Help cards). The cards should be stacked in order according to their letters and numbers.Players will also notice two strange items, a notebook, and a Decoder disk.The Decoder disk is a slick part of the game. Using the disk will let players know if they've solved the puzzles correctly throughout[...]

Review: Sabres and Smoke: The War of 1812:: Sabres & Smoke Review

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 06:39:14 +0000

by Grondeaux About MeThis my my first game review. I've been playing wargames for 50-odd years, cutting my teeth on Tactics II and the other classic Avalon Hill games back in the mid-60s. I tend to favor tactical games over strategic games and have dabbled in miniatures and RPGs over the years. I prefer games that are good games, rather than grognard-level simulations. (Nothing wrong with those, I've played 'em over the years. Just not to my taste.)I'm also a big “fan” of the War of 1812. I've toured many of the battlefields and have read extensively on the conflict. I own and have played most of the games about the war. When I saw the Kickstarter for Sabres & Smoke: The War of 1812, I had to add it to my collection. So what's it all about?The game bills itself as a “light strategy game.” That's accurate, IMHO. Complexity-wise, I'd place it in the same league as the Commands & Colors series. As a simulation, the scale isn't given, but I'd put the scale at grand tactical. Again, like Commands & Colors. ComponentsThe game comes with three mounted map boards: two plain terrain and one coastal board. The maps are mounted, but they are a bit flimsier than most mounted maps I have seen of late. They are way better than unmounted maps, at any rate. Terrain tiles (hills, rivers, forts, woods, etc.) are included to create the game map, a la the Commands & Colors series. The tiles are printed on cardstock and the art work is attractive enough. The game pieces are printed on 1 mm cardstock, and slot into red (British) or blue (American) plastic stands to be[...]

Review: Cosmogenesis:: Cosmogenesis

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 22:37:05 +0000

by HedgeWizzard 2 – 4 players60 minutes12+Board game from the year 2017 – Space, Simulation, ConstructionFor me, Cosmogenesis has everything that makes a good game: interesting theme, beautifully and well thought-out game material, catchy rules, an elegant gameplay and after half a game I was in love with it.But let's go back to the beginning. Not until the Big Bang, that would be too far, but until the time when our suns had no planets. But planets of all sizes are needed to win this game – Terrestrial bodies (with and without atmosphere) and gas giants (with and without rings) - and moons, asteroids, comets and exotic objects and... life - from bacteria that can settle almost anywhere to intelligent life (but naturally only on terresttrial bodies of a certain size with atmosphere and in the habitable zone of our suns).So let's have a look at our solar construction kit - which material is available to us creators. First of all, the board on which the four action fields are located and the Rounds Track. For each player there is a player board, this represents the own solar system, with place for 5 planets (three of them in the habitable zone) with maximally three moons each and an asteroid belt (for asteroids and comets), as well as places for the objectives and 1 expansion module for each player with space for 2 more planets. There are a lot of planets: Terrestrial bodies in sizes 1-4 and gas giants in 2 sizes. In addition, asteroids, comets and exotic objects, and two different types of objectives, pla[...]

Review: Star Trek: The Final Frontier:: A poorly executed franchise tie-in that goes where lots of games have gone before...

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 21:43:05 +0000

by Poins I stumbled upon this in a charity shop (what Americans term a “thrift store”). It’s a game from the early 1990s and one of the few Star Trek games I didn’t have in my collection. The copy I found was unplayed and the cards were unpunched. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this is pretty much an object lesson on how not to produce a game, let alone one that makes use of an established franchise. For starters, the game is very poorly produced. The ‘cards’ are actually printed on what feels like thick paper rather than cardstock. The printing is low quality and even the images on the box of Kirk and Spock appear just to have been printed on a sheet of paper and gummed onto the lid. Other than the photos on the lid (and the same photo printed in monochrome on the reverse of the cards), the game makes almost no use of the Star Trek franchise. There are no standees or other representations of the main characters: just nondescript plastic pawns. Star Trek: The Final Frontier is a very simple and very basic roll and move game. Players are racing to be the first to land on the four different planets for which they will each have drawn cards at the start of play. This is of itself highly random because one player may draw planets that are close to each other and another may find he has to travel round the whole board. Players simply roll a die and move that number of spaces along a track. If you land on a space with a star on it, you draw a card which will randomly either benefit[...]

Review: Catacombs (third edition):: The Rules Lawyer Reviews: Catacombs, an essential game

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 21:03:17 +0000

by reddish22 Catacombs ReviewCatacombs is a game I had heard great things about for years. But the dark art style of the first and second editions caused me to never actually look into the gameplay at all. It was simply one of those games that I saw at my FLGS that people often mentioned favorably and that was it. Fast forward to a few years ago when Elzra was running a kickstarter for the third edition. Actually, fast forward a little more because I didn't hear about the game until after the kickstarter copies were reaching the hands of backers and copies were making it into retail. One look at the huge (first printing of the third edition) box and I was excited by the art style and the possibility of a dexterity game that I enjoyed that was not for kids. I had previously played Flick 'em Up and found it to be boring beyond all belief. Would Catacombs be the dexterity game for me? (Spoiler alert) Yes - and I think it is a dexterity game for almost everyone.Brief note here - I am considering in this review the Catacombs third edition base game, the expansion Caverns of Soloth, the recently released "Resurrection Pack" expansions, and the latest expansion the Wyverns of Wylemuir. Ultimately, my feelings on the entire game system are the same as my feelings on the base game, but I will try to discuss what each expansion adds throughout the review.Setting Overview:In Catacombs, one to four players take control of unique and mighty heroes and embark to journey through a dungeon[...]

Review: Dastardly Dirigibles:: Dastardly Dirigibles: A Steampunk Card Adventure - Tabletop Review

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 21:03:09 +0000

by gamingwithswagchris Note, this review was previously posted at Gaming With Swag here: Glance: Dastardly DirigiblesRatingBuyThisGame2x.pngGame Type – CardNumber of Players – 2-5Mechanics – Set CollectionDifficulty – EasyRelease – 2016Publisher - Fireside GamesMSRP - $19.95Introduction/OverviewOf course, the most fashionable method of travel in a Steampunk reality is a Dirigible. So, when Professor Phineas Edmund Hornswoggle, the renowned Airship designer, announces his retirement you must compete in a rummy-like challenge with other builders to create the most dazzling airship to prove you are the worthiest successor.GameplayIn Dastardly Dirigibles each player holds cards that represent sections of a ship, each in one of the 7 suits, that must be played side by side in order to create a handsome airship that will score as many points as possible once the round is complete. Points are scored only for cards of the suit used most in your ship. But wait: every time a player plays a section card all other players must play the same section card onto their own ship if possible. In addition, player may use special cards to foil the plans of others and lead them to victory.RulebookThe rulebook is clear and well written. It includes pictures and examples of play that help quickly grasp the game. There is also a glossary of Victorian insults that feature words like Blag and Per[...]

Review: In the Year of the Dragon:: A Short Review of A Fine Strategy Game in its 10th Year

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 20:24:45 +0000

by Chris Baylis TEN YEARS ago Stefan Feld's boardgame "IN THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON" was launched. Published by ALEA it soon became a favourite amongst strategy boardgamers and has consistently remained so.This latest Edition includes two mini expansions, "The GREAT WALL of CHINA" and "The SUPER EVENTS", each taking one page of the Rules booklet for their rules as well as having specific, separate component pieces (Wall Tiles and Corners)Of these expansions the SUPER EVENTS are just 10 small card counters die-cut into fan shapes. Only one of these is used per game and thus there are ten different new variations or twenty different if you use the SUPER EVENTS and the GREAT WALL of CHINA expansion together. Neither of the expansions are major but each does add a new dimension of play that requires thinking about and always adds something good to the game. These expansions were originally released as part of the Alea BIg Box Expansion sets - the 2009 Alea Treasure Chest.So there is the Basic Game (1), plus the first expansion (2) plus the 10 tiles for the second expansion (12) and then there is using the Ten tiles with the GREAT WALL scenario (one tile only per game of course) which takes the total to 22 similar but different games in the one box, it's better than a compendium. My suggestion is to do as we did and play the Basic game until you are used to the mechanics and then you will find it really easy to introduce the ne[...]

Review: Gold Armada:: Poker dice on the High Seas

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:38:29 +0000

by Poins With a circular board, this is a game that seems to have been specifically designed to be shown in 360 degrees on Board’s Eye View ( :-) The game itself is essentially a push your luck version of poker dice. The board represents an island with 10 piers. Each has three doubloons at the end. Players roll the five custom six-sided dice to match symbols to those on the piers. If what they roll corresponds with the combination of symbols shown on the pier, they take the closest (lowest value) doubloon. This will reveal another symbol so will make it harder to collect the next doubloon. Players can reroll twice, rolling as many dice as they like, so it is not unduly difficult to unlock doubloons. However, as the game progresses and the available doubloons thin out, players are likely to be left competing only for the 4- and 5-of-a-kind rewards. If a player is unable to match their roll to an available doubloon, they instead take a skull token (worth minus 1). The game ends when either all the doubloons or all the skull tokens are gone. The winner is the player who amasses the largest fortune. That really is all there is to Gold Armada. Even so, the rules leave some questions open. At the early stages of the game, a simple pair is needed to claim the first doubloon at the first six piers. That means it would be possible to roll dice that correspond with the symbo[...]

Review: Feuville:: A place for a safe review

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:25:42 +0000

by archrobin Since I work in an open space office, reading and writing reviews is not actually a thing I like to do if there is any pictures involved so I usually avoid reviews that have any pictures. That's why I prefer to write a quick and straight to the point reviews.One of the last shopping items I got at Essen 2017. It was an impulsive buy and I am glad I did it. From my initial presumption I thought about this game as a Galaxy Trucker type game in which players setup their towns and then a dragon comes to burn them. BoxGame has a good sturdy box in which everything fits nicely. Artwork is good and on the backside are introductory descriptions on all the supported languages. ContentCardboard, cardboard and even more cardboard. There is so much cardboard in this game but you will quickly understand why. Although it is a lot to punch out afterwards you can just place the piles to their bags and quickly setup the game. I love the huge red dice and the rest of the cardboard is thick and sturdy. Setup Game is quite simple to setup, divide the correct town tiles to separate piles, remove victory tiles from the pile and place the initial towns of each player. Afterwards you only need to place tiles on the board. Future setup are a breeze and the game can quickly start. Gameplay From the first glance I thought about Kingsburg, after I read the rules I thought ab[...]