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Preview: Recent additions | BoardGameGeek

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Review: Grand Prix:: [Roger's Reviews] A Grand Time

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:43:03 +0000

by leroy43 Grand PrixA game for 2-11 players designed by Jeff & Carla Horger"IF is a very long word in Formula 1; in fact, IF is F1 spelled backwards."Murray WalkerIntroductionGrand Prix is an F1 racing game, and both a mechanical and spiritual successor to Thunder Alley. When I reviewed the latter two years ago I concluded that I was keen for Grand Prix. I even went as far as to sponsor one of the teams. ComponentsGrnad Prix comes with two double sided mounted map boards for a total of four tracks, but they are fully compatible with both Thunder Alley and the Thunder Alley: Expansion Tracks, so if you already own TA or the expansion tracks, you have an awful lot of variety available to you.Image credit: Beatrix Schilke (HedgeWizzard)Along with the map board and team cards there are rules, cars, damage markers, and two decks, one for the event cards and one for the movement cards.Rules & Game PlayGrand Prix puts you in the driver's seat of F1 cars and abstracts a long race into about 3-4 laps (depending on which map/track you use). For the purpose of your team and your opponents, all cars are essentially the same. It's not team Honda vs. team Ferrari vs. team Mercedes, and there is no car construction, save for the selection of tires. Soft, regular, or wet (for rain).No matter how many players there are, your team, insofar as vehicles you care about, is two cars. However, depending on the number of players, there will be a certain number of non-player cars (NPCs). At lower player counts some of the NPCs will be yours to control, but there will also be a few that are free for all to control on a first come first served basis.Each player receives a hand of cards for the turn and in player order around the table, starting with the player whose team is pole position, everyone will activate a car, either one of theirs, an NPC they control, or a neutral NPC, play a race card, move it and probably others, and then flip the car over to show it's done for the turn. Race cards show four kinds of movement. Along with the activated car, the other that may get moved depend on which type of card you used:Line movement means you're moving cars both ahead and behind you.Pursuit movement means you're potentially only moving cars ahead of you.Lead movement means you're the head of a conga line and pulling everyone behind you.Solo movement means just that. You're out for yourself.When you enter a curve the number of lanes shrinks, often down to one, and vice versa when exiting. There is a lot of room for tactical maneuvering, and key here is that the active player makes all the decisions about how to move any cars they are affecting. This is especially important with conditional linking, which I won't attempt to explain save to say that it's the one thing in this game that can cause a little analysis paralysis, and I'll talk about it more in my conclusion.Each race card has the potential to add damage to the activated car, and has a value associated with it. The value indicates how many spaces you'll need to give up in the pits to remove that specific damage. A tire marker might only be 1, but a damaged wing is 5, and an engine problem is 10. I note here that there's one very interesting design decision about this game, which is that NPCs take no damage, ever! Damage can also affect the speed of your car. Once you get more than two damage, you reduce the speed on the played card by the damage on the car. If you activate a car with six damage on it, it is immediately retired from the race. Once everyone has activated all their cars, the lead car gets a lap lead marker, and then a random event happens. Events range from weather effects to catastrophic crashes, just like regular F1. After the event is resolved, players may choose (or not) to pit their cars. There's one important point about pit stops - in Grand Prix it's mandatory that at some point you change your tires, so you will have to pit at least once. Cars that don't pit are disqualified at the end.I note here that I'm glossing over a lot of the details here, I'm just explaining [...]

Review: Slaughterball:: Slaugherball: A Story of Savagery and Style

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:51:45 +0000

by hyperinactive Apollo Speed twisted around, feet skidding on the blue plast-crete floor. He wheeled two arms to keep his balance and used the other two to snatch the errant pass from the air. The heavy steel slaughterball was still slick with green blood, making it even harder to handle. A Carnage Slasher, decked out in leather and spikes, roared and lunged at him fists first but Apollo twisted again, smiling as the snarling neo-human flew past. A team-mate cried out to Apollo’s left as the massive Valkyrie Butcher rent their spine. Apollo swaggered backwards to the edge of the whirring blades of the meat grinder and raised the ball over his head. A blizzard of still-camera flashes dazzled him, and thousands of fans screamed for him to score and miss at once. As he had hundreds of times before, he sprang into a forward flip, flinging the ball four-handed at the far goal. Time seemed to slow as he flourished on his landing and the gleaming ball arced through the air.CLANG!The ball whizzed into the narrow aperture, the goal lights flared Damocles Red and the horns thundered. Perfect! As always.Theme:Slaughterball is a science fiction blood sport game that feels like a fusion of American football and basketball. Six-person teams of genetically modified, cybernetically-enhanced neo-human athletes compete in matches of up to four teams at once. A team can accumulate points by scoring goals; the more challenging the shot, the more points it will be worth. A team can also gain points through victory in personal combat against opposing athletes. Knockdowns are worth a point and injuries are worth more, depending on the position of the injured athlete. The rules of the sport are pretty light and no-calls are the default for actions that are technically penalties; the refs either don’t notice or are too scared to call a foul. Four athlete types combine in various counts to make up a team:1) Razors: Fast and agile, four-armed Razors contribute by scoring goals and aiding team-mates. They are easily injured but worth no points when it happens.2) Cleavers: A hybrid position, Cleavers don’t have the best dice pools but they are fast and usually have special rules that let them contribute in unique ways.3) Slashers: Solid all-arounders. They get decent dice pools for most actions and wind up shouldering a lot of the load after the Razors and Butchers have gone to the Slaughter Box or Penalty Box.4) Butchers: These are the brutes. Slow, heavy and durable, Butchers roll the most Brawl dice and are the hardest to injure.The Deluxe box comes with four flavors of teams:1) Carnage: Resembling fantasy orcs and goblins, Carnage looks to win by injuring everyone else in the arena.2) Nemesis: With a Tron-like look and color, Nemesis draws extra cards and always has a trick or two prepared for you.3) Swords of Damocles: The red Spartans will score, score and score again if you let them.4) Valkyries: The only women represented in the game are tricksters, moving opponents athletes into danger, stepping themselves out of it, and denying opponents many of their dice. Mechanisms:The players in a game of Slaughterball take the role of team coaches. The core mechanic is rolling pools of custom 6-sided dice, looking for more successes than the difficulty. The difficulty could be the number of spaces to the goal or successes rolled by another player during combat. A deck of cards shake things up further, allowing for extra dice or unexpected actions when played. On their turn, a coach can activate up to three of their athletes, completing each activation before starting the next. Basic actions include moving (including picking up the ball), shooting, passing and attacking other athletes. When the ball scatters, it is simply moved by the player in last place up to the distance of a die roll, which makes it both quick and a way to catch up.Matches are played in six round bouts between 2, 3 or 4 teams. There are three levels of play:1) Scrimmage: All teams use the same stat lines for their at[...]

Review: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King:: Reseña de Isla de Skye por El viernes toca... JUGAR!!

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 23:47:45 +0000

by elviernestocajugar Muy buenas, me estreno en la BGG con esta reseña que también puedes encontrar en mi blog. No puedo poner links, pero no es difícil encontrarlo en base a mi nombre, está en blogspot ;-)¿De qué va esto? (Resumen rápido)En Isla de Skye - De líder a Rey (nombre rimbombante y largo para mi gusto), representamos al líder de un clan que deberá desarrollar su territorio de la manera más eficiente para proclamarse en Rey. Bueno, dicho de otra manera, conseguir tener más puntos que los demás al final de una serie de turnos prefijados. Es una especie de Alhambra y Carcassonne mezclados, con una mecánica de selección de losetas basada en subastas. En cada turno deberemos poner a la venta unas losetas que nos llegan al azar y comprar una loseta de las disponibles entre el resto de los jugadores. Después colocaremos la loseta en nuestro territorio y se puntuará cada turno conforme a unas condiciones, las cuales nos darán puntos. Las comparaciones con Carcassonne son obvias, se trata de un juego de losetas, pero a diferencia de Carcassonne donde tenemos que colocar la loseta que nos toque, aquí tenemos más libertad para escogerla, además de tener que gestionar nuestro dinero.Premiado como Kennerspiel des Jahres 2016 (algo así como juego avanzado del año 2016), es un juego de dificultad media con mecánicas muy bien acopladas al juego. Muy recomendado para jugones.Caja y componentesEstamos ante una caja como la mitad de la de Catán en la que cabe todo perfectamente y no sobra apenas espacio.Una vez está todo destroquelado, las losetas se meten en una bolsa de tela que sirve tanto para tenerlas recogidas en la caja, como para cogerlas aleatoriamente durante el juego.En cuanto a los componentes son todos de muy buena calidad. El juego trae 73 losetas (casi igual que Carcassonne, qué curioso) con un arte muy singular.Además de las losetas el juego trae un porrón de monedas de cartón de buena calidad, unas losetas de puntuación y algunos marcadores, todo ello en cartón de buena calidad y unos contadores de madera, que no falte nunca en un eurogame que se precie.El juego trae un tablero y 6 pantallas para los jugadores de las cuales una es de repuesto, esto es la primera vez que lo veo. Son de cartón muy resistente y se ensamblan perfectamente creando una pantalla que cumple perfectamente su cometido.Colocación inicialEs un poco laboriosa, la verdad, pero nada que no se resuelva en apenas 5 minutos.Se coloca el tablero en la mesa y sobre él 4 losetas de puntuación escogidas al azar y los marcadores de puntuación y turno. Es importante que los jugadores lean detenidamente qué efectos tienen las losetas de puntuación, ya que es el corazón del juego. Aquí es donde puede perderse algo de tiempo.Cada jugador coge una pantalla, una loseta de castillo inicial y un marcador de descarte. Y ya podemos empezar a jugar.MecánicaLa mecánica es bastante sencilla, pero no obstante jugar bien será complicado. Lo primero es fijarse en el tablero central. Cada ronda la ficha negra se moverá hacia la derecha habiendo 6 rondas para 4 o menos jugadores y 5 rondas para 5 jugadores. En cada ronda, se utilizarán para puntuar una, dos o hasta tres de las losetas de puntuación del tablero. Una vez tenemos claro qué losetas de puntuación cuentan en esa ronda, cada jugador cobra 5 monedas por su castillo y monedas adicionales por cada camino que tenga conectado a su castillo con un barril (en la propia ficha indica +1 moneda)Este jugador cobraría 7 monedasDespués viene la fase de compra venta. Cada jugador, simultáneamente, coge 3 losetas de la bolsa y las coloca detrás delante de su pantalla para que los demás jugadores las vean. Detrás de la pantalla tendrá que colocar en la misma posición que las losetas (los demás jugadores no lo ven) como mínimo una moneda en dos losetas y la ficha de descarte en la otra loseta. El jugador puede quedarse (y es conveniente) las monedas sobrantes en su mano escondidas.A continuación los jugadores [...]

Review: The Walking Dead: All Out War:: Not your typical Zombie linear equation - A solo-play review

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 21:31:47 +0000

by azelrpg IntroI Kickstarted this game based on the fact that it was based on the comic license for Walking Dead, I was intrigued by a more free-form/tactics game vs. the same old Zombicide formula, and there was a solo option for gameplay. This review is based on my solo experience with the game. Note the game may also be played competitively with a neutral zombie army controlled by both players with the flow and components basically being the same. My ratings are based on a 10-point scale, with 10 being a select few games that I'll be buried with, 5 being something that works but just isn't fun, and 1 being placed directly in the recycling bin after playing. Components (8/10)Minis are on the higher-end of board game minis, great detail on par with CMON or Conan. Some have criticized the style, but I find it's a good representation of the comic. The blockade and supplies minis are really nice, and the car minis are perfectly serviceable. I did wonder why the truck is slightly smaller than its cardboard counterpart, but it's a minor issue. The play mat included is paper, which easily points to the fact that matic assumed you'd be purchasing a better mat or using your own terrain. Nothing really egregious here, but true board-gamers may be taken aback by the simplicity of the mat. Cards are high-quality and art matches the comic perfectly. Other components are high-quality cardstock and the art is good. The movement ruler is perfectly fine, but please note that if you're purchasing the solo starter set to get an extra ruler -- that ruler is actually shorter than the one in the base set. I'm hoping Matic fixes this with the next printings. It's not off by much, so if you're not super-competitive, you may just give the slightly more experienced player the shorter ruler. The threat "spinner" is a gap. I get the concept, but I really want something that functions more like a static tracker. This would be like the threat dials in LOTR LCG or X-Wing. As is, the spinner can easily get knocked, meaning the dial shifts. To remedy this, I took some of the spare cardstock and cut a U-shaped washer insert to raise the dial flush to the face of the threat dial. The insert for the KS was on-par with a CMON Zombicide plastic insert, with spaces for each model. With so many unique models, it's a good idea to take a picture of this before you start removing -- or simply be prepared to move to another storage solution. The only real miss here is the threat dial. Overall, great stuff. Rules (8/10)The rules are laid out pretty well, I really had no major questions and picked up the gameplay rather quickly. There are quick-start rules that gradually build as you progress through, which is a great way to take in a medium-weight game pretty easily. I was pretty disappointed to find out after the fact that the products offered via the KS do not contain the full solo rules/scenarios. I had to purchase an additional starter set (Prelude to Woodbury) for the solo scenario and full solo rules (as well as the solo event deck). Also, some of the characters referenced in the early scenario in the KS edition of "Days Gone By" aren't included in the bundle - I had to buy another booster (Duane) to get those characters. I realize that Mantic communicated these as "retail exclusives" but I couldn't help feeling a bit misled as I expect a complete game with the full KS package. Gameplay (7.5/10)The flow of play involves your basic sequence of player action, zombie AI, events, and wrap-up. The key difference here from Zombicide, for comparison, is that it's a true minis game -- you move based on a ruler and you have 3D terrain. Movement is important as you can influence the movement of the zombies as running will trigger the zombies to lunge towards that noise. There's a cool donut-shaped ring that is used to determine zombie engagement range and logical rules for handling terrain. Combat is handled with dice, taking the delta of the pips with the positive being the winner.[...]

Review: Celestia: A Little Help:: "Celestia - A little help" - a conclusion (german)

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 20:13:29 +0000

by Brakus

Review-Fazit zu „Celestia – A little help“, der Erweiterung zum genialen Punktehatz-Spiel ‚Celestia‘.

für: 2-6 Spieler
ab: 8 Jahren
ca.-Spielzeit: 30min.
Autor: Aaron Weissblum
Illustration: Gaetan Noir
Verlag: BLAM!
Anleitung: englisch, französisch
Material: sprachneutral

[Download: Anleitung]

Diese kleine Erweiterung zum genialen Grundspiel hat es ganz schön in sich! Die neuen Karten werden einfach ins Ausrüstungsdeck gemischt und bringen fortan zusätzliche Abwechslung ins Spiel. Da wären die Hilfskarten, die Passagiere ausspielen können, um dem Kapitän unter die Arme zu greifen, bevor das Luftschiff abstürzt, diese Karten haben ein Handsymbol in den Ecken eingezeichnet und werden nach Gebrauch abgeworfen. Dann haben die neuen Charakterkarten besondere Fähigkeiten, die einmalig einsetzbar sind, z.B. indem ein anderer Spieler die Kapitäns Rolle übernimmt und seine (passenderen) Karten ausspielt, um dem aktuellen Ereignis entgegen zu wirken. Und die beiden neuen Powerkarten, welche einmal den Kapitän zwingen einen weiteren Würfel zu werfen sowie das Luftschiff nicht weiterfliegen lassen.
Die Regeln des Spiels bleiben soweit unangetastet und die Siegbedingungen bleiben auch gleich.

Nach einigen spassigen Testspielen darf geschlossen werden, dass die Erweiterung sich wunderbar ins Grundspiel einfügt und dem ganzen noch ein wenig mehr Kick gibt. Celestia ist und bleibt ein gutes Spiel und mit „ein bisschen Hilfe“, ist’s gleich nochmal so gut^^!

5 von 6 Punkten.

Ausgepackt: n/a


Review: Rome: Rise to Power:: "Rome - Rise to Power" - a conclusion (german)

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 20:11:47 +0000

by Brakus

Review-Fazit zu „Rome – Rise to Power“, einem nicht ganz klassischen Strategiespiel.

für: 2-4 Spieler
ab: 13 Jahren
ca.-Spielzeit: 60min.
Autor: Elad Goldsteen
Illustration: Naomi Robinson
Verlag: Golden Egg Games
Anleitung: englisch
Material: sprachneutral

[Download: Anleitung]
dt., engl.:

Über drei Epochen agieren die Spieler als römische Adlige, die ihren Einfluss und damit ihre Macht in der aufstrebenden römischen Republik ausbauen wollen.
Dies geschieht über 5 Runden hinweg, die ihrerseits in Phasen eingeteilt sind, all dies mit dem eigens von GEG für dieses und kommende Spiele erdachte RTP-System (Rise To Power). Dieses setzt auf einem bestimmten Würfel-Einsetz-Mechanismus auf, der es den Spielern erlaubt, durch taktische Vorgehensweise ihre Würfel so auf die Ationsleisten zu setzen, dass sie in späterer Reihenfolge noch ganz vorne mitspielen und damit als Erste die Aktionen ausführen können. Das Prinzip ist dabei leicht gelernt und schnell umgesetzt und sorgt für einigen Trubel in der Setzrunde^^.

Um schliesslich seine Vormachtsstellung auszubauen, muss der Spieler den Senat auf seine Seite ziehen, Gebiete erobern und über den Schwarzmarkt an Gladiotoren gelangen, um auch in der Arena glänzen zu können. Je nachdem, wieviele Würfel die Spieler zuvor eingesetzt haben, nehmen sie sich, der Reihe nach, die jeweiligen Karten – es kommt somit durchaus vor, dass ein Spieler leer ausgeht, wenn er „hinten dran sitzt“.
Hier wird ersichtlich, wie wichtig die vorherige Setzentscheidungen der eigenen Machtwürfel war bzw. wie (taktisch) geschickt der jeweilige Spieler wirklich vorgegangen ist.
Hieraus folgen später die Zwischenwertungen und zum Schluss die Endwertung, bei denen es auf entsprechende Positionierungen auf den Forumsleisten, Gebietsmehrheiten sowie gesammelten Punkten durch z.B. Arenadarbietungen ankommt, um den Sieger zu ermitteln.

„Rome“ spielt sich recht angenehm und schnell durch, ohne in Automatismen zu verfallen, so dass auch weitere Partien durchaus Spass und Sinn machen.
Das Spielmaterial ist ein wenig nüchtern geraten, aber absolut zweck- und spieldienlich (Übersicht) und der Zugang, dank gut formatierter Anleitung recht simpel. Rundum bietet sich „Rome“ sowohl Viel- wie auch Gelegenheitsspielern an.

5 von 6 Punkten.

Ausgepackt: n/a


Review: Above and Below:: Above and Below - Review

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:08:24 +0000

by gschloesser Design by Ryan LaukatPublished by Red Raven Games2 - 4 Players, 1 1/2 hoursReview by Greg J. SchloesserNOTE: This review was first published on the Opinionated Gamers website.Many gamers are familiar with Tales of the Arabian Nights, the story-telling board game designed by Eric Goldberg. The game was mainly a humorous affair, with numerous strange, bizarre and unusual encounters resulting in various stories being read, often causing unforeseen and sensational situations and scenarios. Player decisions would direct them to a specific page and paragraph in a massive tome, with the resulting story further developing the game's plot and direction. The game was usually humorous and fun, but there was, as gamers would often comment, not much "game" present. Indeed, it is usually considered an experience rather than a strategic or challenging game.Above and Below is designer Ryan Laukat's attempt to combine the storytelling feature of Arabian Knights to an actual strategic game. Players represent refugees who recently fled a horrific barbarian invasion and eventually found a new land to settle.While in the course of establishing their new village, a massive system of underground caverns and passages has been discovered. The explorations of these passages results in a plethora of unusual encounters that, while dangerous, could result in the discovery of tremendous wealth and riches.Players begin the game with their home village board, three villagers, a starting building and a few coins. The central "reputation" board primarily depicts the reputation and round tracks, and various game components, including available villagers and buildings that will be placed around it.During the course of the game, players will put their villagers to work doing various tasks. These can include, among others, training new villagers, harvesting goods, constructing new buildings and exploring the underground labyrinth. The ultimate goal is to construct the most prosperous village.Players alternate using one or more villagers to take an action, after which those villagers are exhausted and are done for that turn. Once all players have utilized all of their villagers, the turn concludes. The possible actions are:Build. Several buildings are available to construct each turn, including special "star" buildings and underground outposts. The cost to construct a specific building is listed on the card and is paid in coins. In order to construct a building, the player must utilize the skills of a villager who possesses the building attribute, clearly indicated by an appropriate symbol. The building is placed next to the player's starting board and the player may gain and/or utilize the benefits it conveys. Benefits can include additional money, more beds (needed to house villagers), goods to harvest, ability to manipulate dice rolls, and more.It is important to note that underground outposts cannot be constructed until a player has explored the underground, which earns him among--other possible items--a card upon which outposts can be constructed. These underground outposts can convey important benefits, so it is worthwhile to venture into the underground in order to be able to construct them. Plus, the underground exploration is the most fun aspect of the game.Train. More villagers means more potential actions a player may perform on his turn. Each turn five villagers are available to recruit and train. Of course, new villagers cost money, and a player must utilize the training skills of the an appropriate villager.Further, once a villager has been exhausted, the player will need enough beds in his village in order to entice them back. So, is wise to acquire buildings depicting beds in order to maintain one's villagers.Harvest. If a player has acquired buildings that produce goods, villagers must be employed to harvest those goods. Some building[...]

Review: Tumult Royale:: A fun game of being greedy, but not too greedy!

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:43:24 +0000

by Dismas Press your luck games tell you a lot about the type of person you are playing with. Some people are a bit more cautious and will only take minor, well-calculated risks. Other players are a bit more daring and will take wild chances that sometimes have only a 20% chance of working. When it works, they are brilliant. When it doesn't, they lose it all. Today, I would like to tell you about a press your luck game called Tumult Royale. Tumult Royale plays 2-4 people, ages 10+. It takes approximately 40 minutes to play and retails for $40. In Tumult Royale, you and your opponents are greedy nobles trying to erect statues of yourself throughout the kingdom. To do this, you must take bread, marble, and tools from the starving peasants. However, the peasants have had enough and will only let you take so much! Take what you can, but remember the greediest of you will be punished!Setup (For a four player game)1. Give each player their Castle Board and 25 Statues that match their color. Have each player place their Statues at the bottom of the Castle Board in their appropriate spot.2. Give each player a Mercy Card and place it to the left of the Castle Board. Put the card face up, where it says, "The people show no mercy."3. Give each player an assortment of Supporters. In a four-player game, each person gets fifteen Supporters.4. Place all the Commodity Tiles in the center of the playing area.5. Shuffle the Nobility Tiles (King/Queen, Duke/Duchess, Prince/Princess, and Earl/Countess). Have the oldest player take the top one on the stack. Then distribute the others in a clockwise manner.6. Assemble the Frame. Shuffle the ten Region Tiles. Put four face up in the center of the Frame and two face down on either side of the four in the center.7. Give the oldest player the 20 second hourglass and the Tumult Spinner.8. The lowest-ranking player (Earl/Countess) places their first statue on an unoccupied pasture field. Then, every other player in rank order, places their first statue as well.Game Play - The game is played over several rounds with each round having seven steps.1. Gauge the people's sentiment by spinning the Tumult Spinner. The number it lands on tells you how many of each commodity (bread, marble, and tools) must remain after you collect taxes.2. Collect taxes - First, have each player randomly remove three Commodity Tiles. Then, each player (with only one hand) picks up one tile at a time and decides whether to keep the tile or return it to the middle. Keep doing this until the 20 seconds are up.3. Resolve potential tumults - Flip over the remaining Commodity Tiles not taken by the players and for each commodity, see if enough remain based on the people's sentiment. If three landed on the spinner, and there are three of a commodity left, no tumult occurs. If there are less than three, the person who took the most (tie going to the highest nobility) loses three Supporters and may only keep the lowest value Commodity Tile.4. Place statues (one, two, or three depending on where you want to build) horizontally or vertically next to your other statues by paying the cost in Commodity Tiles. (Note: You can't split tiles, and if you pay more than necessary, you receive change in the form of Supporters.) Each player gets a turn to build and then another turn to build after everyone has had a chance to build.5. After placing statues, redistribute the Nobility Tiles based on who has the most Supporters.6. The new king must return five Supporters to the supply. They also get to take their next statue and place it in the Royal Chronicle.7. The player(s) who have placed the least statues receive the People's Mercy.When you reach a point in the Royal Chronicle where there are numbers underneath. Subtract the number of statues played by the person with the most from the person with the fewest. If it is greater than that number, the game [...]

Review: Suburbia Inc:: The Cardboard Herald expansion mini review - Suburbia: Inc.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:37:12 +0000

by jeddy lee

For more reviews, go to

Suburbia: Inc.
Designed by Ted Alspach
Published by Bezier Games - 2013
Review by Jack Eddy

What’s New: Bonuses, Challenges, and Borders! Awesome, jaggedy borders!. One bonus and one challenge tile are drawn randomly at the start of the game and placed face up on stacks B and C. Players fulfilling the bonus or challenge when those stacks are available are given rewards. Borders are like super-tiles that function like any other city tile, but you can only build off their interior jaggedy edge, meaning that your city will begin taking strange, OCD defying shapes. Oh yeah, you also get some extra scoring objective circular token thingys, and really interesting city tiles to add some variety to the base set.

Why it’s so good: The bonuses and challenges are an elegant little twist that gives everyone a clear mini objective to follow, or not follow, as they so choose. It nudges them in a direction and helps add value to different city tiles each game. And the borders... Oh boy, the borders. These puppies are what give your city life and character, it tells the story of what your city is, and how it came to be. Not only will it make your burrough thematically different, your city shape will change to become unique and unlike anyone else’s. Overall the expansion just adds so many cool options that are intuitive and consistent with the rules and spirit of the base game; which is amazing because it does that while ALSO enhancing the thematic imagery of expansive, sprawling, unique cities. Now that I own Inc., I can't imagine playing Suburbia without it.

This review is an excerpt from the article "Three Perfect Expansions".

If you liked this review, check out our podcast featuring interviews with creative gamers and game creators on iTunes, Stitcher, or

Review: Five Tribes: The Artisans of Naqala:: The Cardboard Herald expansion mini review - Five Tribes: The Artisans of Naqala

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:37:08 +0000

by jeddy lee

For more reviews, go to

Five Tribes: The Artisans of Naqala
Designed by - Bruno Cathala (Ca’Thal’a, Ca’Thal’a!)
Published by Days of Wonder - 2015
Review by Jack Eddy

What’s New: Five tribes get’s a 6th tribe, the purple artisans. They earn you face down treasure tokens, which are either points ranging from 5 to 9, or one time use powers! To accommodate the extra meeples, there are a few more board spaces including an impassible pit, and three tiles that have tiny wooden impassable mountain ranges placed on two of it’s sides. Also there are are a few more Djinns that play off of the treasures and artisans.

Why it’s so good: In base Five Tribes, you either saw optimum moves or you didn’t; there was never much risk in the game aside from turn order bidding and leaving good moves for your opponents. The treasure tokens entice you to consider risks when evaluating your turn, never knowing the exact reward they will net. Fortunately the artisans are inherently worth points, the treasures are never bad, and you get your choice of those drawn, so it never impacts the strategic core of the game. The impassable terrain also present interesting obstacles, causing you to migrate meeples in more interesting ways, making the board feel more dynamic and alive. Also the little wooden mountains are visually striking, making the otherwise drab board pop a bit. Plus, purple is the best color for board game pieces, so I’m happy to play with the artisans.

This review is an except of the article "Three Perfect Expansions".

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Review: Project: ELITE:: Review - Sometimes nothing beats a PB&J.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:54:50 +0000

by SpaceDragonTank Peanut butter is a rich earthy food full of fat and protein that ‘sticks to your ribs’ and has a slow savory taste either chunky or smooth. Jelly is mostly sugar, mixed with fruit to give a myriad of hues to the simple strong note of sweet. Thought individually perfectly serviceable foods there is something undeniably unique and magical about the contrasting salty and sweet of peanut butter and jelly. Project Elite presents a similarly exquisite chord of thoughtful planning sandwiched between frenetic real-time desperation. In Project Elite, 1-4 space soldiers cooperatively fight off aliens in 8 rounds of timed action. The heroes’ goals (recover, exterminate etc.) are tiles on the map where the models need to move to the tiles and then roll specific sides on the unique dice. Each round consists of your standard cooperative board game book-keeping (i.e. draw events, spawn more aliens, check for victory conditions, etc.) and a real-time portion where each player is frantically rolling 4 dice to shoot weapons, search for equipment, move and complete mission tiles. The unique dice have 6 sides: running person, wrench, magnifying glass, hand, gun and alien. Five of the sides of the dice are good with the alien side being the single ‘bad side.’ When you roll an alien side you must immediately move an alien one step closer to the heroes’ side of the board. Each map (of which there are two in the main game and two in the expansion) has one end that is the Heroes’ and opposing side from which the aliens spawn. Each space can only contain one model, alien or hero, and when moving the aliens they follow proscribed arrows on the board. If any alien makes it to the heroes’ starting space of the board they lose the game. The heroes must complete their goals and return to the start space before the 8 rounds are up. Real-time games are nothing really new as the old school Space Hulk required the Space Marine player to finish their turn with a time limit. Other games like Space Alert, Space Cadets: Dice Duel, Escape and Captain Sonar all use time pressure to create excitement and to me are like jelly in several ways. There is a 'real-time high' akin to a sugar high that is intense and can lead to perspiration. Eating straight jelly is not usually recommended and while I thoroughly enjoy all of the previously listed real-time games they can be stressful and usually aren’t played more than once. Players often want to ‘take a break’ from the stress or ‘have a moment to think’ so the real-time jelly is an accent to game night not the main course. Also just like jelly, if you don’t like sweets (real-time pressure) you probably are not going to like any of those games even if they have slightly different flavors (strawberry=submarine, grape=star trek, etc.). The genius of Project Elite is that by breaking the real-time segments into small manageable bites (2:00 per round) there is time to look at the board and strategize. The break also allows for more complicated exceptions and additional rules, like special events to be added that are usually impossible to add to real-time games. The players also can catch their breath, critique their decisions, count up distances, double check rules, prioritize targets and make a plan for the coming round. This adds real weight to the game and increases the opportunity for thoughtfulness (peanut butter) that is often lacking from other real-time games. Careful planning is an integral part of this game which is such a delicious counterpoint to he panicked scrambling of the heroes action phase. A word about the production. This game was kickstarted and had several delays. The initial round of miniatures were also of very low quality. I personally was dismayed when[...]

Review: World War 5:: The worst Pyramid Arcade game so far

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:49:25 +0000

by geerhead

There is already one post summarizing how the game works, and the rules are available here:

So this will be a description of my impressions of the game.

We tried it with 4 players last night and I doubt it will ever hit the table again. We just went round and round for half an hour, accomplishing nothing. One player would attack another, and because the board was so full, instead of being displaced, the losing defender would be shrunk one size. Then on the defender's next turn they'd grow again. Essentially a long-term stalemate (with some variety in the specifics). No-one gaining any real ground. We would just bash on our closest neighbor for several rounds, someone would try something different and eventually get 2 pyramids in a foreign continent, the rest of us would gang up on them just long enough to prevent them from winning, then it was every man for himself again.

Nobody was making alliances, and I feel like that's kind of what you'd have to do - everyone work together to wipe one player off the board, then wipe a second player off the board, then with 2p you can chase each other around the map a bit and more easily push the other out of the continent you want.

But I don't like being forced to use a particular strategy in order to make the game function. And I don't mean "if one player doesn't use this strategy they will lose to a more skilled player," I mean "if all the players don't collectively use this strategy, the game stops working." I want to be able to choose how to play, and if the result of my choice is I lose, fine - I'll do something different next time. But if the result of my choice is that there's essentially no more game for anyone, I'd say there's something wrong with the game.

Review: Leaving Earth:: Probably my favourite game right now

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:18:15 +0000

by Firedrake Leaving Earth, designed by Joseph Fatula, is a game of the exploration of the solar system for 1-5 players.A warning to my British audience first: you can't easily buy this in the United Kingdom. Lumenaris Games is a small company without ready access to distribution channels outside the USA, so it's up to individual resellers to get stock in for themselves. BoardGameGuru in the UK, 4Dados in Spain and Philibert in France are all worth trying, generally in increasing order of cost. And every time a new expansion comes out I organise a bulk buy to the UK to split the cost of VAT collection among as many people as possible.Many complex boardgames tend to go down one of two routes: the euro-style game with minimal conflict, little or no randomness, minimal components and elegant mechanics, for example Puerto Rico or Power Grid; and a score calculated at the end, or the "Ameritrash" (I prefer "glorious mess"), with lots of conflict, lots of randomness, lots of stuff in the box, quite possibly lots of special-case rules, and progressive strengthening or weakening of players such that it's pretty clear who's in the lead at any moment, for example Firefly or Cosmic Encounter. Leaving Earth, while it's more towards the "glorious mess" end of the scale, doesn't neatly fit into either category: the mechanics are fairly clean and simple, but you still get a lot of stuff, and it's usually pretty clear at any moment who's winning but you can get surprise upsets late in the game.Enough philosophising: what do you get? A tile-based map of the inner solar system; all but a very few copies come with the Mercury mini-expansion, so you get that, Venus, Luna, Mars and Phobos, and Ceres, most of which also have a Fly-By and an Orbit location. But many of these locations have more than one tile: that's because you don't know, when you start any given game, exactly what surface conditions are like on any of those other worlds. Maybe Venus' clouds hide vast oceans of liquid water, and astronauts will be able to live there indefinitely; maybe there's alien life; maybe instead there will be massive heat and pressure that destroy any spacecraft which lands. You won't know until you go there and take a look.So how do you go there? That's the core of the game: each location tile offers one or more manoeuvres to get to nearby locations. These have difficulty ratings from 0 to 9, which determine how much impulse ("thrust" in the game's deliberately non-intimidating language) per mass a vehicle has to have to complete that manoeuvre. Getting to most locations will require multiple manoeuvres, and you can throw away the rockets you used in earlier stages, leaving you with less mass to push to the end.This does mean that mission planning can be a fairly lengthy process, with a fair bit of (simple) maths involved, and I think it's worth going into a detailed example here, because I know it will put off some players. Say I want to land a probe (mass 1) on the Moon. If I do it from lunar orbit, that's difficulty 2, and a single Juno with thrust 4 will easily do it (the four standard rocket types are Juno, Atlas, Soyuz and Saturn, though they represent single stages rather than complete stacks). That gives me a mass-2 package to put into lunar orbit, which is difficulty 3 from earth orbit; I could do that by strapping six more Junos together, but a cheaper way is to use a single Atlas, with thrust 27. So what I need to put into earth orbit is one Atlas, one Juno and a probe. The trick is that the mass of the rockets being burned to perform a manoeuvre is included in the total mass of the spacecraft that has to be pushed; a player reference card lets you do this the easy way, and simply look up that if you're using an Atl[...]

Review: Way Out West:: Recensione di Way Out West (italiano)

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:09:42 +0000

by dimarco70 NOTA: Questo articolo è comparso la prima volta su ILSA (Informazione Ludica a Scatola Aperta), del secolo scorso: la Warfrog Games comincia ad abbandonare gli standard tipici di una casa di autoproduzione (anonime scatole bianche con sopra incollata una fotocopia in bianco e nero della copertina, plance di carta e segnalini stampati su cartoncino colorato) per produrre giochi che rispettano canoni di produzione più elevati. Wallace sceglie Peter Dennis come artista e gli affida la realizzazione della componente artistica dei giochi (e il sodalizio continua tutt'ora, con la realizzazione di titoli come Brass, Age of Steam, Automobile, A Few Acres of Snow, Tinners' Trail, Liberté, Perikles e Byzantium).Uno dei primi titoli nati dopo questo cambio di direzione è proprio Way Out West, gioco che cerca di ricreare il classico scenario da film Western, con piccole cittadine che sorgono in canyon polverosi e si popolano di rissosi cowboy che non perdono occasione per sfidarsi in scontri a fuoco all'ultimo sangue.I materialiNella scatola, dominata dal colore giallo ocra, trovano posto un tabellone (anch'esso dominato dalllo stesso colore, che raffigura 5 città disposte in ordine crescente di capienza, una traccia dei turni, una traccia per l'ordine di turno, una zona delle azioni), segnalini di cartone nei cinque colori dei giocatori, segnalino denaro e "Wanted", anch'essi in cartone, segnalini di legno, e 4 dadi standard. Materiali robusti ma spartani e "datati": tutta la cartotecnica è stampata da un solo lato. Il regolamento è in bianco e nero, praticamente privo di illustrazioni ed esempi.Scelta azioni e scontri a fuocoUna partita di Way Out West dura 9 turni (se si gioca in più di 3 giocatori) oppure 12 (se i giocatori attorno al tavolo sono esattamente 3). Ogni turno è composto dalle seguenti fasi:- Asta per l'ordine di turno: seguendo l'ordine di turno precedente, ogni giocatore decide se uscire dall'asta (pagando quello che ha puntato fino a quel momento e occupando il posto libero più arretrato sull'ordine di turno, oppure superare l'attuale offerta più alta. Si prosegue finché tutti hanno pagato e il nuovo ordine è determinato.- Fase delle azioni: per due volte, in ordine di turno, i giocatori piazzano uno dei due segnalini a loro disposizione su uno spazio azione non ancora occupato, ed eseguono l'attività corrispondente. Ecco le possibi scelte:1) Acquistare mandrie (3/4 spazi disponibili): comprare 1 o 2 segnalini mandria del proprio colore (costo 1 moneta per segnalino), mettendone una per recinto vuoto, in una città in cui si ha almeno un cowboy. Si può mettere una mandria in un recinto di una città solo se la città precedente ha almeno la metà dei propri recinti occupata.2) Assoldare cowboy (3/4 spazi disponibili): prendere due nuovi segnalini cowboy del proprio colore (pagandoli 1 moneta ciascuno) e piazzarli nelle città, senza vincoli.3) Costruire un edificio o un mezzo di trasporto (1 spazio disponibile per ogni edificio/mezzo): ogni città può avere al più un segnalino per tipo, e l'azione di costruzione può essere intrapresa in una città solo se si controllano meno di due segnalini. I tipi sono 6: prigione (costo 3 monete, fornisce un cowboy aggiuntivo che può essere usato, a discrezione del controllore della prigione, per difendere chi viene attaccato in uno scontro a fuoco), emporio (costo 5 monete, in fase di rendita fornisce denaro in base alle mandrie degli altri giocatori presenti in città), albergo (costo 7 monete, in fase di rendita fornisce denaro in base ai cowboy degli altri giocatori presenti in città), banca (costo 10 monete, in fase di rendita fornisce denaro in base agli [...]

Review: Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer's Manor:: Escape the Room Stargazer's Manor Review: There's potential here.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:23:20 +0000

by McKell

I adore the Escape Game phenomenon, and was excited to try out this board game attempt to capture the same type of feeling and fun. Here’s a SPOILER FREE look at ThinkFun’s home version.

Basic Gameplay:

There is a brief instruction manual that introduces the concept of the game and sets the stage, but really everything the players need to know is explained on the various pieces that will be part of the game. At the beginning the players are presented with five sealed envelopes depicting various areas of the Manor and the first Scene Card. The card sets up the story context for the game and walks the players through how the solution wheel works in a nice little intro. It then points players to the first envelope to begin the game proper.

The solution wheel is particularly well done. Solutions to each puzzle / envelope are indicated by paired colors and symbols, and if correctly entered into the wheel a symbol matching the current puzzle will be shown in two places on the wheel, indicating that envelope should then be opened.

General Thoughts:

Stargazer’s Manor is well designed and produced, and reasonably thematic. The puzzles make sense and are pretty well held together with the story framing. The quality of components is high, particularly at the price point. A good job was done overall evoking a location and providing some hands on puzzling without getting crazy in the cost department, but there is of course a visceral feeling to the exploration of an Escape Room that can’t be captured in a primarily 2d game.

The box says it accommodates 3-8 players, and given this type of game can only be played with a given group once we went with the maximum to get as many people involved as possible.

It may have been because all but one of us have previously played an actual Escape Room and were experienced puzzlers, but we didn’t need nearly that many people and it was tough keeping everyone involved since it’s mostly a “one puzzle at a time” experience. Four of us would have been plenty, and that’s the number my intuition recommends trying this with.

We found the puzzles on the easy side, but still had fun and again it might have been because of our experience level. The game tends to point you rather directly at the next thing to solve, which is a bit of unnecessary handholding given how few things there are to choose between.

Outside of possible tape damage to some paper pieces if you aren’t careful when opening things, none of the components are permanently marked while playing. Combined with instructions on the website on how to put everything back in the proper envelopes when finished, the game can be packed back up afterwards and given to a new group to try. Nice touch by ThinkFun.


So in conclusion while Escape the Room: Mystery at The Stargazer’s Manor is not quite equal to its inspirational namesake and tends to the easy side, it’s still a fun experience well worth trying out. ThinkFun has another out already (Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat) which I’ll definitely try sometime.

-Xyon McKell

Review: City of Spies: Estoril 1942:: Enjoy Your Stay in the ‘City of Spies: Estoril 1942’ (GeekDad review)

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 08:41:12 +0000

by jhliu (Note: this review was originally posted on GeekDad:, Portugal, is known for its beach, lovely weather, and casino. And during World War II, it was a hotbed of espionage. Welcome to the City of Spies.At a glance: City of Spies is a game designed by Gil d'Orey and Antonio Sousa Lara for 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, and takes about 45–60 minutes to play. It retails for $49.95 and is available in stores and online. The game is about using hidden information to win battles to recruit new spies, and is a combination of area control, bluffing, and set collection. City of Spies components. Photo: Jonathan H. LiuComponents 30 Cubes (6 each in yellow, blue, green, red, and white) 2 Dice 12 Mission tiles 27 Character tiles 24 Starting Character tiles (6 each for 4 players) 8 Location boards 1st Player tile 4 Player Aid cardsAll of the tiles are sturdy cardboard punch-outs, so although they function much like cards, they're thicker and more durable and substantial. The dice are small wooden dice—nothing fancy—and the wooden cubes are standard.The location boards have artwork in the background representing the location, and various icons indicating things like the order the boards will be resolved in, special properties of each board, and special peek abilities for certain locations. There's not much text on the boards other than the names of the locations and the "Top Secret" stamp used to indicate that tiles are played face-down, so you'll have to look up the rules for each location the first time you play. However, once you've learned the game, the icons are generally enough.There's only one board that's easy to forget the special rules: the beach. At the beach, all tiles are played face-up, but the way it's indicated is that there aren't "Top Secret" stamps on the locations. However, the absence of an icon doesn't work as well as a reminder—I think it would have been nice to have some additional icon there. A small sample of the character tiles. Photo: Jonathan H. LiuThe character tiles are fun, with various portraits of spies from different countries. There are some real people included, like Hedy Lamar, Ian Fleming, and Zsa Zsa Gabor (who, as far as I know, was not actually a spy in real life), but most are not figures I recognize and may or may not be based on actual historical figures. Each tile has various icons showing the spy's power, nationality, special abilities, and point value. The women are also marked with the "female" symbol but the men aren't marked with the "male" symbol—I suppose that's because there's a mission that awards points for female spies, but it does seem a bit imbalanced to mark one and not the other.The player aid cards are handy for explaining the turn order and the character abilities, but they do not explain the location special rules or the "peek" abilities on the location boards. The box size is a bit large for the contents—it could fit easily in a Carcassonne-size box (once the components are punched out).How to PlayThe object of the game is to build the most valuable team of spies by the end of four rounds—each spy has a point value, but there are also missions in play that will award points to the players whose teams match the mission.To set up, give each player the 6 starting tiles, player aid, and cubes of their chosen color. (White cubes are used for the diplomacy ability and are not a player color.) The number of cubes you receive depends on the number of players—the more players, the fewer cubes each player gets. Each game will have four randomly chosen missions. Photo: J[...]

Review: New Angeles:: Dealing with the devil - a review of New Angeles

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 06:02:02 +0000

by nlshelton New Angeles is a semi-cooperative, wheeling-and-dealing game for 4 to 6 players from Fantasy Flight Games. You play as one of the megacorporations of the Android Universe in control of the titular city, helping to ensure that the city's demands are met (so as to forestall government intervention) while simultaneously increasing your own capital as much as possible in an effort to outshine your individual corporate rival. One player is very likely a Federalist, who wants to see the endgame condition that spells a loss for everyone else, so be prepared for shenanigans. But what sets this game apart are its very interesting action selection mechanic and the decisions you make in pursuit of meeting your hidden goal.The game is divided into 6 rounds, and every two rounds the city has demands that are evaluated. These require you to make some amount of 5 different resources, or you fail and threat goes up. (Threat gets to 25 and game over, man.) Most actions taken during the game will be directly in service of generating these resources, either by relocating your android workforce to districts that make what you need, or handling the negative aftereffects of exploiting your robotic labor (quelling riots, repairing outages, etc.) Each round has between three and five turns, and therefore each player is guaranteed at least one turn as the "active player" in this two-round cycle.I like to imagine the main part of each turn - the offer - as a city council meeting. The active player proposes a Main Offer of one of the action cards from their hand. "This is my proposal for our next priority action, here is what we should do." Other players have an opportunity to counteroffer - "Your plan stinks, here is my superior plan" - and then if a counteroffer has been played there is a vote performed by the remaining players. Voting is done by cards, which are a scarce and valuable commodity. The winner of the offer not only performs their selected action in whatever manner they see fit, but they also are rewarded with a powerful asset card which may award you with a game-breaking onetime effect or an ability you can trigger multiple times during the game.This offer/support turn structure is fascinating because of all the negotiation that occurs. Players can offer capital (a player's currency) or earned asset cards in trades, as well as making non-binding future promises. Maybe I really want my counteroffer to go through so I can earn that sexy asset, so I'll offer the last person to vote 2 capital in order to secure the card or two that will give me the win. Or perhaps someone else makes an attempted trade, and I counter by saying I'll throw you a little cash in exchange for your abstention. You can get as nitty gritty with it as you like. Everyone knows in general what actions need to happen in order for the group to meet its goals, but you can earn some profit along the way, right?This is important because, while you can lose as a group, you win on your own. Your personal victory condition is (unless you're the Federalist) to have more capital at game end than the corp whose card you draw on your rival card. Someone will be at the bottom of the totem pole, so it's impossible for everyone to win. To this end, you are going to need capital. Lots of it. And while you might not necessarily care about being in the lead, you need to be ahead of your rival. Which might motivate you to make some pretty shady moves.Capital is earned in a few different ways. The most straightforward is by the contract on your company sheet - essentially when you do whatever you're most good at you'll earn some dough. Weyl[...]

Review: Dwar7s Fall:: Dwar7s Fall

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 06:00:47 +0000

by GameGeekNinja If there’s one thing dwarves like to do, it’s hoard things. This time it’s gems, but really it’s supplies. See, it’s fall and apparently it’s about to be winter (notice how I refrained from saying “Winter is Coming”).Dwar7s Fall (or 7 Dwarfs Fall) is a worker placement game with area control and “take that” aspects built in. You are managing a group of dwarves struggling to prepare for the winter by stockpiling supplies. In order to purchase these supplies, you must mine gems and spend them at the General Store. The first player to fully stock up for the winter (complete 3 goals) wins.So what’s the gameplay like?Each turn, you can perform 3 actions (4 if your Castle is in play). On your turn, you can place Meeples, move your Meeples, or place Kingdom tiles. You can perform any of these actions multiple times as long as you have actions remaining. You can also play any Ogre cards you have gained for free (doesn’t count as an action).Your objective is to mine enough gems to complete 3 goal cards, which triggers the end of the game. You also will be playing Kingdom tiles to build up your Kingdom and take areas away from opponents. At the end of the game, any tiles within your walls (if your Castle is present) count toward your Victory Point total.There are also 5 different types of tiles that are activated or defeated by placing your Dwarf Meeples on them. Castle tiles allow you to “dig” other tiles and give you an additional action when present on the board.You can even place your Meeples on other players’ Castles and use the “dig” ability there.Mine tiles allow you to collect different types of gems:Tavern tiles allow you to hire Ogres to do your dirty work for you:General Store tiles allow you to trade in your gems for Trading Goals:Monster tiles have a negative effect on tiles of the same kind within the walls of a Kingdom:All of these tiles have walls on them, which denote the borders of everyone’s Kingdoms (if their Castles are in play).These, of course, are the most basic actions available. You can compound and combine them differently each turn. You can stack tiles on top of other tiles (up to 3 high). You can dig tiles back out from under since-placed tiles. You can use Ogre cards to move your opponents’ Meeples. Basically almost anything you can think of to do is fair game.If you place enough Meeples on a tile to activate it, you reap its reward and then your Meeples come back to you to be placed the next round. If you haven’t, you can build them up over several rounds and then activate the tile. There are many other tiny things to consider as well. For example, if you have a Meeple on a tile, no one can stack on top of it or move it without an Ogre card. If you place a monster in someone’s Kingdom and one of your Meeples on top of it, it becomes extremely hard to get rid of. These are just two examples, but as you can see, the game gets deeper the more you think about it and play it.Thoughts:First off, let me say that I really like this game. The more that I play it and think about it, the more I get it. You see, it’s deceptively simple and yet I think it’ll hold up even after playing it a bunch.The gameplay is pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. That’s sounds weird, but it’s true. It took me a minute to understand the series of actions you could choose to perform each turn, but once I did, it opened the game to a lot more strategy.It is a very sound worker-placement game, but also has a significant “take that” aspect to screw with other players. I like this p[...]

Review: Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game:: My 8 points on Once Upon a Time

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 06:00:13 +0000

by jodokast4

I've owned this game for quite a while now and played many games with many different people. I recently picked up my fifth expansion to the game (Enchanting, Knightly, Seafaring, Animal, Fairy) and I couldn't be happier. I've also bought this game as a gift for several people.

I'll start with first impressions.

I wanted this game for a long time because the blurb on the back of the box really interested me. When I got it, I was not disappointed.

My thoughts:
1. Each player has their own Ending card, so each person is trying to shape the story in a different way, including introducing characters, themes, and such that they need present at the end of the game. This can be an exciting aspect of the game when you realize your opponent needs some character for a love story that you don't need and kill him off.(image)

2. Interrupt cards are great for competitive storytelling, but not so great for sparking the imagination like the cards with pictures on them. I wish they had pictures on the interrupt cards.

3. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but sit and listen to the story. The rulebook suggests that you ask the storyteller for more details to try to get them to mention something on one of your cards. Sometimes that works, mostly it doesn't. If you are in a big game, maybe one of the other players will help you, but sometimes you sit and listen. If you're lucky, the story you are hearing is interesting at least.

4. The more you play with the same people, the more you will enjoy playing with those people, generally. You get to understand the kind of stories you each like telling and can move to that type of game much more quickly. New players take some time to learn the pacing and grow confident in their storytelling.

5. Foreshadowing is the most useful thing you can do. Mention that your band of heroes needs to go to the tower (while holding a card that says tower) and don't actually play the card so you can give yourself an opening to steal the story back later on. This gives you the opportunity to be descriptive without going to words that other players might have.

6. As players become more familiar with the game, they tend to shy away from words they know are on other cards in the game.

7. My favorite way to play the game is in a more cooperative format in which every player takes turns telling the story while working toward a common ending. This allows for the best narratives the game can produce because you are not suddenly heading in random directions when a new player takes control of the story.

8. Lastly, I absolutely love this game. It's a great way to explore the imagination and have a few laughs with your friends!

Review: The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport:: RDI: Battle For Greyport

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 02:51:21 +0000

by GameGeekNinja New Red Dragon Inn themed game? Yes! It’ll be great. It’ll be funny. I want it now.So, here we go.Red Dragon Inn: Battle For Greyport is set in the Red Dragon Inn universe, but is not at all like any of the Red Dragon Inn games. Instead of getting drunk and gambling at the Inn after raiding our favorite dungeons, we find ourselves ambushed in town before we can even get started drinking. Now our intrepid adventures must use their actual battle abilities to confront a series of villains, and everyone must survive.Red Dragon Inn is almost strictly a “take that” game. Battle For Greyport is a cooperative game in which you must all work together to take out the bad guys and survive to the end of the battle.Red Dragon Inn is a casual, fun, sometimes brainless game that you can pull out almost anytime for an opening session of gaming or an end of the night, light cleanser. Battle For Greyport is not. It is not easy. It is not really casual. It is not brainless. It takes everybody working together very closely for you to win. But it is possible.Gameplay:This review would be 45 million pages long if I tried to describe every detail of the gameplay, but I’ll give you an overview. (There is a video here that is easier to understand).Basically, some of the characters from Red Dragon Inn have made their way into this game. Dierdre the Priestess, Zot the WIzard, Gerki the Sneak, and Fiona the Volatile are all back for more fun.At the beginning of the game, you will choose one character and take their starting deck (9 rather simple, not very powerful cards). You will also take their character card, which is a much better option. You will choose a scenario to play; each one has between 2 and 3 locations to save and usually a Boss villain to fight. You and your fellow adventurers must work your way through all of the encounters and survive in order to win the game. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Very Wrong.Each encounter within the scenario has a certain number of Threat points (skulls) that denotes how many Monster cards you place at the location and how many Monster cards you place in front of you at the start of the encounter.So basically you start by being overwhelmed by enemies and with less-than-stellar cards (yay).Each round, everyone gets to act in any order the party sees fit. If Player 3 wants to attack first, cool. If Player 2 is dying to go first, okay. Any order is fine. But here’s the kicker: only one of the sets of enemies can be attacked each round. For every round, there is a Defending Player – this changes each round. The Monster cards that are in front of the Defending Player are the Active Monster and must be attacked first.If all of those are defeated, you can start on the Location enemy cards. But next round, the Defending Player rotates to the left and the enemy cards in front of that player are now the Active enemies and must be defeated before once again attacking the enemies at the Location. If the Active Monsters and Location Monsters are not defeated by the end of the round, they counterattack and cause damage (the Active Monsters to the Defending player and the Location Monsters to the Location).All of this actually works out though, because if all of the Monsters were active all of the time, the game would not last very long at all – everyone would die very quickly.It’s not all bad news, though. After each round, the Defending Player gets to recruit a new Hero or Item from the Market, using gold, silver, or copper coins (presumably found[...]

Review: Capture: A Medieval Wargame:: A Brief Review

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 23:53:55 +0000

by huckleberryfinn

Game: Capture: A Midievil Waregame
Author: Huckleberry Carignan (my first review - be easy on me)
Date: Dec.,5, 2016

I invested in "Capture: A Midievil Waregame" on KickStarter in May 2015. I have to say this game was worth the wait. The strategy game is simple, get some crowns from enemy territory onto your home territory. It's the moving mechanics that I found to be a nice change.

For those of you who know nothing of the game, you roll two different colored 6 sided dice to provide movement. One dice provides movement for your pieces on your home territory and one dice roll provides dice movement for your pieces on the enemy territory. Also, the dice have number 4-9 on the home territory dice and 7-11 on the enemy territory dice. You also can have 3 seperate pieces move with those dice rolls. If you have 3 pieces in enemy territory and roll an 11 on the correct colored dice, each piece can move 11 spaces.

The game is designed to encourage action - attacking as well as defending. If you have no pieces on one of those sides, one of the dice rolls is worthless to you. Also the dice rolls to move your pieces on enemy territory are higher which encourages you to engage.

The coup de gras is the catapult twist. On certain dice rolls you can shoot a boulder into enemy territory to kill an an opponent's piece (be sure not to hit your own). My children did this with deadly accuracy.

We did change some rules for our benefit - we allowed people to use as many treasure cards as they wanted on their turn. That made the game more exciting for us.

We played twice: each game with 4 people (2 on 2) and each game lasted about 2-3 hours. I think it would take about an hour or less with 2 people. My family can handle about an 1 hour long game before interests start to wain. With this game we lost track of time - it was that good.

If there is a con about this game it would be the rule book. It could have been laid out better. I might design and upload a better cheatsheet.

This game was definitely a nice surprise. I expected a simple boring pawn moving
game where people sometimes use a catapult, but we actually found the game enjoyable without the catapults.


Review: Morpheus:: Unpolished and rough

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:47:09 +0000

by mkozlows

So this is a game published by a company co-founded by the guy who did both the art and game design on this. Which doesn't surprise me, because the kindest thing I can say about the design of this game is that the guy's a decent artist.

Okay, that's not totally fair. The core design here could be the basis for a decent game. It's fundamentally a crafting game with action selection and resources and various suit-matching bonuses, and if it had been developed out competently, it could be a forgettable mid-weight Euro with appealing art.

But in fact, it's a mess. Some actions in the game are seemingly pointless, others are staggeringly important but can be randomly placed such that they're almost impossible to use, and there are in general lots of design decisions that had me convinced that if I read the manual one more time, it would say something other than what it clearly says, something that actually made sense. The manual does appear to be poorly translated, so it's possible that there's a better game hiding behind an impenetrable manual, but... well, like I say, even if this were polished up all nice, it'd just be forgettable. There's nothing here that makes this anything other than a fairly generic Euro. Decisions are generally pretty obvious, strategies very straightforward, and there's just little of any interest here.

Review: Star Wars: Destiny:: A love/annoy relationship

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:10:51 +0000

by gamjuven Here is my review of Star Wars Destiny. I also have the review (with pictures!) on my blog. Read it here: you'd rather just scroll down to the pros/cons list feel free!Fantasy Flight Games has just released their new game, Star Wars Destiny this week. It has been highly anticipated and very high in demand if prices on ebay are any indication. I got the chance to demo the game at Gencon earlier this year and I was very impressed. I am not a big fan of the distribution model but the game is entertaining enough to warrant a purchase/play in my opinion.Star Wars Destiny is a collectible dice/card game. Sort of Dicemasters meets Epic Duels meets Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn. You can relive your favorite what-if scenarios (does anybody do that?) using characters from the Star Wars Universe spanning all the movies and at least references to other TV shows like Rebels. You use a combination of dice and cards to defeat your opponent's characters or force them to draw their last card.Each player brings to the table their characters, which all have a point value and can't exceed 30 pts, and the accompanying character dice. You can take an elite version of a character which costs more pts, but allows you to take a second die for that character. You also bring 30 cards exactly from your collection, with no more than 2 of each card. These cards must belong to the same color as one of your characters (Red - Military, Blue - The Force, and Yellow - Rogue, Gray- Neutral and can be included anywhere), and either have to match their faction (Hero or Villain) or be neutral. For example, Admiral Ackbar is considered a Red Hero, and so if you wanted a deck using just him you could only include red hero cards or red or grey neutral cards. Cards can either be events, upgrades, or supports. Some cards come with a die that can be used on your turn so you must bring those accompanying dice as well. Lastly, you need to bring a battlefield card and we'll get back to that. There are also a number of tokens that both players need access to that include damage, resource, and shield tokens.On your turn you will take a single action, then your opponent will go.Your actions are, using the easy-to-remember acronym PARDUC:Play a card from your handActivate a character or supportResolve your diceDiscard a card to reroll your diceUse a card actionClaim the battlefield.Cards in play start with their dice on them. If you play a support or upgrade that includes dice, they come in with the dice on them. When you activate a character you turn the character card sideways (exhaust) take all of their dice and any upgrade dice they have, and roll them all. That is one action. On future turns you may do something like resolve your dice, which will allow you to use any number of the same dice that share a symbol. Meaning if Captain Phasma and a First Order Stormtrooper both have ranged symbol dice in play, you may resolve all of them and deal damage to your opponent's characters.Dice have a variety of faces, which make up the even more easy-to-remember acronym MRSRDDFSB:Melee or Range Damage - Deals that much damage to a character. Melee and Range count as different symbols so you can only resolve one type in a resolve actionShield - Give a character that many shield tokens (max of 3 per character), which allow you to prevent 1 damage eachResource - Gain that many resource tokens which are used to p[...]

Review: The Flow of History:: Give Peace a Chance - A Review of The Flow of History

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 15:24:57 +0000

by lowbeam When Moaideas Game Design / Jesse Li announced that they were making another civilization(hence abbreviated as "civ")-themed game, I was apprehensive. I owned Guns & Steel and G&S:Renaissance, and was worried that the two might be too similar to warrant getting both. I have a penchant for civ games, yes, even the abstract ones like Progress: Evolution of Technology, but without any prior knowledge my worry of repetitive mechanics held me back. However, a friend of mine brought it to the table, and by the end of it I was searching for the Buy button on their website. It has provided surprises in the amount of game it packs in the box, and how different it felt from other similarly-themed games.What works:- Fast civ-themed game- Interesting Bidding Mechanics- Thematic card abilitiesWhat raises concern:- Replayability in the long run- Take-that aspect may turn off certain players- More Tactical than StrategicIntroductionThe Flow of History is a 67-cards civ-themed game where players acquire technologies, recruit leaders, raise armies and defenses and more, through the acquisition of cards in the central Market. Players can either Invest in a card by bidding a number of Resource Tokens(RT, the currency in this game) and hoping to Complete it in a future round, or Snipe another player's investment by matching the bid. The game compensates the victim of the snipe with half of the supply pool and even more if trade icons are present. Some of the cards provide an immediate effect, including attacks on other players, while others provide either permanent abilities / icons or special actions that the owners may Activate. Resource Tokens maybe obtained through several means, such as Harvesting from the supply or as compensation for being sniped by other players.Much of the game revolves around the valuation of the cards in the Market to determine the amount of RTs to Invest or to Snipe another card. The timing to Complete the investment is critical too, as the immediate powers of cards can be situational. After every completion, the RTs lay in the Supply, where it is a limited pool that grows until someone Harvests and takes half of that pool away, or receives half of the pool for being sniped.Similar to other civ games, the cards obtained are of several categories differentiated by colour, with only the latest card of each color at the top with its abilities visible and the rest splayed to show the icons at the bottom. The exceptions are the leaders, where the new leader replaces the old leader completely, and the wonders, where none of them are replaced or covered.The game ends when either the last card, "The Future" is placed in the market or acquired by players. Points are gathered through icons (1 per every culture icon, 1 per every 2 other icons) and scoring cards.StrengthsFast Civ-themed Game: Compared to many games with this theme, The Flow of History is much shorter, with games ranging from 60-90 minutes. Yet the satisfaction of building a unique tableau from other players is quite comparable to other lengthier games. It's an ideal "filler" civ game in between longer ones.Interesting Bidding Mechanics: The mechanics of investing and sniping reminds me of Isle of Skye, where the players set prices for items (cards in the case of The Flow of History) according to whether the desire is for the items to be bought or not. To ensure ownership of a card one can bid high, but another player eyeing fo[...]

Review: Camel Up Cards:: Camel Up Race Cards Replace Board Amongst Other Changes

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 15:24:33 +0000

by Chris Baylis STEFFEN BOGEN: CAMEL UP CARDS2-6 players aged 8+ 30-60 minutesCAMEL UP CARDS is the card game variant of 2014’s super hit boardgame CAMEL UP. The differences between this edition and the original boardgame are more than enough to warrant publishing them as a separate game rather than as an expansion. So to the question “Do I need this version when I already have CAMEL UP and CAMEL UP SUPERCUP?” My answer is “I suppose you don’t really need any game, but CAMEL UP is such a good game that having a more portable version can only be a good thing.”Although there is no board per se there are Race Track cards that are laid on your table, or playing area, end to end, to create the course. The race is held over Legs, a number of cards being used in each Leg, and usually lasts about 3 Legs. The length of the course is originally determined by the number of players. With 2 players the length is set to 15 spaces (or 7½ cards) expanding by one half of a card for each other player. There is a possibility that prior to the last Leg of the race the course has less that 3 spaces between the leading Camel(s) and the finishing post. If this is the case then the track has to be extended by adding the remaining track cards previously left in the box.A Leg ends when all the Race cards have been flipped and the camels moved accordingly. Then there is a scoring and the betting cards, except the Last/First cards are returned to their respective stacks. Then the process of shuffling, dealing and whittling down to a set number of cards for the Race deck begins again. It is a good, easy mechanic that plays perfectly well with up to six players, and at a reasonable pace which keeps the adrenaline buzz of the betting and racing high.Movement in CAMEL UP is by the ingenious Dice Pyramid where there is one die of the same colour for each Camel and the number shown on that die is the number of spaces the Camel moves. In CAMEL UP CARDS, movement is by the flipping over of Race cards from the prepared and shuffled deck, and moving the Camel appropriate to the colour on the card the one or two spaces depicted. The race deck is created by a short series of dealing and selecting cards from your hand for the Race deck, and then from the two remaining cards choosing one to hold onto and one shown to all players before being added to the Race deck. This way everyone knows some but not all of the cards in the Race deck.CAMELS still move the same way as in the boardgame, either solo or in stacks. The colour of the camel being moved takes with it all the camels that are on top of it leaving behind any that are below it. If one or more camels move onto a space containing one or more other camels they are placed on top of the camels occupying the space. When a stack of camels crosses the finishing line the camel on the top of the stack crosses first.Totally new for the card game are the Fox (Fennec) and the Palm Tree which take the place of the players plus (+) and minus (-) tiles. These new pieces can be placed on the board to send a camel, or stack of camels, forwards or backwards one space, and then once landed on they are removed from the track and made ready to be placed again. There is obviously money in the game as the way to win is by betting on the result of each Leg of the race. Instead of coins the money is on cards, one having a 9 on one side and 10 on the other; the other mon[...]

Review: Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport:: The Cardboard Herald expansion mini review - Scoundrels of Skullport

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:33:51 +0000

by jeddy lee For more reviews, go to www.cardboardherald.comLords of Waterdeep: The Scoundrels of SkullportDesigned by Chris Dupuis, Peter Lee, Rodney ThompsonPublished by Wizards of the Coast - 2013Review by Jack Eddy What’s New: Tons of stuff! An extra meeple for each color, tokens for a 6th grey player, and 2 separate modules that can be combined or played separately. “Skullport” and “Undermountain”. each add new Lords, quests, intrigue cards, an additional location board, and buildings that get mixed in with the base stack. Skullport adds the corruption track and most of the new content revolves around gaining and losing corruption. The more corruption tokens that are taken from the track by the end of the game, the more negative points each token is worth. lf all players are “dipping in”, these little smurf poops* can be up to -9 points each. Why not avoid corruption you ask? The problem is the skullport locations and buildings and quests provide awesome rewards, and many chances to return corruption to the track.*corruption tokens are supposed to be blue skulls, but we can all agree they are secretly smurf poops. I bet Gargamel is behind this...Undermountain, perhaps the less interesting of the two, adds new PHAT & FAT quests and big actions. I’m talking 40 point quests, or quests that put all buildings in builder’s hall into play under your control. Undermountain doesn’t change the fundamental play of the game, other than adding the option to go after really explosive actions that require high investment for high reward. Why it’s so good: First off, this kit is modular without the hassle. Too often modular expansions are a hassle to deal with if they don’t integrate with each other. Not so here. The insert is beautiful and easy to manage and the components for each module are clearly identified, so integrating and separating is a breeze. Both modules compound the interesting options you have in the game. Skullport adds a risk and reward element which alters the flow of the game in a really cool way. Early on, you amass a pile of corruption, rarely thinking about the consequences, but later you are desperately searching for opportunities to get rid of it. Or maybe you avoid corruption altogether, and try and find ways to force other players to take more? I almost never play without Skullport EXCEPT when I’m playing with Undermountain. Undermountain is fun for a change of pace, because completing your aforementioned PH/FAT quests feels really, really good. You’ll relish the-deer-in-the-headlights your friends give as you zoom forward on the point track, only to witness them soon do the same. The lack of corruption doesn’t mean Undermountain is without risk, either; there’s a balance in completing a variety of quests, and not getting bogged down with too big of quests with not enough turns or resources left in the game. The big difference with Undermountain’s risk is that it isn’t punitive like Skullport.For advanced gamers, or those who want more strategic meat on Waterdeep's bones, Skullport has you covered. Alternatively Undermountain adds more variety and tactical options while keeping the barebones, new-player-friendly nature of the base game intact. For those who just want a sandbox to play in, they can play with both. What’s not to love?If you liked this review, check out our podcast featuring int[...]

Review: Inis:: 2-player Inis (Hint: It's good)

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:21:12 +0000

by angel_opportunity Why this game is good with just 2-playersI'm not going to rehash the rules here or explain how to play. I'm assuming you've already read up on that or watched Youtube videos. A lot of the videos and reviews mention 2-player as a bit of a side note, and I've seen some really split opinions on whether this game is good with just 2-players.It's good with two players. The two-player variant does not feel like a tacked on side version or a "lesser version" of the game. I've never played Inis with more than two people, but I'd be happy if I only ever got to play this as a 2-player game. I bought this to play it 2-player. The fact that I can pull it out if I get a chance for a 3 or 4-player game is just a bonus to me.Two player Inis feels very strategic and balanced. For me, it's the perfect blend of dry, abstract strategy and "thematic" randomness. The heroic deed deck introduces just enough uncertainty into the game that it won't feel stale. I've seen a lot of big reviewers mention the heroic deed deck as a random element that ruins the game for them. I disagree, and will go into great detail as to why.This is a game where you can pull it out and have it set up and ready to play in less than 5 minutes. When both people know what they are doing and are playing fast, the game can definitely finish in under an hour. It's a fully strategic game with interesting choices that doesn't drag on for hours.Mechanics that work well with two playersThe DraftThe two-player drafting rules seemed odd to me at first, but once you play a game or two with them it will really click to you why they are good. The limited card pool is amazing; it's probably one of my favorite parts of the game. Having a draft every season with a super limited card pool where there is only one of each card really weaves the draft and season phase together seamlessly. You draft based on the board state and based on how you are trying to secure victory. I'm going to use "Geis" as my big example card here because it's the most obvious card you want to predict the use of. "Geis" can be played in reaction to any green action card your opponent plays, and it cancels that card's effect. The card you countered is then discarded along with "Geis." In the games my wife and I played, "Geis," was pretty much an automatic first-take card. Maybe as we get better we will change our minds on this, but for the sake of this example remember we both considered this card as the highest value card to draft.In the two-player draft, rather than drafting all 13 cards together, you set one single card aside (it will not be drafted at all) and then you deal three cards to each player. The remaining six cards are set aside and will be drafted in a second drafting phase which immediately follows the first.Going back to "Geis," if the first three cards you look at are not "Geis," and then the first two cards your opponent hands you also do not include "Geis," it's a strong indicator your opponent has taken "Geis."The thing is, there was one card set aside. Maybe that's "Geis." This is the same thing that happens in a 3 or 4-player game with the set aside card, but since you draft in two separate phases in the 2-player game, "Geis" could still be sitting in that pile of six cards that has yet to enter the draft. You cannot just assume "There is a 1 in 13 chance that "Geis" is[...]

Review: Black Orchestra:: Black Orchestra Review: On Song

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 12:55:46 +0000

by andsymo If you watched and enjoyed the movie Valkyrie but found the wild variance in accents profoundly annoying, Black Orchestra is the game for you. The theme of assassinating Hitler is deeply embedded into the game’s cooperative mechanics and Tom Cruise is nowhere in sight. Black Orchestra’s gameplay core is one of many options but limited actions. Central to this are Plot cards. Each Plot features different requirements for assassinating Hitler and are randomly distributed throughout the Conspirator card deck. The deck requires an action to draw and once a Plot card is in play, players can advance their plans to target Hitler for assassination. A Plot has 1 dice associated with it. Players need to roll ‘hits’ and avoid rolling ‘Suspicion Detection’. More dice can be added to the attempt by collecting support items. Items are face down at locations on the board which represents WWII Europe and the scope of German occupation. An action is required to reveal an item with a further action required to collect the item. Oh yeah, make sure your Conspirator is Motivated. A Plot cannot be executed without the requisite level of Motivation, a meter located on the player board.The other elements also feed into this core structure. Hitler’s level of Military Support affects the number of ‘hits’ required so the number of dice required to successfully execute the plot fluctuates between ‘necessity’ and ‘risk mitigation’. The dice also feature the ‘Suspicion Detection’side. If a conspirator’s Suspicion level is high they increase the chance of detection, Plot failure and Gestapo arrest. And being dice, there is no guarantee of success. So even the best laid plans can fail miserably while a desperate flailing attempt may result in success. This uncertainty is central to plot attempts and failures do not end the game so there is incentive to get in there and have a crack. All Black Orchestra’s mechanics have been carefully considered to feed the theme. The graphic design is of an extremely high standard and evocative of the period - enhanced by the controlled colour palette. Players start with a card representing a historical conspirator (each with a unique special ability). On the card they track their Suspicion and Motivation levels as well as accumulated items. Then there are the historically-driven Event cards occurring at the end of each turn that can affect the best laid plans by moving Hitler and his ability-supressing Deputies as well as impacting players’ Motivation and Suspicion levels. As the war progresses Europe opens up allowing more locations and items to be accessed. As the war draws to a close locations compress creating a timing issue for item collection.The game’s opening is a little awkward. Plot acquisition is a random draw. The upshot of this is that players cannot engage in meaningful strategic planning until a Plot is acquired. Sure there is stuff you can do in the meantime – attempt to raise player’s Motivation, expose items, affect Hitler’s Military Support level, or accumulate cards to mitigate player states but it all feels aimless until a Plot card is revealed. The random Plot draw feels arbitrary preventing the players getting into the meat of the game and makes the opening rote as players work through the Conspirator deck to expos[...]

Review: Dungeon!:: Dungeon 2014 - a great reimplementation of a classic family game

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 12:55:39 +0000

by Professor X In this review I’ll be comparing the original, 1980s version of “Dungeon!” produced by TSR with the 2014 reimplementation by Wizards of the Coast.By the title, I’ve revealed my bias for Dungeon. My heart has a warm spot for this game, as it’s one that I cut my teeth on as an elementary school student in the 1980s. Thirty years later, I dusted off my old copy of the game an introduced it to my young children. Like me, they too took to it instantly.GENERAL OVERVIEWHere I’ll set forth a general overview of the game. I’m leaving out certain details and exceptions.The object of the game Dungeon! is to acquire a certain, set amount of treasure and leave the dungeon’s entrance / exit before any of the other players. To acquire treasure, players explore the dungeon’s various rooms. Each room has a monster (drawn at random from a monster deck), along with a treasure (drawn at random from a treasure deck). There are actually six different color-coded monster and treasure decks, each corresponding to a different color-coded dungeon levels. Level 1 features the easiest monsters and least valuable treasures, Level 6 features the hardest monsters and most valuable treasures. Up to eight can play the game, and each player chooses among four different character classes. In the original game, these were: Elf, Hero, Superhero, and Wizard. In the 2014 game, these are: Rogue, Cleric, Fighter, and Wizard. The new 2014 classes correspond pretty much exactly to the old, original classes, in the order set forth above.The classes are not of equal strength. As one moves from Elf to Hero to Superhero to Wizard (or, as set for the in the 2014 game, from Rogue, to Cleric, to Fighter, to Wizard) one moves to character classes that are significantly more powerful. By “more powerful” I mean more capable of defeating the monsters encountered (explained below). To balance this out, the game sets different victory conditions according to class. For the lower two classes to win (Elf and Hero / Rogue and Cleric), 10,000 gold pieces worth of treasure must be amassed for victory. For the Superhero (or Fighter) to win, 20,000 gp worth of treasure is required. For the Wizard to win, 30,000 gp worth of treasure is required.Gameplay proceeds as follows: on his or her turn, each player moves his character up to 5 spaces (no die roll is required). If the character ends his turn in a “room” (clearly marked on the game board), he turns over a monster card from the randomized monster deck for that level. The monster card identifies the monster in the room (via name and picture), and sets forth the number needed (via a 2d6 roll) to defeat the monster for each character class. For example, to defeat a Kobold (in the 2014 game), a Rogue would need to roll a 4 or higher, a Cleric would need a 5 or higher, a Fighter would need a 3 or higher, and a Wizard would need a 6 or higher. Different numbers are set for different monsters, but generally speaking this same general pattern holds: the weaker characters need to roll higher than the stronger characters to defeat the same monsters. The weakest character class is the Rogue (or Elf, in the original game). To supplement this, the Rogue has a special ability: he can find secret doors in the dungeon much more [...]

Review: Elevenses for One, and Bowling Solitaire:: Ender's Comprehensive Pictorial Overview: Two great little solitaire games in one box

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 12:25:21 +0000

by EndersGame Introducing Elevenses For One and Bowling SolitaireDon't be deceived. There is more than one game in this box! Elevenses for One is a relatively new game, but it is part of Eagle Gryphon Games recently started an attractive series of small box games entiteld the E-G-G series. The choice for #11 in the series? A small solitaire game called Elevenses for One by David Harding. But to make this game even better value, the publisher decided to include a second solitaire game as well, namely Bowling Solitaire by famous American designer Sid Sackson. And so that's how we end up with a two-for-the-price-of-one offering, under the title: Elevenses for One, and Bowling Solitaire. So let's show you what you get, and tell you a bit about how these two games work and what I think.Game boxLike the other games in the EGG series, this comes in a very conveniently sized and portable box, which focuses on Elevenses for One:But the back of the box tells us that there is more than meets the eye here - notice the mention on the bottom right of the bonus game, Sid Sackson's Bowling Solitaire.That means that inside we get components for two games. So before we take a look at each game individually, let's show you the complete package, and everything you get.ELEVENSES FOR ONEComponentsComponents for Elevenses for One are:● 11 Pantry cards● 2 Time cards● Rules (downloadable here)Game-PlayWith the Tea Trolley card face up in front of you, you shuffle the remaining cards numbered 2-11 and put them in a face-up row known as the Pantry. The aim is to move cards from the Pantry onto your Tea Trolley card in order from 2 through 11, within 15 minutes - not real time minutes, but minutes which you keep track of using the Timer cards. At the start, you may move any card to the front of the Pantry at a cost of 1 minute.To play, you can do one of three things with the first face-up card in the Pantry:a) Score it (+ lose 1 minute): if it's the next number in sequence from 2 through 11, you can move it onto your Tea Trolley, and also perform its action.b) Use it (+ lose 1 minute): perform the action on the card and turn it face down. Actions include things like flipping any face-up card face-down (Tea), flip two cards face-down (Milk), switch two face-up cards (Biscuits), or move a card from the front to the back of the pantry (Sandwiches).c) Discard it: put it into a temporary discard pile, which can have no more than three cards at any time.After doing this, you move to the next face up card in the Pantry and do one of these three actions, and continue to repeat this process (including going back to the start of the Pantry and reshuffling all the remaining cards once you've gone to the end) until your time of 15 minutes is up, or until you are stuck and can't play any further. You win if you manage to "score" all cards from 2 through 11 before your time is up, and score points by adding the value of the top card in the Tea Trolley to the time remaining.What do I think about Elevenses for One?Decisions: This game plays quite quickly, and in your first game you might feel that you don't have much control, with the pace of the game determined largely by the cards in the line-up. But there are small nuances that become important: if a card can't sc[...]

Review: Karuba:: Good Family Game with one flaw

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 11:39:31 +0000

by SDawg

I won't repeat what others have said about Karuba: its a good family game, and is interesting for my six year old as well as spouse and me. But it does have one weakness: the setup.

To setup, each player has to organize his tiles (numbered 1-36) so that they are easy to find/get during the game. Practically, this means ordering one's bag of tiles 1-36 around the personal board, so that when one is randomly drawn (say, number 17), it is easy to find.

For adults, this is a bit tedious. For six-year-olds, it is very tedious (and, practically, means the adults will have to help out to get it done quickly).

I'd say the setup is about as unpleasant as the setup for Hey, That's My Fish! (which is not insignificant).

Perhaps one improvement could have been to color-code groups of numbers (1-5 are written in red: 6-10 in yellow, 11-15 blue, etc) to help quickly sort, but realistically, this setup procedure is unavoidable.

***** I just thought of this while typing: would the game be harmed (at least, as a family game), if, instead of insisting that each player draw the same tile (thus requiring the setup procedure mentioned above), each player simply drew a random tile and worked from there?

In other words: each player set up the same board as per the rules (i.e. explorers and temples start in the same places for all players). Then, each player draws a tile randomly from his own set of tiles, and plays it. Players won't be using the same tiles at the same time: instead, they will be creating their own paths based on their own particular tile combinations. It may be worth a try.


Review: Streets of Stalingrad (third edition):: Streets of Stalingrad 'The legend continues'.

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 08:29:17 +0000

by Proff3RTR I noticed that a review of L2's SoS 3rd Ed has not been done for some time, so i thought I would add my thought's etc to the mix.Late 1985 or 86 I bought both of Nova games versions of the original Streets of Stalingrad, it was one of the very first 'serious' wargames I purchased (I was only 15/16 years old then). Others were War in the East and Squad leader, then ASL.I played both 'Fire on the Volga & Battle for the factories' with out let up for almost 3 years before I inadvertently destroyed the game in a very messy paint based accident (long story).I remember the game was fun, a messy struggle from start to finish and filled with Highs and lows for both sides, although by the time the Germans had managed to arrange an attack on the Northern factory district they were in general almost bleed out. Either way I loved it and now I am a lot older I own those two version yet again.I recently purchased for a very good price a very good (read faultless) copy of L2's 3rd Edition SoS, I have layed out and started to play Scenario #1 'The Grain Elevator' (I wonder why most folk start with that one, I had looked at scenario #6 but decided to go with the GE).and decided to write a review from my humble point of view, so for better or worse, here we go.Cost: I payed a measly £130 for my copy, I am to say the least well happy, I notice that the price of this game is very high, due to how many were printed (I do count myself very lucky to own a copy of this game).Scope: SoS 3rd Ed does what the Nova games did not, I.E cover the whole battle up until mid/late Novemeber 1942, there was supposed to be a 'bridge' module that would link the two Nova games but this never happened. with L2's version, this is a reality, so you can now play the whole battle up to just short of Operation Uranus (The Russian Counter attack on the flanks of 6th Army). This enables the players to see the whole battle develop, and from a German players PoV see how 6th army was slowly but surely ground down by the unrelenting combat, and constant need to find men from somewhere to be able to launch the next attack.Map:The map is a huge leap forward from the original and also Nova game's version, the map covers the same area, but just looks so much nicer, and also the fact that the hexes are again, so much larger makes playing a joy (I remember playing some of the larger battles in the city and factory areas on the Nova games map and it was an absolute nightmare with all the counters and such like), the detail is again simply awesome, using the map to follow a book is interesting, when you read about the 'nail factory' and read it was just across the road from Stalingrad Railway station no#1 you imagine it, but looking at the SoS map, you can actually see it, and it also allows you to fully understand the battle for the many location in and around Stalingrad.The map art work is clear, concise and should be applauded at every chance given, considering this game is now well over 10 years old it is IMHO right up there, alot of modern manufacturers would do well to look at this map and learn from it and how it has been layed out.Counters:These are IMHO such an improvement on the previous counter sets it is a simply game c[...]

Review: Fabled Fruit:: A review for people who game with children

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 05:38:38 +0000

by JoshBot Fabled Fruit is not intended as a children's game, but does it work with children? I'm interested in games that are successful at being appropriate for a child's developmental age while offering something of interest to adult gamers. In this framework Fabled a Fruit is a smashing success.There are already several excellent reviews available that summarize the rules, so I will be brief. Fabled Fruit is a set-collecting card game, but it's really a worker placement game. On his or her turn a player will place their worker (a wooden animal token) on a card located in a shared tableau of multiple cards. Each card depicts an animal, and grants a specific action to the player, generally giving the player fruit cards to their hand. There are five different types of fruits. Each animal/action card also has a recipe for a juice made up of a series of fruits. When a player has the proper fruit cards to make a juice, that animal/action card is claimed. The game is won when a player has a certain number of juices, depending on player count.Where the game gets interesting is that every time a juice is claimed another action card is added to the tableau. This increases the diversity of actions. Each animal/action card has four copies (generally), and after all the copies of a card have been claimed, that specific action will never be seen again. This means that the game changes as it is played, with there being a variable quantity of actions available at any time (we have seen between six and fourteen available actions). The game is intended to be played over multiple sessions, and it is very easy to save the gamestate between plays.My thoughts are based on having played through about 70% of the stack of animal cards. I don't expect the remaining cards to change my opinion. I have played with all player counts (2-5). Most of these plays included a 7 and/or 9 year-old child.Is there content that is inappropriate for children? No. The artwork is charming. The game's vibe is goofy and upbeat. There is no violence. There is nothing racy in the slightest. There is a naughty kleptomaniac monkey, and that's about it.What is the duration of play? Twenty to twenty-five minutes reliably. Player count does not change the game's length.Is there a preferred player count? I'd say that every count works, but with more players there is more blocking of actions AND more new action cards will be seen, both of which increase the fun.Are the components appropriate for pediatric motor skills? Yes-ish. There are smallish animeeples and chunky cardboard tokens. The fruit cards are the most-handled component, and are undersized for small hands. Let's acknowledge that handling cards is a skill in itself. Cards shouldn't be bent, or chewed on when in thought, etc. Here I will endorse the use of Gamewright's Little Hands Card Holder (most of Gamewright's games, not so much).How old does a child need to be to play? I'll first acknowledge that age is a poor metric to determine if a game is appropriate, because individual capabilities vary widely at an identical age. After playing lots of different games with my kids as they have grown, I'm going to identify t[...]

Review: Terraforming Mars:: Vin d'jeu d'reveiw

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 05:38:15 +0000

by SwatSh SwatSh: 8,5/10Terraforming Mars causes a real buzz in Spiel Essen 2016 with his first place in the BGG Essen ranking and his third place in the Fair Play ranking.ThemeIn the 22nd century, Earth is overpopulated.  There is a lack of space and resources dry up. Humanity must find a solution and decide to terraform Mars to be able to settle there.And this is already in this theme that Terraforming Mars surprise us. Players will work together for the good of humanity. They go together terraforming Mars. In order to terraform Mars, it is necessary that its average temperature reaches 8 ° C, that its oceans fulfill 9% of its surface and that the oxygen level in the atmosphere reaches 14%. It is only when these three criteria will be realized that the game ends. Terraforming Mars nevertheless not allow, as in Archipelago or Tomorrow, a player to sabotte this goal so that everyone loses. No, in Terraforming Mars, you have to work together for the good of humanity. So players have a common goal and yet they will compete for Terraforming Mars is a competitive game!Pick cardsTerraforming March begins during set-up where players must decide their corporation (= special abilities) and cards that make up their starting hand by buying them from 10 cards taken at random from the common deck.The playing of cards is very important in Terraforming Mars.  Blind pick-up of cards is the heart of the game. In addition to your starting hand consisting of cards you have chosen from the cards taken randomly, the rest of the game is in the same vein. Each turn, you draw 4 cards and decide which you keep by buying 3 million each. Luck is present of course. But you draw so many cards in Terraforming Mars and the choices you’ll make from them will be so important that this luck is not so disturbing even if it may give some advantage to certain players.There are more than 200 different cards in the deck and so many possible combinations that the game is super addictive. It is a furious desire to play it again after each game.  Deciding what to do with the cards drawn and see every game so different from each other is awesome!There are a lot of card effects: exchange of resources, increase production, animals farming, terra forming at lower prices, increase the temperature or the oxygen level, … Catch-upTerraforming Mars also offers alternative actions that allow players to catch up with the standard actions if the drawn cards are not suitable.Interaction by objectivesTerraforming Mars features 2 types of objectives:1) Being the firstBeing the first to reach 35 points, to have 16 cards in hand, to build three cities … are common goals. But it is not enough.  To achieve a goal first, we must also pay 8 million to claim the goal. And only 3 goals can be claimed. A race to the goal will take place.2) Bet on majority5 majorities bring VPs: having the most cards of a particular kind or having the most resources of a specific kind at the end of the game allow you to earn extra VPs.  However, to win these additional PVs, you must pay to achieve it and only 3 majority may take place. In addition, the first count costs 8, the second[...]

Review: Vérone:: German Der Rat von Verona Review by

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 05:37:40 +0000

by slechim Diese und viele weitere top Boardgamereview auf ------------------------------------------------------------------- Die Bürger von Verona haben genug vom andauernden Zwist zwischen den beiden mächtigen Familien Capulet und Montague. Daher wurde ein Rat einberufen, der in diesem Konflikt vermitteln soll. Es ist daher an der Zeit zu entscheiden, welche der edlen Bürger in den Rat und welche stattdessen ins Exil geschickt werden sollen.------------------------------------------------------------------- Klein. Tückisch. Falsch. Der Rat von Verona ist ein Spiel im Taschenformat. Neben überschaubarem Platzbedarf für die Schachtel, kommen wir auch mit erstaunlich wenig Spielmaterial aus: lediglich 17 Charakterkarten, von denen jeder Mitspieler je Spielrunde drei Stück erhält, und sechs Einflussmarker pro Spieler. In die Mitte des Tisches werden die Karten „Rat“ und „Exil“ gelegt. Hat dann jeder Spieler seine Charakterkarten erhalten und seine Einflussmarker vor sich liegen, kann die Runde starten. Ausgehend vom Startspieler muss ein Charakter entweder zum Rat oder ins Exil abgelegt werden. Einige Charakterkarten bieten Platz für bis zu drei Einflussmarker, andere haben Fähigkeiten, die beim Ablegen ausgelöst werden können, beispielsweise „Schaue dir zwei Einflussmarker an“ oder „vertausche einen beliebigen Charakter aus dem Exil mit einem aus dem Rat“. Wurde die Karte in die Mitte gelegt, darf der aktive Spieler noch einen seiner Einflussmarker auf eines der dafür vorgesehenen freien Felder auf den ausliegenden Charakteren verdeckt platzieren. Die bestochenen Charaktere haben allesamt Siegbedingungen, die erfüllt sein müssen, damit die Marker am Ende der Runde Punkte bringen. Die Bedingungen variieren. Einige beziehen sich auf die Verteilung der verschiedenen Familienmitglieder, andere auf die Kartenanzahl oder auf bestimmte Sondercharaktere. Wurden alle Handkarten ausgespielt, folgt eine weitere Runde, in der nur Einflussmarker verteilt werden dürfen bevor schon die Auswertung beginnt. Gewertet werden nur die Charaktere, deren aufgedruckte Bedingung erfüllt ist. In der vollständigen Variante sind unter den Einflussmarkern aller Spieler auch Gift- und Gegengiftmarker, die zusätzlich am Ende das Spiel weiter verzerren können. Ausstattung Das Spiel ist kompakt und ansehnlich illustriert. Die Anleitung ist übersichtlich, dabei sehr klar und leicht zugänglich. Alle Einflussmarker sind aus Holz und netterweise bereits beim Kauf vollständig beklebt.------------------------------------------------------------------- Das Spielgefühl, das sich in unserer Runde eingestellt hatte, lässt sich am ehesten mit dem Stein-Schere-Papier-Echse-Spock-Effekt beschreiben. Man kann immer nur erahnen, was die Mitspieler platziert haben. Es macht auch Spaß, sich in die Entscheidung der Kontrahenten hineinzudenken. Da es aber nur wenig Möglichkeiten gibt, seine Ahnungen zu prüfen, genauer gesagt, nur die im Beispiel erwähnte „schaue unter zwei Einflussmarker“-Charakterkarte, und vorsichtiges Spielen keinerlei Vorteile bietet, ist es am Ende sehr viel Glück w[...]

Review: King of Tokyo: Power Up!:: German King of Tokyo - Power Up Review by

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 05:37:33 +0000

by slechim Diese und viele weitere top Boardgamereview auf ------------------------------------------------------------------- Erfolgreiches Grundspiel? Addon kommt! King of Tokyo – Power Up ist die erste Erweiterung zu Richard Garfields jüngster Yahtzee-Interpretation.------------------------------------------------------------------- Pandakaï – Ein Pandarenmonster für Tokyo ist auch das Mindeste! Mit der Erweiterung kommt zunächst lediglich ein neues Monster nach Tokyo – Pandakaï. Es unterscheidet sich nicht im geringsten von denen im Grundspiel und ist eher ein kleines Gimmick, um den Kauf der kleinen Schachtel zu begründen. Auch das Grundregelwerk bleibt soweit identisch. Warum also eine Erweiterung? Die sogenannten Evolutionen, genauer Evolutionskarten, erhalten erstmals Einzug ins Spiel. Dem Spiel sind für jedes Monster des Grundspiels und für den Pandakaï jeweils acht Evolutionskarten beigelegt. Fortan dürfen wir immer wenn wir drei Herzen würfeln und am Ende unseres Zugs werten eine solche Karte ziehen. Sie sind für jedes Monster individuell und unterstreichen dabei ihr Image in Form neuer Fähigkeiten. Sie werden verdeckt vom eigenen Stapel gezogen. Dabei werden die Evolutionen in zwei Typen unterschieden - temporär und permanent. Die permanenten Evolutionen dürfen nach Erhalt direkt aufgedeckt werden. Sie geben dem eigenen Monster neue, Würfelergebnis bezogene Fähigkeiten bis zum Ende des Spiels. Ein paar Beispiele: Kraken – Bekomme ein Herz wenn du Tokyo betrittst. Ab sofort beträgt dein Maximum zwölf Herzen. The King – Wenn du Tokyo angreifst, kannst du den besetzenden Spieler dazu zwingen, es zu räumen. Alienoid – Wenn du am Zug bist, darfst du ein Energie abgegeben, um einen Schaden zu heilen. Es ist aber eben auch möglich eine temporäre Evolution zu ziehen. Temporäre Evolutionen bleiben bis zu ihrem einmaligen Einsatz verdeckt vor einem liegen. Nach der Verwendung werden sie abgelegt. Sie sind meist nur speziell einsetzbar und durch ihre Einzigartigkeit stärker als die permanenten Evolutionen und können die von den Mitspielern ausgerechneten Aktionen zunichte machen, da sie jederzeit eingesetzt werden dürfen: Kraken – Lege die Evolution ab, um zwei Schadenspunkte zu heilen The King – Du nimmst keinen Schaden, wenn du aus Tokyo fliehst. Alienoid – Du bekommst für jeden Schaden in diesem Zug einen Energiebrocken.------------------------------------------------------------------- Pointe vorweg: Ich habe den Kauf nicht bereut. Natürlich, ein Monster zu den bestehenden und jeweils acht Evolutionskarten sind reichlich dünn für eine Erweiterung, die 15€ kostet.Aber die Evolutionen geben dem Spiel den letzten Schliff und machen die einzelnen Partien erheblich spannender und abwechslungsreicher, da jedes Monster erst durch sie ihre einzigartigen Charakter bekommen und somit nicht mehr austauschbar wirken. Vorwerfen muss man dem Herrn Garfield aber die geldtreibende Absicht. Durch die Evolutionen bekommen die elf und zwölf Lebenspunkte der Monsterschablonen, die auch schon im Grundspiel aufgedruckt waren, [...]

Review: Camel Up: Supercup:: German Camel Up - Supercup Review by

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 05:37:20 +0000

by slechim Diese und viele weitere top Boardgamereview auf ------------------------------------------------------------------- Nicht selten erscheinen zum Spiel des Jahres in Folge Erweiterungen. Böse Zungen könnten behaupten, man möchte die Kuh noch ein wenig melken, aber manchmal kommt auch wirklich noch etwas Lohnenswertes als Nachzügler auf dem Markt.------------------------------------------------------------------- Das Kamel lernt den Galopp Die Erweiterung Supercup bietet vier neue Module: Die Galoppwürfel, die Kamera, Bündniskarten und Wettkarten für das 2.- 5. platzierte Kamel. Zusätzlich kann ein neuer Spielplan auf die hintere Kurve des Grundspiels gelegt werden, um die Rennstrecke ein wenig zu verlängern. Jedes Modul kann zu Beginn der Partie nach eigenem Ermessen dazu genommen werden. Die Galoppwürfel können für die Abgabe einer in der Etappe zuvor erhaltenen Würfelkarte von den Spieler zurück in die Pyramide geworfen werden. Das ist keine vollständige Aktion. Anders als die Standardwürfel sind auf diesen nur die Werte „1“ & „2“. Vor Beginn der zweiten Etappe, also nachdem das Kamelfeld auf die Bahn gegangen ist, wird automatisch der Galoppwürfel des letztplatzierten Kamels für die neue Etappe in die Pyramide geworfen, damit das Feld zusammen bleibt. Bitte lächeln! Die Kamera ist eine neue eigenständige Aktion. Ganz wie das Oasen-/Wüstenplättchen im Grundspiel darf die Kamera auf, genauer gesagt an, ein leeres Rennstreckenfeld gestellt werden. Die Kamera löst aus, sobald ein oder mehrere Kamele ihre Bewegung auf dem Streckenfeld beenden. Je nach der Anzahl gibt’s direkt Münzen. Die Bündniskarten stellen ebenfalls eine neue Aktion dar, allerdings sollten sie erst ab sechs Spielern verwendet werden. Werden die Karten verwendet, dürfen Spieler in ihrem Zug ein Bündnis mit einem Mitspieler eingehen, falls er noch kein Bündnis mit einem anderen Spieler geschlossen hat. In der Etappenwertung bekommen Spieler die höchste Wette ihres Bündnispartners zu ihren Punkten hinzugerechnet. Last but not least: Die Wettplättchen für die Plätze 2 bis 5. War es im Grundspiel nur möglich auf das beste Kamel zu setzen, kann fortan jede Platzierung je Etappe einmal abgeschätzt werden. Dazu nimmt man sich die niedrigste Kamelwettkarte und platziert eines der vier neuen Plättchen über die alte Beschreibung. Die Wetten bringen drei Denar und den üblichen einen Denar Verlust, falls man falsch liegen sollte. Praktisch: Man darf auch bereits getroffene Wetten nachträglich modifizieren. Hat man beispielsweise recht früh auf das blaue Kamel als das erste platzierte gesetzt, aber es wird im Laufe der Etappe nach hinten durchgereicht, kann man auf diese Wette eines der (noch vorhanden) Plättchen legen, um noch eine zweite Chance zu erhalten. Ausstattung Die Ausstattung, Aufmachung und Haptik aller neuer Spielbestandteile ist, wie nicht anders zu erwarten, genauso gehalten wie für das Grundspiel. Der neue Spie[...]

Review: Via Nebula:: German Via Nebula Review by

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 05:37:07 +0000

by slechim Diese und viele weitere top Boardgamereview auf ------------------------------------------------------------------- Im Tal von Nebula ist es dunkel geworden. Monströse Kreaturen haben sich dort angesiedelt und machen den Bewohnern das Leben schwer.Es ist an der Zeit, dass sich mutige Entdecker aufmachen, das Tal zu erkunden, unbekannte Pfade zu entdecken und wertvolle Rohstoffe abzubauen. Neue Gebäude müssen auf alten Ruinen gebaut werden und sollen das Tal zu neuem Wohlstand und Glück verhelfen. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Die Spieler schlüpfen in die Rolle eines Entdeckers und machen sich auf den Weg, diese Aufgabe zu bewältigen. Aber wird Nebula wieder im alten Glanz erstrahlen und zu neuem Leben erwachen?Via Nebula von Asmodee ist eine gelungene Mischung aus Worker-Placement und Legespiel. Am Anfang haben die Spieler ein Spielbrett mit wenig bekannten Orten vor sich ausliegen. Der größte Teil der Spielfläche ist mit Nebelfeldern verdeckt, die es im Laufe des Spiels zu erkunden gilt. Einzig einige Bauplätze und Rohstofffelder sind zu Beginn sichtbar. Die Spieler besitzen auf ihren Tableaus zu Beginn drei Bauplättchen, einige Wiesenplättchen, zwei Arbeiter, zwei persönliche Auftagskarten und fünf Gebäude. Ziel des Spiels ist es, diese fünf Gebäude auf dem Spielplan zu errichten. Wer als erster diese Aufgabe erfüllt und die meisten Siegpunkte hat, geht am Ende als Sieger hervor.Mit zwei Aktionspunkten pro Spielzug ausgestattet kann der Spieler nun eine oder mehrere aus sechs verschiedenen Aktionen auswählen, um sein Spielziel zu erreichen. Mit dem Einsatz von Arbeitern kann er Rohstofffelder erschließen, mit den Bauplättchen Bauplätze reservieren, um dort später Gebäude zu errichten, mit seinen Wiesenplättchen kann er Nebelfelder oder versteinerte Wälder terraformen, um diese für den Rohstofftransport begehbar zu machen. Desweiteren können Rohstoffe zum Bauplatz transportiert werden oder der Spieler errichtet ein Gebäude. Die Auswahl der Aktion wird dabei vom jeweiligen Spielverlauf vorgegeben, denn um ein Gebäude zu errichten, benötigt man einen Bauplatz und die geforderten Baustoffe. Um die Baustoffe zum Bauplatz zu transportieren, benötigt der Spieler wiederum einen begehbaren Weg von der Quelle zu seinem Bauplatz. Welche Rohstoffe zum Bau eines Gebäudes gefordert sind, wird durch die Auftragskarten vorgegeben. Zwei dieser Bauaufträge erhält der Spieler zu Beginn des Spiels. Weitere Aufträge werden in der Auslage des Spielbretts zur Auswahl ausgelegt. Erfüllte Bauaufträge geben dem Spieler Siegpunkte und enthalten Sonderfähigkeiten, die er bei erfolgreichem Abschluss als Boni erhält. Rohstoffe, die der Spieler auf seinem Bauplatz angesammelt hat und zur Erfüllung der Auftragskarte nicht verbrauchen konnte, werden auf seinem Spielertableau eingelagert und zählen am Spielende als Minuspunkte. Erschwert wird das Planen und Errichten von Gebäuden durch eine Regel, die es  dem Spieler verbietet, seine Bauplättchen[...]

Review: 4 Gods:: An unsatisfying real-time experience

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 04:44:35 +0000

by mkozlows

So this is a tile-placement game, where you draw tiles from a bag and place them inside of an enclosed square boardspace, with the rule that they have to touch two edges (and match the terrain on each edge), such that terrain evolves from the edges toward the center.

As you place them, you can place a little dude on one of the terrains on the just-placed tile, and whoever has majority control in that terrain ends up owning it, like Carcassone farms. Cities are special round tiles that can be placed anywhere, and give you a good wodge of bonus points... if you can hold them until the end, because if someone finds a tile that can replace the city, they can destroy it and get bonus points for doing so. There are terrain combinations such that it's guaranteed safe to place a city in some places (for instance, no tile has all four terrains, so a hole that's bordered with all terrains will be non-destroyable for a city placed there), so setting that up and dropping a city there is one of the things you're trying to do.

So far, so good. Here's the problem: It's real-time. I kind of dislike real-time games in the first place, but real time WITH A TILE DRAW BAG is just intolerable. Trying to grab a tile from a bag that someone else has while they're busy is super super annoying. I actually just grabbed a handful of tiles early on so I could stop fussing with it, but it turns out this is against the rules for good reasons relating to how you have to deal with unplaced tiles. Also annoying in real-time is looking at the unplaced tiles, because other people are flipping them over to see the other side (they're two-sided) constantly, and it's all just frustrating and overwhelming enough that it made me want to sit back and just wait until it was over.

If you like real-time games a lot, this is probably worth a look-see. I have no interest in ever playing it again.

Review: Jim Henson's Labyrinth: The Board Game:: A Fine Co-op Game for Family Play

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 03:48:30 +0000

by Danny from Tower Labyrinth is a board game based on a movie franchise, Labyrinth by Jim Henson. Fans of the movie will certainly enjoy this as will people who like to play with the kids. Others may find it enjoyable as it has some strategic merit and the production values are high. It comes with five well sculpted miniatures representing Jared, the goblin king, Sarah, Hoggle, Sir Diddymus and Ludo. Jared is non-player and each of the others is a player character. Players start separated about the board and they have to race the clock to find the goblin city, fight past the goblins and then Sarah has to confront Jared in his maze in order to prevent her baby brother from being turned into a goblin.The game mechanics rely on will power tokens. Lose them all and you go back to the Oubliette which is often quite a set back. You can regain them by resting, but more importantly if you rest as a group you are telling stories, comforting one another, giving pep talks. This allows some players to give will power to others. That is an important strategic ability as well as being very thematic.You also can move as a group if you start together on a player's turn and to face challenges as a group, which allows characters to do a lot on a turn, but also exposes them to some risks as a group. Being split up is riskier but allows you to cover more empty territory. As a group you can find yourself landing on cards you previously encountered, reducing your exploration speed. Also, beware The Bog of Eternal Stench, where it may be that your character is cursed with "Smells Bad!". Once that happens it is harder to remain in a group with others. Again this is both strategicly interesting and thematic.The challenge and move mechanisms do something clever with dice. There is a D4, D6, D8, D10, D12 and D20. Your Wit, Brawn and Speed each have one of those dice as the one you can use. When moving you roll and move in either direction about the board but importantly you can choose a dice with a lower range than your max. So if you could use D10 you may opt to use D4 instead, allowing you to try and close on a target. In a challenge of Wit or Brawn with a group you each roll your own appropriate dice and the highest result is the one for your side. That gives groups some interesting dynamics.The event cards are a bit lightweight but some are interesting, such as the poisoned peach where your character has to decide to give it to Sarah, causing her to lose will power and fall asleep, or carry it around at some cost to yourself. Some other cards can also be retained for use later and the characters each have a one shot special ability card as well. For a more difficult game you can also start with character weakness cards that hamper your character until you succeed in ridding yourself of them.The game can endure some replays, as I have discovered, and some things that happen in play can be remarkable, especially when someone takes a desperate risk that pays off. [...]

Review: Kanagawa:: An attractive light Euro

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 03:47:21 +0000

by mkozlows

So this is a straightforward mid-to-light-weight Euro, where your goal is to create the highest-scoring painting you can, where you get points for specializing in particular subjects, placing cards so that they form streaks of the same season, and so forth. There's strategy around placing the completed painting pieces, but most of what you're doing is managing the resources needed to paint them.

Mostly that means placing down the proper icons into your "workspace"; each card can be placed as either a painting or a resource card, so there's that tension where you might really want both sides of it, and have to choose which way you'll use it -- do good stuff now, or set up good stuff for the future. Once you have them available, you have to actually use them with your paintbrushes, so there's a light worker placement-esque element going on there.

A neat twist in the game is how it handles the bonuses: When you fulfill certain conditions, you can grab a bonus tile, which gives you VP. But if you take it now, you can't take a better one later. But then, if you hold out for a better one, you can't ever go back and take the easy one. So that's a bit of push-your-luck and maybe racing with an opponent to fulfill a condition you're both going for.

For all the mechanisms in this game (there's also another mechanism around taking the cards in the first place, where you can choose to take them early before they're all placed, which gets you fewer cards than your opponent, but guarantees you'll get the one you want), it flows together pretty well and is straightforward to learn and play. If I have a criticism, it's that most of the choices tend to have an obvious best answer, so you're rarely torn between two tense choices; it doesn't quite play itself, but it's definitely a low-stress, easy game. The chill gameplay goes well with the painting theme, though; it just feels relaxing.

Overall, it's not super-great or anything -- there are a lot of basically-competent light Euros like this -- but it's elevated by great physical components. The watercolor art is attractive, and the little paint pots and bamboo mat are distinctive and cool. It's a neat little package, and it speaks well of the industry that this is just an "average" feeling game.

Review: Glüx:: An excellent abstract

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 03:47:07 +0000

by mkozlows

So the basic idea of the game is here are nine little "islands" on the gameboard, and the winner of each one is the person who has the most pips on the tokens of theirs that are on that island. What's cool is how you place your pieces. You draw tokens blind from a bag, and they're two-sided: 1/6, 2/5, or 3/4. You place the first one in your corner start position, and then from there, you can place a token in relation to any token you have down -- but it has to be exactly as far from that token as the number of pips on it. So when you put down a 1, you're not getting a lot of points, but you can put stuff down right next to where you are, whereas if you put down a 6, you have limited placement options way across the board but get a ton of points.

And the wrinkle is that you can stack the tokens up two (and only two) high. So if you've got a 5 token sitting on a square, and your opponent puts a 1 down right next to you, they'll be able to place their next token on top of yours, but you can't do anything to their token. BUT, you can "top off" your own tokens, too (assuming that the token that originally let you place it there is still under your control), so you can block them that way, at the cost of effectively losing a turn plus also maybe having to put a 3 on top of your own 5 and weaken it that way.

So when I played this, I had just played a handful of the Gipf games, and since this is also an abstract, it feels natural to compare it to those; I think it holds up well to that comparison. One of the things I didn't love about the Gipf games was that they felt undermotivated at the beginning, where it wasn't clear what you were supposed to do. Glux doesn't have that problem at all. From the first turn, it's clear what your goals are -- get some pips in each square, don't waste your moves placing them in wasted areas, and try to setup your next move to be successful. As the game goes on, it evolves from a placement-optimization game into a more competitive game of offense and defense, which works well for pacing; but there's never a part of the game that feels rote or random.

In a lot of ways, I think this is actually better than the Gipf series games. About the only area where it's clearly worse is the component quality, which is perfectly fine, as cardboard tokens go, but not nearly as nice as those nice heavy tiles. (I doubt it'll happen, but a deluxe version of this would be amazing.)

Excellent, fast-playing abstract. Strongly recommended.

Review: Eclipse:: My Big Issue With The Game

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 02:01:06 +0000

by Mokhiam I only own the base game, so I'm not sure to what extent the expansions cure some of the issues I have with the game. I've played maybe around 10 games over the years, so I am not an expert by any means. However, I feel as though the game is restrictive in how a player can influence the game through the game mechanics. This is not to say that the player cannot undertake actions that will affect their own personal score, or the score of another player, but in a multiplayer game, especially a six player game, it seems like the rest of the galaxy can safely ignore those developments. Upon reflection, I feel that these issues mostly revolve around the mechanics surrounding ships, exacerbated by elements of randomness (hex tiles explored, reputation tiles drawn, research tiles available).Before I get into all of the mechanics surrounding ships, I'd like to give two examples of scenarios that I feel come up quite a bit. The first scenario happens in nearly every game I've played: a militarily dominant player conquers the center, and is quite capable of punishing 1...maybe 2 weaker players for questionable gain. Due to the HUGE defender's advantage (less actions required to defend, wins ties on initiatives, and the attacker must have a safe space to retreat to or the attacker loses all ships...), the militarily dominant player cannot possibly threaten every player from the center hex. These players are likely exploring, fighting ancients, researching, and building monuments like crazy, earning an impressive amount of victory points, and the militarily dominant player only really has the actions and resources to punish one player...while immediately exposing himself/herself to potentially devastating counter-attacks. The second scenario is one I see nearly as often: at least one player's initial explorations are so bad relative to the other players that we are all pretty assured that he or she will never be a serious contender to win the game. His or her early access to resources will be so delayed that an engine never really gets going, and this player is left far, far behind.The big issue with ships is movement. Specifically, you have to move through completed wormholes (this makes it easy to turtle), you can only move through one tile at a time (unless you invest in engines), you cannot move through another player's territory without it being considered a hostile move (subject to pinning, traitor card, and so on...), and big fleets are cost-prohibitive to move. All of this adds up to the fact that a player's threat to all other players is easy to identify, easy to prepare against, and likely does not extend beyond 1 or 2 hexes of neighboring players. The other issue is combat. Compared to the gains, it is often prohibitively expensive to go on the offensive. The player almost always has to attack well-defended border areas, and cannot afford to lose due to the resources committed to the [...]

Review: Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in The Second Punic War 219-202 B.C.:: It would be great to see this updated and reprinted

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 21:29:24 +0000

by bentlarsen Introduction:This game has received at least one written review, and the proverbial Calandale treatment--the Youtube version of "Potluck Review." I just want to blather a bit about the game in the forlorn hope that one day another publisher will republish it.Components:Though the map is not quite like some of the early Compass Games' efforts at reproducing Jackson Pollock's work on a game map--e.g. Bitter End, anyone?--this Aulic Council map, combined with the counters, borders on the garish, perhaps more because of having blue, green, orange, purple and pink--pink?!--cities. This lot provides the background for the colour used for the Roman counters, a rather flaming hot pink; perhaps the Counsul Flaminius insisted on it.Once your eyes adjust to this Punic Palette, the mounted map will prove to be a muddle work of functionality. There are holding boxes on the map for Roman, Punic and Macedonian (a potential friend of Carthage)forces. The Punic boxes are rather roomy, given that there are only four Punic leaders (plus a box for the capital of Carthage itself), though the space for Hannibal is too small, and you'll need to borrow the box from one of the other Punic leaders lower in the food chain. There is a box for the capital of Rome; good thing too, since you might have half of your entire army camping out in preparation for a dose of Punic Perfidy. The other boxes, one-per-too-many-lame-consuls, are not much larger than a postage stamp. Not even Scipio is given his future due. The counters are rather colourless in effect, for all their neon pinks and blues and purples and lavenders and famous--infamous--names of Roman consuls. I forgot when I picked up a copy (at a reasonable price, and not the kidney-exchange program that Noble Knight uses), but mine came unpunched. Given this game was published in 1983, I was concerned with how the counters would punch out; but there were only one or two problems, and I was impressed with the sturdiness of these suckers, if not with the art work. The map attempts to represent almost the major areas of the conflict. Missing is Illyria, wherethere was a bit of tooing and froing between Rome and Philip V, Corsica, and much of the northern sections that you find in other Punic War games. Sarnia is here, but strictly for looks. Sicily and Syracuse are present, along with the guarantee that Syracuse enters as an ally of Carthage in 210 b.c.e. All of Spain is contained in a tidy-sized square with the city of New Carthage. To get there, one arrives by ship or by an amorphous journey from Italy. Carthage and its surrounding area is present too. All-in-all, despite its cut & paste feel, the design tries to cover its bases, most of them, anyway.There is also a battle-board included on the map, and it is not nearly as exciting as it sounds. It is just a convenient place to stage the bucket-of-polymethyl met[...]

Review: Lisboa:: A Masterful Build - Creaking Shelves Reviews Lisboa

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 21:29:09 +0000

by Creaking shelves Up front disclosures: as Lisboa is still up on Kickstarter, naturally I was lucky enough to get a prototype copy of Lisboa for review. The pictures are therefore not of a finished game and changes may occur. This is also my first Vital Lacerda game, so I can only provide very limited comparisons with his previous titles based on what I've read about them. Finally, any pastry products featured in this review were bought by me, and not included in the game. Right, let's get on with this.Lisboa is a game you approach carefully… This sleeping monster can be tamed, but this should only be attempted by trained professionals. Or those of you who have played plenty of Euro games before. Basically, read on, and you’ll know if you’re ready.Lisboa is the latest extravagant creation from Vital Lacerda, designer of other monsterpieces such as The Gallerist, Kanban and Vinhos. I’ve not had the pleasure of trying his previous titles yet his reputation is such that experiencing one of his games might be considered a… ahem, vital, part of a well-rounded board game education. Yes, he’s the darling of the heavy Euro crowd and possibly the best thing to come out of Portugal since the Pastel de Nata.And it is to Portugal that we are returning with Lisboa, a game set in a dark time for the country. The titular capital city has been struck by perhaps the worst natural disaster Europe has seen: a massive earthquake, triggering terrible fires and finally a tsunami that razed the city to the ground. But the earth-shattering implications of the event went far beyond just structural damage; this event was set to transform European culture and philosophy. But first the leaders of Lisboa are determined to see a great new modern city be built and you’ll be the ones building it. And hopefully earning some new hairpieces along the way (wigs are victory points, I kid you not). Here is the city.You can see the intended spaces where new, modern (and indeed the first examples of seismically resistant buildings in Europe) are to be built. But to do that the ruins of the old city must be cleared. The sets of cubes around the right and bottom of the plan represent the damage from rubble, fire and flood in the area and you’ll be literally clearing those cubes from the board as you build. This is not going to be cheap: each building costs the total value of cubes in the row and column that you are building in (plus some tax) but completing that allows you to start producing new goods (according to which street it is built on) and opening up the possibilities for trade that come with that.Around the central area are a collection of spaces for the more impressive public buildings. These take more planning, but less money, to construct, as you’ll need to obtain architectural plans and ensure you have enough officials in place to run the building [...]

Review: Legendary: Deadpool:: The Broken Meeple - Marvel Legendary: Deadpool Review - Going Too Far!

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 19:48:06 +0000

by farmergiles Right, straight up, I'm not going to lie, when it comes to the chart of who I love in the Marvel universe, you've got Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, all the classics up the top. Then you've got some of the human characters like Professor X, Black Widow and Agent Coulson, who to be honest are more up there because I find their movie/TV counterparts so cool from the actors playing them. I'm a big Marvel fan though, I love a ton of the roster, but also remember I have not read the comics. But Deadpool is pretty low down on the list for me. Keep those pitchforks down please, but I don't find him that interesting. Now granted, I enjoyed the recent film for the most part, it was a good laugh with perfect casting. But its goofy style just feels out of place for the MCU, almost as if it should be its own thing by itself. That's just my personal opinion though, perhaps I'm more inclined to the "traditional" style of superheroes, who knows? I know a lot of Deadpool fans and to be honest as long as everyone has a superhero they love and adore whether it's Marvel or DC, I'm happy, you know me I love superheroes period. So with Legendary Marvel now getting a Deadpool mini expansion I must admit, I'm not as excited to delve in as with say Guardians of the Galaxy or Spiderman, but I'm sure it will probably work fine and just be a theme issue. . . . also who was asking for a Marvel Noir pack and why has there still not being a Defenders expansion? And where's Agent Coulson as a hero, oooh maybe an Agents of SHIELD pack, come on Upper Deck! Designer: Devin LowPublisher: Upper DeckAge: 8+Players: 1-5Time: 60-90 minutesRRP: £19.99From Board Game Geek:Five new heroes! Four new schemes! Two new villain groups! Two new masterminds! One insanely fun expansion!The Merc with a Mouth brings his charming personality, as well as a few friends, to the Legendary universe with Legendary: Deadpool, a 100-card, small box expansion that allows you to play with — and against — other players to defeat the nefarious threats aligned against Deadpool!One For The FansOne thing you're going to notice immediately (other than the usual average artwork) is that this set is deliberately poking fun at itself. You know those sets in some CCG's where they're basically a joke set not to be taken seriously, such as the title of this review from Magic The Gathering? Well that's what this feels like and as such I feel it's going to be solely one for Deadpool fans.Firstly you've got "half" values all over the place, which you add up as normal, but become quickly irritating. The flavour text is certainly more entertaining to read as it's all the typical fourth-wall breaking nonsense that Deadpool is known for. Even the rulebook is written from Deadpool's perspective so don't expect a standard approach to learning the game. Now if you love [...]

Review: Via Nebula:: German Via Nebula Review by

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 10:37:54 +0000

by slechim Diese und viele weitere top Boardgamereview auf ------------------------------------------------------------------- Im Tal von Nebula ist es dunkel geworden. Monströse Kreaturen haben sich dort angesiedelt und machen den Bewohnern das Leben schwer.Es ist an der Zeit, dass sich mutige Entdecker aufmachen, das Tal zu erkunden, unbekannte Pfade zu entdecken und wertvolle Rohstoffe abzubauen. Neue Gebäude müssen auf alten Ruinen gebaut werden und sollen das Tal zu neuem Wohlstand und Glück verhelfen. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Die Spieler schlüpfen in die Rolle eines Entdeckers und machen sich auf den Weg, diese Aufgabe zu bewältigen. Aber wird Nebula wieder im alten Glanz erstrahlen und zu neuem Leben erwachen?Via Nebula von Asmodee ist eine gelungene Mischung aus Worker-Placement und Legespiel. Am Anfang haben die Spieler ein Spielbrett mit wenig bekannten Orten vor sich ausliegen. Der größte Teil der Spielfläche ist mit Nebelfeldern verdeckt, die es im Laufe des Spiels zu erkunden gilt. Einzig einige Bauplätze und Rohstofffelder sind zu Beginn sichtbar. Die Spieler besitzen auf ihren Tableaus zu Beginn drei Bauplättchen, einige Wiesenplättchen, zwei Arbeiter, zwei persönliche Auftagskarten und fünf Gebäude. Ziel des Spiels ist es, diese fünf Gebäude auf dem Spielplan zu errichten. Wer als erster diese Aufgabe erfüllt und die meisten Siegpunkte hat, geht am Ende als Sieger hervor.Mit zwei Aktionspunkten pro Spielzug ausgestattet kann der Spieler nun eine oder mehrere aus sechs verschiedenen Aktionen auswählen, um sein Spielziel zu erreichen. Mit dem Einsatz von Arbeitern kann er Rohstofffelder erschließen, mit den Bauplättchen Bauplätze reservieren, um dort später Gebäude zu errichten, mit seinen Wiesenplättchen kann er Nebelfelder oder versteinerte Wälder terraformen, um diese für den Rohstofftransport begehbar zu machen. Desweiteren können Rohstoffe zum Bauplatz transportiert werden oder der Spieler errichtet ein Gebäude. Die Auswahl der Aktion wird dabei vom jeweiligen Spielverlauf vorgegeben, denn um ein Gebäude zu errichten, benötigt man einen Bauplatz und die geforderten Baustoffe. Um die Baustoffe zum Bauplatz zu transportieren, benötigt der Spieler wiederum einen begehbaren Weg von der Quelle zu seinem Bauplatz. Welche Rohstoffe zum Bau eines Gebäudes gefordert sind, wird durch die Auftragskarten vorgegeben. Zwei dieser Bauaufträge erhält der Spieler zu Beginn des Spiels. Weitere Aufträge werden in der Auslage des Spielbretts zur Auswahl ausgelegt. Erfüllte Bauaufträge geben dem Spieler Siegpunkte und enthalten Sonderfähigkeiten, die er bei erfolgreichem Abschluss als Boni erhält. Rohstoffe, die der Spieler auf seinem Bauplatz angesammelt hat und zur Erfüllung der Auftr[...]

Review: Pandemic Iberia:: A better Pandemic than Pandemic

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 10:32:03 +0000

by mkozlows You know Pandemic. Everyone knows Pandemic. So this is Pandemic in 19th-century Spain, which changes two big things about the game:1. You can't cure diseases, ever. Even after you research a color of disease, cubes of it will still come out, and reducing them in a city still requires you to do it one at a time. But you can "purify water" as an action, where you discard a city card to put two water tokens in a "region" (the space enclosed by a collection of cities, usually 4-5 of them), which you can draw down instead of placing cubes when infection happens there.2. You can't airdrop like in the original game (where you discard a city card to go to that city). Instead, you can build railroads. As an action, you can place a segment of rail between two cities; when you move, you can move by rail, which takes one action to move from one city on a connected set of rail to any other city on that rail.Surprisingly, these turn out to be changes that I think really work well, and address two of my problems with base-game Pandemic -- specifically, the puzzle-optimization nature of that game, and the gloominess of it.The gloominess aspect is straightforward. In base Pandemic, the world is always getting worse. Every turn, more and more disease comes out, and you're just trying to keep it under control, more or less, while you rush to get the endgame conditions before the world explodes into, uh, pandemic. Yes, at certain points, you'll clear diseases, and those are triumphs, but it's largely a game about fighting off dystopia and dystopia is always making advances.Here, you're doing that, right, but you're also improving the world. You're building rail networks that will help you move better in the future, you're putting in stocks of clean water that will give areas more disease-resistance in the future. A halfway-completed game will have more disease than a fresh board, but it'll also have more disease-fighting infrastructure that you've built up, which makes it feel less monotonically negative.And that also helps the puzzle-optimization nature of the game. Regular Pandemic is hyper-reactive. You're always dealing with what just happened, trying to trim it back, and maybe thinking about what's about to happen in a second. It's pure tactical crisis management. Which means that what you're doing is often very optimizeable -- there isn't necessarily an objectively best move at all times, but there often is, which makes the game feel like a puzzle to solve and really makes the group dynamics of it sucky. If one person has figured out that optimal move, then it's just a matter of convincing the other players to do it, and eventually they start to feel superfluous.But Pandemic: Iberia is a lot of building for the future. And when you're building for the future an[...]

Review: Aeon's End:: My new favorite deckbuilder? Maybe...

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 10:13:41 +0000

by kbieb I am writing this review after only two games; I will update my review if my opinion changes substantially after more plays.Kickstarter: I like co-ops and I like the deck-building mechanism, so this game is definitely one that interested me very much when I saw it pop up on Kickstarter. After watching the playthough video and Rahdo's and Undead Viking's reviews I backed at the Breach Mage level. This got me the game and both of the expansions. A quick note on the Kickstarter: it was run very well, good communication throughout, it delivered on time and certainly gave me my money's worth. Also, there are no Kickstarter exclusives, all of the stretch goals were either added to the base game or turned into one of the expansions.Components: There's been some negative press on the components. I'm mot sure why, I personally think they are fine. The cards are a good thickness and feel good in my hands, especially after sleeving them in KMC Perfect-Fits. The player and nemesis mats are nice thick cardboard. The chits are also thick enough and perfectly serviceable. I think I would have preferred them in a matte finish but glossy is okay. I only have a few minor quibbles. The wheels on the life trackers spin a little freer than I like. Tightening the fasteners helped somewhat but the issue wasn't fixed for me until I took them apart and cupped the disks a bit. The game box isn't the thinnest I have ever seen (Mistfall has that “honor”) but it isn't as robust as most of my games. The backs of the nemesis cards don't quite match up between the base game and the expansions, so it is possible to tell whether the next card you flip will be a nemesis-specific card or a basic nemesis card if you are playing an expansion minion. These are all minor issues though and don't detract from my enjoyment of the game at all.Rulebook: The rulebook is very good. There are a lot of pictures and examples. It's laid out in a logical order and it is pretty easy to find things in it if you have to look something up midgame even though there is no index. My only complaint is with the back cover. I don't like when rulebooks have part of the game explanation on the back cover. In my opinion, it should always be used as a player aid.Theme: The art and flavor text is decent and fits the theme quite well. I have no complaints about either.Mechanics: This is primarily a deckbuilder with a purpose. It plays like most Dominion-style deckbuilders (fixed shop) with a little twist: you never shuffle your deck. Since some of the cards are synergistic, not shuffling makes it easier to set-up combos. I like that. I don't think I will ever fully capitalize on the advantage that it give me because I don't like to spend the time over-thinking my turn but even just putt[...]

Review: Fabled Fruit:: Radio Review #112 - Fabled Fruit

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 05:33:35 +0000

by radiofyr309 Fabled Fruit (2016 - Stronghold Games)"For the times they are a-changing...."The legacy format has been a massive hit, introducing a refreshing new way to interact with the games we love. Starting with the release of Risk Legacy in 2011, players were now able to decide how a game would evolve, session after session, introducing new rules, breaking other rules, renaming parts of the game itself, and in some cases physically destroying game components. After numerous plays, what eventually emerged was a game unique to that player, unlike any other copy out there. This formula has since been repeated with the releases of both Pandemic Legacy, and Seafall. All three of these games being designed by Rob Daviau. While not necessarily a legacy-style game, Friedemann Friese's Fabled Fruit uses the newly developed "fable" system, which is somewhat shaped from this legacy format. Instead of completely altering rules and permanently making changes to the game, the fable system allows for some mechanics and actions to evolve over time, creating an ongoing gameplay experience for numerous sessions of play. While these changes evolve, they're never permanent, and players can always revert back to the beginning, almost like starting over a video game.You'd think a format such as this would be better suited for a longer, more epic game. However, Fabled Fruit is a 20-30 minute filler. And as a filler, players are able to experience a quick and simple game that's unique with each play. In Fabled Fruit, players are animals in a forest, in search of collecting the various fruits needed to concoct one of the legendary fabled juices. Players will travel to different locations in the forest, each containing a unique action they can perform there, and contains the listed fruit cards they'll need to purchase that location's fabled juice. The first game begins with locations 1-6, with each location containing 4 copies of that location. The remaining locations (7-59) are placed in a stack near the play area. When a player is able to turn in the fruits needed to purchase the fabled juice, that location card is removed from play and turned into an awarded juice for that player. Then the next location from the large stack is placed out, possibly revealing a new location with a new available action. Over time, these new actions will help evolve the game, and more components, variation, and complexity are added to the game over time. Once a session has ended, players can save their progress through the location stack and carry it over to the next game session, eventually working through all 59 locations.Components- Location card decks (59 different decks)- Fruit cards (bananas, coconuts, grapes, pineapples, and strawberr[...]

Review: Terraforming Mars:: A nice game but I don't love it - A non-worshipper review

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 05:07:30 +0000

by brito I began to write this review because every other review I had read for this game was praising it heavily and there's a big hype about it, but I saw nothing so special about it. It's a reasonably good game, but there's nothing special about it, in my opinion. It called my attention that many people compare it to Race for the Galaxy, one of my favorite games. So, how can I love RftG and think this game just reasonable? Read on and you'll find out.Unfortunately, it took me a while to publish this review after I wrote it. I was without time and wanted to let it mature a bit. In the meantime other neutral and even negative reviews came up. So, my review became a little pointess, but I decided not to waste my effort and publish it anyway.I was lucky enough to get a copy of this game quickly and played it many times in a short span of time. I played the game 3 times with 5 players, once with 4 players , twice with 3 players, 4 times with 2 players and once with 1.As usual with any game that has many fans, I appologize in advance if my opinion is not the same as yours and if anything I say may hurt anyone's feelings (easy to happen when a game has a lot of dedicated fans), but hey, it's just my opinion, everyone is very welcome to disagree!Short description of the gameplayTheme, set up and end of game conditionsIn TM you play on a board that represents the map of Mars surface divided in an hexagonal grid. The players have to - more or less in a cooperative way - make Mars inhabitable for Mankind by adjusting 3 parameters: a) Temperature - there's a counter on the board, it starts at -33 Celsius degrees and has to rise up to 8 degress; b) Oxygen level - also there's a counter on the board, it starts at 0% and has to rice up to 14%; and c) Seas - Mars begins with no seas and 9 hexagonal sea tiles have to be put on Mars. There are special spaces (low spaces on Mars surface) where sea tiles may be put. When all the 3 targets are reached the final round of the game is triggered and players check their scores to see who is the winner.The players play the role of corporations who are financing projects to terraform Mars. In the beginner's game, the game is simetrical and the all players begin with the same amount of money and no special power or initial special production of resources. In the normal game the corporations are asymetrical. The players are given 2 corporation cards at the beginning of the game and select one. The corporation cards say with how much money, initial stock of resources (normally zero) and initial production of resources the players begin. Also each corporation gives a special power to the player.Also at the beginning of the game each player receives 10 pro[...]

Review: Inis:: Quick review after 1st play of Inis

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 04:43:35 +0000

by anient


1. simple rules. accessible.
2. beautiful artwork

1. potentially plays fast so some of the negatives can be somewhat overlooked
2. zero engine building. some people like it, some people don't. you are basically doing the same thing over and over again each round (this becomes a negative when combined with negative #2)

1. it suffers from the usual direct conflict-area control game problem - once someone is winning, people gang up. this usually leads to someone else leading and so on. eventually, the person who ends up winning is the 2nd or 3rd person to surge. to a certain extent, this is inevitable in direct conflict-area control games, but some games (BR, Kemet) mitigate this problem while inis exacerbates it in a few ways:-
(a) lots of take that
(b) limited actions per round so after actions are spent by players taking down the leader, the 2nd/3rd person will win

2. 30%-40% of the game is the start-of-round draft. the problem is that the draft pool is made up of 4x+1 cards (where X is the number of players). you remove 1 card before you draft. so you basically see 90+% of the possible cards in the whole game. *EVERY ROUND*. this can be good because you become very famliar but it gets boring doing the same thing over and over. especially when there is no engine building.

3. quite unbalanced advanced cards that you can draw.

4. quite unbalanced region powers that are given to the player who "controls" a region

5. the game setup itself is problematic. the starting player (Brenn) is randomly determined and he then determines where the capital is AND he starts placing troops on the board first. so he will put the capital where the best region yes (see #4) and occupy it. and which other player is going to sacrifice control of aother region to challenge the Brenn? if he does, the other players will gain.

6. combat resolution requires players to be very reasonable. can potentially lead to ruin for both sides if neither wants to "truce". if 7 units attack 5 units, can end up with 1 unit left if nobody wants to be reasonable about it. then both players are fucked.

compares poorly with modern area control games like kemet and blood rage.

Review: IKI:: A slick, elegant euro-beauty from Japan

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:34:18 +0000

by nkorppi IKI feels Japanese through and through, from the board drawing inspiration from 1805 murals, the dread of fire burning through your straw-built handicraft, and the endearingly classic art style. It is actually designed by a Japanese designer, Koota Yamada, adding to the authenticity. The box, board and card-art (front & back) all attracted the attention of onlookers and made them more keen to try out IKI. IKI is a euro-game that tries to offer a lot of complexity and meat with a simple streamlined turn structure, akin to something like Five Tribes. It uses a rondel-mechanic that forces players to make tough choices about how they should customise the game board to interact with other players.Positives:+ The game is elegant and has no extraneous rules or components. Each turn has the same pattern: either buy a shop or take 4 coins, then move around the board, using a shop and/or special action of the district where you landed (of 8 possible districts). (Each district has space for two different shops, to create interesting decisions about which one to use, if any.) The simplicity of the underlying mechanics makes learning and teaching the rules an absolute breeze (the new edition has masterfully rewritten English rules right in the box, also available on BGG). + The game offers many overlapping layers of tension between opposite aims. I describe seven types of tensions here:1. Moving slow lets you collect many items that you may need desperately. Moving fast gives you more/better end-of-season bonuses, since every completed lap/cycle through the market levels up all of your shops immediately when you cross the start/finish-line. Both kinds of rewards (slow vs. fast) are significant and feel different. Also, losing out on either kind of reward can really sting! So the choices become beautifully agonising. 2. Using another player's shop levels up their shop (using your own does not have a similar effect). This helps them retire their shop sooner, giving them one of their pawns (limited to four!) back, helping them to create a new shop and to advance their scoring engine: their retired shop scores its highest bonus at the end of each season that follows. By using other players' shops, you are a hamster in their hamster wheel, falling for a Venus flytrap, helping them advance their engine faster. Yet, since you do not have to pay anything to their shop to gain a good or power, players are compelled to use these anyway, most of the time. You are essentially giving up a useful 'free' commodity, just to stop them from progressing, by opting to not use their shop. This creates interesting light-hearted accusations around t[...]

Review: The Oracle of Delphi:: A First Take on The Oracle of Delphi

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:33:55 +0000

by SunUhMuhnBuhns Hello everyone! After playing Oracle twice last weekend, I decided to write up a short overview and initial thoughts. See below:With an extended holiday weekend, I took the opportunity to sacrifice some sleep in favor of playing a lot of games from across the spectrum. Among the crop were a few standouts, but only one game made it to the table twice all weekend: The Oracle of Delphi, from Stefan Feld and our wonderful podcast sponsor, Tasty Minstrel Games (U.S. publication).The Oracle of Delphi is a “race game” in the respect that the goal is to be the first to do something. No, you’re not in high-performance cars making well-timed passes and pits; rather, you’re sailing a variably set-up landscape of sea spaces fighting monsters, paying tribute to the Gods, and founding temples in their honor. All players at the table will work through these tasks, with the first to finish all 12 claiming victory. It’s a definite departure from the Feldian classics like Trajan and Castles of Burgundy, but continues to showcase the unique action selection and efficiency mechanisms that are common elements of his titles.While the same actions are available each round, the use of mitigatable dice-rolling will determine the specific interactions that can be made. This is through a color-based system, where a die of a specific color (e.g., red) must be spent to manipulate a corresponding element on the board (e.g., fighting a red monster or delivering a red offering cube). You may spend currency, “Favor Points,” to change the die-faces each round to better suit your specific needs. Using your dice to complete your objectives will net you further benefits, advantages like special action cards or extra Favor.While you constantly work toward a more efficient system, you must also avoid taking too many “wounds,” which come in six different colors and will force you to lose a turn if you amass three of the same color or six total. You potentially gain wounds at the end of each round, depending on a die roll and how many “shields” you have invested in. If the roll exceeds your shields you gain one wound, or two is a six is rolled.Like all games considered quintessential Feld, Oracle of Delphi has many lateral pieces that move together. Not many of the mechanisms stack or build on one another, there are simply a large number of things laid out in front of you that require your attention. This makes for an overwhelming first play, though still not nearly as agonizing as previous titles. You understand exactly what you need to do and where you’re headed, it’s the pathway there that’[...]

Review: Bios: Genesis:: Experiencing the origin of life

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:33:15 +0000

by prismofeverything There is a great festival in the PNW where they send a team to Essen to buy literally every release they can, then ship them back to the states so we can all try them out. I think it is also a festival for people who love to read rules, since no one has ever played these games and many no one has even heard of or will ever see stateside anyway. Pretty much every game you play you are breaking out the rule book with a group of people and figuring it out.My brother and I went straight for Bios: Genesis. It was hard to find because this one guy kept taking it and keeping it by him while he played other games, but ultimately we tracked it down. I have been fascinated with the nature of life my whole life. I can never think about it without wonder. How is this possible? How can I be standing here contemplating the chain of causality that must have been necessary to spawn things that can contemplate in the first place? How can my cells be full of such organized chaos that I can appear to be standing still at all? Shouldn't I just be a flailing puddle? I can't get over it. It is too crazy.Clearly, this game was made for me.Ambitious? I will just try to capture the entire conception and evolution of life over the first 4 billion year history of our planet. And not just throw some cards and tokens around with moleculely art, but actually express the dynamics and relationships of life struggling to find purchase in a hostile world. I love this guy. The sheer audacity makes the whole thing that much greater, because he actually does it. This is as close as you will get to being a biological compound evolving over 4 billion years of geologic time.So, the rulebook. We have the game, we sit down and spread everything out, and dive into the rules. I will say, I think one of the reasons I love playing games is deciphering rulebooks. It is so satisfying to extract the *game* out of the encoding. It is like archaeology, or cryptograms. Sometimes more than others.Before you play the game, you get to read the *rules*. That is the first game. And it won't be the first time you read them, at least, if you want to actually know how to play. But you have to start somewhere.I think one of the reasons Eklund games have such a reputation for density and incomprehensibility around their rulebooks is that he makes up a bunch of words. It is like when I discovered Clockwork Orange in 7th grade and just read the first few chapters without even knowing what the hell he was saying. Then all of a sudden it clicked, like the constellations coming into focus, and there it is all clear a[...]

Review: Aeon's End:: Defending Gravehold - A Review of Aeon's End

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:32:54 +0000

by ajsoares Got back from our trip to Chicago to find a big brown box waiting for me. To be quite honest, I had absolutely no idea what was inside (does that mean I do too much online shopping?) so was pleasantly surprised to find this beautiful game inside. So exciting!!!!As some background, I kickstarted Aeon’s End at the Breach Mage level (Core + Depths expansion). I fell in love with the art, fantasy theme and decided I wanted to add an “interactive” deckbuilder to my collection. Rahdo and Jenn’s review (yes the elusive Jenn appeared again for a full fledged Aeon’s end review) was also a pretty solid factor in my decision (and Lucas really liked the look of it – one of the only incidences of him greenlighting my minor kickstarter addiction - and told me it reminded him of Mage Knight... which btw it is nothing like).Couldn’t wait to play this one, and, enabled by the simple rules and quick/manageable game length actually managed to break into this one mid week. Ultimately, I really like it and am pretty psyched about the addition to my collection (this is my very first deckbuilder and one of the few co-ops I own). The pros-highly thematic fantasy themed deckbuilder with significant replayability-interesting mechanics (no shuffling deck, attack vs. economy)-co-operative deckbuilder without being prone to alpha player syndrome-relatively quick game (~1 hour)-multiple difficulty levels-easy to teach: I was able to explain the basic rules in ~5 minutesThe cons-less than stellar components-theme is not for everyone (funny enough this is a pro for me, but not for my group)-won on our second attemptOther things to know-This is a co-op game. If you do not like co-ops, this game might not be for you. That said, I did not find that this game was prone to alpha player syndrome (each person is playing their own hand but co-ordinating with each other as to the strategy each should employ... that is, each player’s strategy can be different, players can affect other players health/hand/etc. but some coordination between both players is necessary to succeed against the evil nemesis)-No player elimination-I am no deckbuilder expert – this is in fact my first owned deckbuilder – so take my comments in contextHow does it work?You and your teammates are the survivors of an invasion generations back, working together to defend Gravehold from The Nameless.Turn order is random and determined by the turn order deck. I really like this aspect of the game though it was a little strange to get used to our first play (... at least for me... Our firs[...]

Review: Colony:: Colony (Game Review by Chris Wray)

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:32:32 +0000

by chriswray84 Note: This review originally appeared on The Opinionated Gamers at: Ted Alspach, Toryo Hojo, Yoshihisa NakatsuPublisher: Bézier GamesArtists: Ollin Timm, Stephanie Gustafsson, Digital Imaginary StudiosPlayers: 1 – 4Ages: 13 and UpTime: 45-60 MinutesTimes Played: 5 (With 2, 3, and 4 Players)Bézier Games’s latest title, Colony, was demoed at Gen Con and then released at Essen, generating considerable buzz at both conventions. Colony was one of the highlights of Essen for me, and I’ve greatly enjoyed my plays since, so I wanted to do a full review.In Colony, players construct and upgrade buildings, and those buildings help with future production, resource manipulation, and victory points. There’s a strong element of engine building, and a variable setup, so Colony feels a bit like Dominion meets Catan or Machi Koro. The resources in Colony are dice, but to reduce the luck factor, the game game features dice drafting.Colony is Ted Alspach’s reimplementation of Age of Craft, a Japanese design by Toryo Hojo and Yoshihisa Nakatsu. Ted did a designer diary for Colony here at BGG, and I highly recommend it if you’re into the history of games or how they’re developed.As described below, setup is variable. There’s a free iOS or Android setup app for download to help in that process.Gameplay Walkthrough: Dice drafting, resource management, and engine building…From the Rulebook: “Eighty years after the nanopocalypse, Earth is mostly ruins. It’s up to you to rebuild civilization in this stark new world, using the few scarce resources you can find. Of course, other post-humans have the same idea, so it’s a race to see who can build up their colony first.”The goal of the game is to be the first to set a predetermined number of victory points (VPs): 15 in a 4-player game, 16 in a 3-player game, and 20 in a 2-player game.Each player starts with their four player cards, which are outlined below, and three stable (white) dice, which they roll and place in their warehouse. The game distinguishes between stable (white) dice, which can be stored from turn to turn, and unstable (grey) dice, which are only good on your turn.In a four player game, the fourth player receives a CHIPI, which are chips that can be exchanged to roll an unstable (grey) dice at the start of your turn. CHIPIs can also be obtained by not building on your turn.Colony is a straightforward game. On a player’s turn, he takes four steps:1. Prepare. Take all [...]

Review: Four Roads to Moscow:: The Mega Review: An Thorough Analysis of All Four Games.

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:32:09 +0000

by catosulla [BGCOLOR=#FF0000]Slaughterhouse[/BGCOLOR]Slaughterhouse is a point to point strategic level game that covers the Eastern Front from the commencement of Operation Barbarossa through March 1942. Each turn players go through a political phase where they can change leaders and bring in reinforcements, a maneuver phase which is the heart of the game where players make moves using the impulse system found in games such a Breakout: Normandy. One the maneuver phase is complete, both sides gain refit points to rebuild their armies to prepare for the next turn. Victory is determined by points gained by Axis forces as they capture key objectives in the USSR.Playing Time: Overall this is pretty good. Since the game operates at the army/army group level is typically doesn’t take much time to execute moves. Moreover, since the game uses the impulse system, you can normally only activate one area which also makes the game turns go quickly. However, the game can vary quite a bit in overall length. Since the impulse system uses a die roll (DR) to determine the end of a turn, some turns can be very long while others very short. Map: The map is a bit unusual in that you have an impulse system using point to point movement. While I don’t think this makes a big deal, the spaces can get crowded if you end up with more than one unit in a location. The map color leaves something to be desired (to use polite language) or(to be blunt) one could ask: who thought it would be a good idea to make most of the map baby S&^% green in color? Another issue with the map is the tiny print on the terrain key. Granted, there are not too many things to remember with terrain since this is a strategic level game, but I think it would’ve been better served to have the terrain printed on the back of the rules book rather than making it so tiny on the map. The turn record and general records tracks are of a good size. The map does feel a bit busy in the end but it does get the job done.Counters: The counters are fairly small but they are sturdy and the print is clear and readable. The counters are a bit different in that the three numbers are attack strength, counterattack strength and movement points but that is easy to get used to for those used to the impulse movement system. The counters do stand out well against the map in most cases and are easy to handle. Rules: The heart of the Slaughterhouse rules lie in the impulse system that was made popular by the Avalon Hill(AH) series of games (Storm Ov[...]

Review: Jórvík:: Add This Strategy and Management Game to Your Collection

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:30:35 +0000

by Chris Baylis JORVIK: Stefan Feld 2-5 Players Aged 10+ 45-90 Minutes per game Eggertspiele Pegasus Spiele Stronghold GamesJORVIK is a trading, resource and worker placement game; well actually it is two games, the KARL and the JARL games. You choose which game to play and set the board accordingly, folding it in half for the Karl and using the complete board for the Jarl. JORVIK is designed for 4 players but it can accommodate 2, 3 or 5 players by adjusting the number of cards used; this occurs for both game types. The rules are written for the KARL version but you follow them through for the JARL as well, except that at certain points in the rulesbook you replace a paragraph or two of text from the main body with the text found in the associated Red Boxes. This system works surprisingly well and makes the game rules easy to follow. In fact the rules are so well detailed that you can setup and play as you read through them for the first time with your players in attention, there really is no need to study the rules; this is almost a pick-up and play game, almost!The players control the actions of the Viking Tribes in the City of York, then known as JORVIK. The components are basic wooden blocks and meeples along with strong card for the board and player boards, regular die-cut card for coins and a simple black bag to hold them. There are four decks, Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn that comprise the main 104 card deck and each of these is beautifully illustrated by Marc Margielsky. In fact I would go as far as to say that the designers and creators of this game have gone the extra mile to ensure that the pieces are of top quality and durable because this is a game you are going to want to play many. many times. Although both versions, KARL and JARL, are similar in gameplay they are also sufficiently different to make each game unique in its own way. The wooden piece for Start Player; Thor's Hammer "Mjölnir" looks a bit like an anchor rather than a mighty weapon of the gods and players are commenting on this, possibly because the shaft widens a little where it meets the hammer head, but this doesn't affect the gameplay in any way, shape or form, it is, after all just a reminder of who started the round.The KARL game:You begin by folding the board in half so that the side showing the row of Viking Huts each with a tiled path leading to them. This path is a very important and clever part of the game for it is here that the players can gain useful cards for [...]

Review: Knights of the Air:: One of the best WWI aviation games

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:30:02 +0000

by tico My long journey to the aviation games started from three games. One that really got me into it was as unlikely candidate that could be, Avalon Hill's Knights of the Air. A game little seen or heard, and which remarkably enough I still do own but have not played in years (once I collect it from rather distant warehouse, I will promise myself to bring it on table). Once upon a time I thought about giving it away, or selling it, but over the years I've started to appreciate the decision to keep it. Knights of the Air is a genuinely interesting game system, something that you would not come by every day - or even every other day.First, at the time it was published, it was really pretty. It is still today delight to watch. Second, it was about WWI, and had nice mixture of planes of all types. Even single large Zeppelin was included, couple of bombers and nice scenarios that pitted few planes against each other. It meant that board was never too crowded nor too busy.There were peculiarities though. Each plane had it's own sheet for record keeping, and altitude system that could have been better. Maneuvers were executed by playing cards, and there were mechanisms in play to make game more interactive. Spotting rules made life interesting because seeing your enemy was not automatic. All in all, there were features that gave you feeling that you were actually flying ages old, underpowered but otherwise well performing biplane. It was infinitesimal improvement over Richthoven's War.Flight mechanics were solid. Briefly, you went step by step to get right speed, power, altitude etc. and then off you went to do maneuvering which your opponent could intercept under certain conditions, perform maneuver in between and so on. What dictated your ability to perform maneuvers were your own ability, your planes capability and that wether you actually had any enemies in sight. Not simple by any means but very, oh so very rewarding once you managed to place yourself in right angle to your opponent. After hard maneuvering, you finally had a shot, jammed your only gun and then spend few furious turns trying to get it back in line again while evading enemy fighters that were trying to shoot you off the sky.Nostalgic as it might be, Knights of the Air was then as it is today somewhat complicated game and hard to master, but by no means a bad one. Will to get through the rules and understanding the mechanics offered countless hours of fun. Rare as it may be[...]

Review: Silver Bayonet: The First Team in Vietnam, 1965:: Anticipating Silver Bayone

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 19:11:00 +0000

by Radz You know how when you are really anticipating something, and how so often when you get this way about something, it almost always ends up being a disappointment as so few of things can live up to the expectations we can sometimes work ourselves up to. Well this is how I was in looking forward to Silver Bayonet. Though I had gotten some concerned that the complexity level of this game would end up too high. Mitchell Land is the designer of the current version, and he is also the guy behind GMT's Next War series. I like the Next War series, but it is towards the higher complexity level, very much so when you use the advanced air rules. And from reading the Inside GMT articles on the Silver Bayonet, I was kind of baffled by the mechanics as explained in the articles. But now having the game in my grubby little hands, I am thrilled with how the rules turned out.The rules for the non-campaign game are just eighteen pages! Though some of the non-campaign scenarios do use a rule here and there from the Campaign Scenario Rules, there aren't many. And quite remarkably, I very easily grasped those eighteen pages of rules. Any more I have been making myself cheat sheets for rule sets for moderate complexity games even. But with Silver Bayonet, I just started playing with no need for help.It helps that the game comes with player aid cards that outline things quite well. And as usual, GMT prints them on heavy card stock and in color as some other companies don't even print color coded rule books. Included are eight double sided sheets with scenario info, three displays to track information on, two cards with sequence of play and other very useful information, two 11 x 17 charts, and two 11 x 17 screens to be used to concealing hidden information. All of this is great, though one of the scenario cards has some of the units used printed in a color which is off of what it should be (no big deal at all). And the screens have graphics which I don't like, but that's just an aesthetic issue.From looking at the map prior to release, I was concerned about this being one of those maps that looks great but turns out to have sacrificed functionality for attractiveness. Specifically I thought it might be hard to distinguish between the different types of terrain. But on getting it out of the box, I sat down and looked close at it along with the terrain key (which is printed on the map as well as also on the playe[...]

Review: Raiders of the North Sea:: The Cardboard Hoard: Review of Raiders of the North Sea

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:23:00 +0000

by ericbinnyc Raiders of the North Sea is the second game of the North Sea trilogy of games, along with Shipwrights of the North Sea and Explorers of the North Sea, all of which were designed by New Zealander Shem Phillips and Kickstarted by his Garphill Games publishing company. The game is a Viking themed worker placement where players will vie to raid surrounding territories to score the highest point total.Raiders of the North Sea is a worker placement where players always have one worker. When they place that worker, they take that associated action, but may not pick that worker back up that turn. They have to pick up a worker on a different space of the board, and they get to take that second action as well. They then keep that worker to repeat this sequence on their next turn. Available actions include drawing cards, stocking up on resources including provisions and silver, hiring crew, increasing armor, making offerings to the chieftain, and raiding.There are three different colors of workers -- black, grey, and white. Only some colors of workers can be placed on certain spaces, and other spaces give different amounts of resources or bonuses depending on the color of the worker placed there. Where the communal workers are placed and what color they are becomes a critical part of the game, keeping players engaged on the game during opponents turns as their opponents' moves determine their options. The players are also racing to raid each of the twenty-something locations to get choice loot, victory points, and set off the end of the game. Balancing when to spend actions increasing resources and crew, and when to raid is another critical and interesting decision point in the game.Pros: Unique twist to worker placement, bright, colorful and intuitive board design, beautifully illustrated cards, nice wooden bits and metal coins, a good amount of depth for a game that plays in an hour, scales well from two to four players, small box considering everything contained inside.Cons: No direct combat, and little direct player interaction (a few cards allow stealing resources from opponents), although there is passive interaction in where opponents place the communal workers. While not everyone will find this to be a negative, in the context of a Viking game with the word "Raiders" in its title, it is worth mentioning.Due to the combination of its Viking theme, beautiful artwork, a uniqu[...]

Review: Adrenaline:: A GFBR Review: Euro-Style Ameritrash Madness

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 05:58:46 +0000

by MyParadox In a dystopian future, the masses are entertained only by bloodshed. Three to five competitors enter the arena where it is kill and be killed. But Adrenaline swaps out the standard roll-dice-and-kill-dudes system so common in these games. Instead, you have a euro-style system of gaining ammo and then shooting it into the bodies of your enemies using, what else, colored cubes. But do those ideas mesh well?The Basics. Each player gets their own board to keep track of wounds. Each also starts with a single weapon and a few colored cubes. Then its game on.On a turn, a player can perform two actions. The choices are to move, pick up ammo or weapons on their space, or attack. To attack, the players play whichever weapon card they want to the table and its effect takes place. In general, there are no rules for dodge or defense. You pay the cubes, the damage is done. At the end of a turn, a player can reload a weapon, taking it back into their hand, by discarding the appropriate cubes.If you damage someone, you give them blood tokens to go on their board. Each player has their own colored blood tokens to give away. These take up wound slots on their player board. As they take damage, they gain adrenaline. This makes their actions more effective – allowing them to move in addition to whatever action they take.At some point, however, someone dies. The damage done is counted up and points distributed. In the first death, the person who did the most damage gets 8, the next person 6, then 4, then 2. That dead person immediately respawns, but covers the 8 point slot. So, the next time they die, the person doing the most damage gets only 6 points, then 4, then 2, then 1.The game ends after 8 deaths. The player with the most points wins.The Feel. Adrenaline has several things going for it. Not the least of which is that it feels like a high-paced shoot-em-up style game. And what’s even better is that you never get bogged down in combat. Too often, a fast-paced game turns to combat mode and suddenly becomes a slow slog of dice rolling, defenses, and skill use. Not here.In fact, that’s one of the great things about the game. In most games, you have to roll to hit with your weapon or inflict damage. Not with Adrenaline. You hit when you say you hit. There is no defense and no way to avoid the damage. This keeps the game moving and means that positioning is [...]

Review: Kullerhexe:: "Kullerhexe" - a conclusion (german)

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 05:58:31 +0000

by Brakus „KULLERHEXE“ – FAZITReview-Fazit zu „Kullerhexe“, einem tollen Familiengeschicklichkeitsspiel.[Infos]für: 2-5 Spielerab: 6 Jahrenca.-Spielzeit: 15-25min.Autor: Marco TeubnerIllustration: n/aVerlag: Drei Magier SpieleAnleitung: deutsch, englisch, französisch, italienisch, holländischMaterial: sprachneutral[Download: Anleitung]dt., engl., frz., ital., holl.: (s. rechts unten)[Fazit]Die schusselige Kullerhexe hat im Wald all ihre Hexenutensilien verschlampt und macht sich nun mit Spielerhilfe auf die Suche.Die Spieler agieren teamweise, immer zwei Sitznachbarn gemeinsam und das reihum, so dass jeder mit jedem gespielt hat, und drücken dazu an den Ecken des Spielfeldes auf die kleinen Stäbchen, um die Spielfläche dort jeweils herunter zu drücken – das Spielbrett liegt auf Schaumstoffpolstern auf.Die Kullerhexe hat ihren Namen von der kleinen Metallkugel, die unter ihrer Figur steckt und durch die verursachten „auf-und-ab“-Bewegungen der Spielfläche, kullert sie in die (hoffentlich) gewünschte Richtung. Hierfür sollten sich die Spieler natürlich absprechen und dementsprechend mal abwechselnd, mal gemeinsam die nötigen Ecken herunterdrücken.Zufällig verteilt liegen die einzusammelnden Hexengegenstände und dummerweise stehen auch reichlich Bäume im Weg, so dass der Weg von Utensiel zu Utensil mitunter sehr umständlich zu bewältigen ist, denn zu all der Geschicklichkeitsherausforderung kommt noch die Zeitkomponente, denn eine Sanduhr läuft erbarmungslos mit, während die Spieler versuchen, die durch Kartenvorgabe zu findenden Gegenstände einzusammeln. Eine wunderbar spassige Hektik!Und als ob das noch nicht genug wäre, ist die Sammelei für die beiden aktuellen Spieler auch sofort zu Ende, wenn die Hexe ihren locker sitzenden Hut verliert. Und dies kann schnell passieren, wenn sie nicht geschickt an den Bäumen vorbeibugsiert wird und der Hut an einem Ast hängenbleibt.All das ist aber leichter gesagt, als getan, denn die Spieler müssen sich, im Wechsel und damit fehlt das „Einspielen“^^, gut absprechen und einfach funktionieren, die gesuchte Objekte schnell auffinden und sich von der Sanduhr nicht verrückt machen lassen .Alles in allem also (oder aber^^) eine Riesen-Gaudi für Familien mit Kids und alle Geschicklichkeitssp[...]

Review: Star Wars: Destiny:: Well. Wow.

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:26:41 +0000

by Geosphere Marketing disclaimer:The nature of the game is blind booster. You can buy singles if that bothers you. I won't go further than that about the way this is marketed and produced, you can find tons of pros and cons of blind boosters elsewhere.I was extremely excited when I heard about this game. I am a Star Wars fanatic since the original 12 action figures and have seen each movie in the theaters multiple times. I love X-Wing, but the Star Wars LCG didn't work at all for me.This game works for me. On many, many levels.The first games were just with the unmodified starters, to learn the rules.There are very few rules, but they must be adhered to in perfect order and detail or the whole thing crumbles. I'm sure the forums will flood with people misplaying the differences between SUPPORT and UPGRADE. The rules are really very good, and the extended rulebook and FAQ are excellent.So, once you learn the basic system and flow of play, there is an overwhelming sense of "Is that it?" "Is this meant for 10 year olds only?"This is one of those hallmarks makes some games great. You aren't fighting the rules, you're fighting your opponent. The rules are wonderful in their simplicity. The warping of that simplicity through the card play is amazing, challenging and exciting.You get your dudes and put dice on them. Simple start. Deckbuilding later on will change your team, but it's always a small, personal tactical squad that goes to the fight. Beat the heck out of the other guys is the name of the game. Losing one of your guys is huge. It really hurts when a character goes down, taking with it all the hard earned upgrades you've put on.Turns are astoundingly short. To the point of not seeming to make sense when you first hear about it. "Roll a die" Turn over. At the very start of the game, when you have few dice and only a tiny amount of resources, if the turns are taking thirty seconds, someone isn't paying attention. There's only a tiny handful of actions available.But the order you execute the actions can massively sway the game.If you want to do damage, well, first you have to roll damage on the dice. So, let's say you get a die that says it does 2 melee damage. Next turn you have the option - roll someone else's dice and hope to get your melee damage number higher OR execute the [...]

Review: BattleGoats:: Board Game Authority Reviews BattleGoats

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:09:15 +0000

by rbakeratl For images, please see the original article at Board Game Authority.Glorious battle awaits in the land of Goatopia, a war-torn land filled with anthropomorphic goat people. That’s the premise behind the card game BattleGoats. While primarily a typical “me vs you” style battle game, BattleGoats adds an element of hidden information & memory that isn’t often seen in this kind of game. This added element makes BattleGoats a clever game where tactical positioning is crucial.GameplayEach player is dealt one random Hero to lead their makeshift army, and then gets eight more randomly dealt regular troop cards, for a total of nine cards. These are arranged, face down, in a 3×3 grid. Proximity and location, such as a card being in the front row, are very important to certain cards, so placement is a key part of winning.After all players have set up their grid of cards, the first player selects one of their cards to turn face up and attack. Unless the card in question states otherwise, the attacking card is able to attack any other card in play. To do so, the attacking player simply chooses an opponent’s card to attack. Most of the time, any card is able to attack any other card.To resolve an attack, players look at the attack value of each card in the fight. The card with the highest number, after all modifiers, wins and the other card is discarded. There are different types of cards, such as Equipment, Goats, and Creatures. Each card has a special ability as well. The card type and ability often modify the attack value of one or more of the cards in each fight.After the fight is resolved, the winning card is turned back face down. Play then passes to the next player and this is repeated until only one player still has cards. The player with cards remaining is declared the winner and probably goes on to become a master goat tamer.The first time you attack a card you probably won’t know what it is or how powerful it might be. For this reason, the early game is kind of a gamble and a lot comes down to luck. As the game progresses and you learn the identity of your opponent’s cards, your plays will become more thought out and strategic.PositivesThe art in BattleGoats is nice, and suitable for the entire family. The cards do a great job of showing off the illustr[...]

Review: Orcs Must Die!: Order – The Boardgame:: The Good, The Bad, and the Orcly

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:44:17 +0000

by drb1979 I am not one of the reviewers they sent copies of Orcs Must Die to. I am a backer at the highest tier + addons. That being said I got frustrated at the lack of reviews up on this game so far so I thought I would try to put one up myself. I am going to try and break this up into sections – who I am as a gamer, why I backed this, the flow of the game, and finally the good the bad and the orcly.Who I am as a gamerI would say typically for boardgames I am a Eurogamer. My top 5 include Gallerist, Concordia, Scythe, Orleans, and Viticulture. That does not mean I like all euros, but on the whole I probably fall on that side of the fence, of the 116 unique titles I own the vast majority are euro or euro-like. I am less attracted to games that rely on dice for outcomes (more so when there is no mitigation). I like games with interesting and varied choices, where I have multiple good options and its picking the best one. I also do not really like tower defense video games, they just never struck a cord with me. Lastly I’m less drawn to coop games. Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE coop stuff, just most coop board games feel like your playing more against luck than anything else (with some exceptions) and I own some coops so unlike some that’s not a deal breaker, just a thing a games has to be compelling enough to overcome.So why did I back thisI know at this point why would someone who is a euro gamer, doesn’t love dice games, and dislikes tower defense games back, this KS. 1st Orcs Must Die 2 is a video game I had and still have a blast with on the rare occasion I still play a PC game. In otherwords Sandy Peterson said Orcs Must Die and I said I Must Buy! 2ndly I loved Cthulhu Wars. I’ve sadly only played it once and the price tag without any added stuff (like KS exclusives) is steep for me, not a no but steep. Also the box is huge and I’m short on storage. Either way I loved it the time I played it (and I don’t love area control games – I only own a few and it cannot be the core mechanic of it). Still I Loved Cthulhu Wars so Peterson Games had my trust in mini design, and taking something that may not click for me and making it great. Lastly, note I said I am less attracted to games that rely on dice for outcomes. [...]

Review: Escape: The Curse of the Temple:: A Review on how to Excape from a Temple in 10 minutes

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:08:35 +0000

by Lightningbolt1312 Overview: What game do you really want to play after watching “The Mummy,” “National Treasure,” or “Indiana Jones”? I would argue that Escape: The Curse of the Temple would be one that is high on the list!If you want to see a playthrough of a 2-player game (my wife and I) please check out my YouTube channel: One Stop Co-op Shop: game is a real time cooperative dice chucking fest great for family and friends that is quick to set up and take down and plays in 10 minutes flat. The game uses a soundtrack to let you know when you have to run back to the starting tile, lest you lose a die for being slow! You win the game by finding enough crystals as well as finding and escaping the temple through the exit tile. All players must exit in order to win, so this is a fully cooperative game. Components/Art: 6.5/10ComponentsI really enjoy the dice in this game. The different symbols used all make me think of exploring in an old temple (keys and torches!), and they are laser cut into the die so no stickers! However one of my dice has a really off-colored golden mask (you actually see it in the playthrough) which is a bit of a bummer.The Meeples are standard. Kind of wish they had a little bit more detail, but to be honest you don’t really care what your meeple looks like because you are paying more attention to your dice!Tiles are nice stocky cardboard and after numerous plays are still holding up just fine. ArtWhile there is certainly art in this game, it is obviously not the focus of the game. I do get the sense that we are in a temple, however I feel the tile art could have been a little more detailed. However, none of this hurts the gameplay one bit so I am more just nitpicking here.For the expansions that I have played the art on the Curse and Treasure tiles is great! Most of the time you do not need to look up what the curse or treasure mean because it is easy to tell from the picture.Theme: 6/10Although there is a sense of a theme in this game, it is not entirely prevalent when you are playing. You are trying to escape the temple in 10 minutes, but you are not entirely sure why you are there in the first place. Also,[...]

Review: 4 Gods:: 4 God’s sake get your hands out of my face!

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:16:19 +0000

by Futsie My family and I have spent many a happy hour playing Mondo, a real time tile-grabbing, landscape-building race against the clock game, so we were all looking forward to giving 4 Gods a play. The big difference here is that instead of building your own little world on your individual player board you are adding tiles to shared landscape and directly battling for control of regions and citiesOne hand givethA rectangular cardboard frame defines the playing area and also acts as a scoretrack. Each player draws two tiles, one for each hand, these are double sided and show a mix of the four different landscape types; sea, mountain, forest and plains. Players then begin simultaneously placing tiles within the frame, bearing in mind that landscapes must match across borders and that each tile must be adjacent to two straight edges, either the sides of other tiles or the frame itself.If you cannot or do not wish to use a tile then you can place it into your discard area which runs along the nearest outer edge of the frame. If you have a free hand you can pick up any discarded tile and place it in the world. As soon as you have both hands free you can make a grab for the bag and draw two new tiles.PropheteeringAs the world begins to grow you will reach a point when you will be ready to swear your allegiance to one of the 4 gods. Each god will be associated with one of the four landscape types and will determine scoring at the end of the game. In addition, once a player has elected to follow a god they will be given a supply of prophets and in future when they place a tile they can also place a prophet on it to claim a section of the landscape.Players now also have the option of grabbing a round city tile to place into the world by still following the adjacent to two straight edges rule. Once a city is placed it can be immediately claimed by adding a prophet. There is an element of risk involved here in that if at any point an opponent has a tile that fits the space occupied by the city then they can raze it. Since each tile only features a maximum of three landscape types then there may be places that you can build a city safe in the knowledge that it will never be destroyed.Gifts from the godsTh[...]

Review: Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe:: Observations on US after three sessions

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:02:34 +0000

by jstalica

So I finally managed to get in three sessions of US last week. 1st was solo (1st training scenario); the 2nd was the France '40 (3rd scenario) with a friend to teach him how the system works (we managed to do 3 turns before it got late and the 2nd turn was almost nothing due to poor weather in the zone of France); and finally three of us did 2 turns of the '44-'45 scenario over a period of about 5 hours (including setup and teaching the new person from scratch and figuring out stuff ourselves). In general we love the system and here are some quick observations:

1) The integrated combat system using only one table, the lack of putzing around with combat and movement factors; the use of production points for activating ground units as well as building stuff; the "sortie" mechanism for air/naval units; ALL BRILLIANT.

2) The effects of (especially lack thereof...) air power and weather are very, very strong. Not sure if that's completely accurate but probably is.

3) There's a lot of downtime between players (especially for the Western Allies).

4) We were all kind of brain-fried after taking on the '44-'45 scenario. The mobile and assault ground game is pretty straightforward, but I think a better way is needed to learn stuff like amphibious invasions (perhaps more examples?), and escorting and interceptions would be appreciated. Supply too. And additional play aid with the event descriptions (and perhaps marker explanations) would be appreciated. I think I'd like the learning of the game to be better planned out - not sure exactly how

Q: What's the advantage to having a fleet counter vs. having something like the German surface action event that functions exactly like a fleet counter; that comes back each turn; AND that you don't have to spend PP on to remove sorties? This counter stopped one D-Day invasion hex and seems overpowered to me.

Review: Star Trek Panic:: Star Trek Panic - a quick review

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:31:43 +0000

by anomander64 This short review is from our first play session on 29 November 2016.Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.Star Trek Panic is a retheming of Castle Panic into the Star Trek universe as a 90 minute co-op game for 1-6 players.Players are all crew members aboard the original U.S.S. Enterprise from the 1960's TV show and each can choose one of the roles of Kirk, Spock, Scotty, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura, Checkov, etc. going on missions, exploring space and defending the Enterprise from constant attacks from Klingons, Romulans and various events.Each of the characters has their own ability that fits nicely with their role aboard the ship. We even had some hilarious moments through the game, where whenever the ship took damage, we would all pretend to throw ourselves sideways in our chairs, simulating the actions of the Enterprise crew.Exactly like Castle Panic, the game revolves around a 3-D cardboard model of the Enterprise set in the centre of a set of concentric rings, however in this game the Enterprise can change facing and simulate moving forward, to bring enemies into closer range. Each turn, enemy ships appear in the out ring and converge on the ship, firing their phasers, depleting the shields and damaging the ship's hull. If the ship takes too much damage it can't manoeuvre and if all sections are destroyed, the game is lost, so maintaining the shields and managing the damage is crucial to success.Along the way, players have a series of missions they have to complete to win the game. Many of the missions are time based and need to be completed in a set number of turns. If you achieve the mission, you get additional bonuses and advance toward your target of completing 5. But it is also possible to fail the mission in the timeframe - in this case, the mission goes away and is replaced with a new mission. The missions are a nice homage to the TV series, diverting your attention away from the constant threats. Players start with a hand of 5 cards and th[...]

Review: Not Alone:: Not Alone - a quick review

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:31:31 +0000

by anomander64 This short review is based on our first session on 29 November 2016Not Alone is a 45-min hand-management, bluffing game of one versus many.The theme of the game is that you are the crew of a spaceship that is shipwrecked on a planet. While waiting for the rescue ship to arrive, you begin to explore the planet, but while exploring you soon realise you are NOT ALONE - there is a an alien entity hunting stalking you all.One player plays the creature, stalking and trying to capture the crew, and all the other players are crew members, exploring the planet and trying to avoid being killed. Each group has a time-tracker board upon which progress is tracked. Should the creature's marker reach the end, the crew all lose. But if the crew manage to move along the track first, the rescue ship arrives and takes them all home.The planet consistent of a series of 10 locations, numbered 1 to 10. At the start of the game the players are only able to explore the first 5 locations, but this can expand as the game progresses.Each turn is played across several phases:- Explore- Hunting- Reveal and Resolve- Move Time TrackEach crew member starts with a hand of cards numbered 1-5 and 3 "Will" counters (life points). Simultaneously, they will all secretly choose one of those locations to visit and place their card face-down. Each of the locations provides a unique bonus:- Return this card to your hand- Play two cards next round and choose one later- Advance the crew time track- Take one of the 6-10 cards into your hand- Retrieve your entire hand, etc.During the hunting phase, the creature tries to deduce where each of the players may be exploring - they place a token on the board to signify the area in which they are hunting. The creature also draws a hand of 3 cards that allows them to block-off other locations and generally make like very hard for the crew.In the reveal phase all the players reveal their cards. Crew members away from the creature gain the ability of the area - returning cards to their hand or gaining more search areas. Crew that are in the same location have been "hunted" by the alien. They don'[...]

Review: Pi mal Pflaumen:: A great game with a silly name

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:31:11 +0000

by benme I mainly review games when I find that no-one has already given them a review but I was rather surprised that no-one had got round to posting one for this popular game.Pi Mal Pflaumen or Plums is a blend of an auction game with a trick taking game that has some very basic special powers and a very straight forward set collection mechanic. The central mechanic is not one I have seen before although I understand the newer game Honshu uses the same one. Depending on the number of players 18-25 cards numbered from 1 up are used each round each with different fruits on them. In each "trick" players take turns to play a card. Who has the highest card gets first pick of the cards played in the trick to activate its power (if applicable) and add it to their tableaux. Then the second highest card gets the next pick etc until the last player who takes the last card and also a plum card.Some cards are just fruit (about 1/3 of them), some cards are fruits that double as reward cards that can be cashed in for points in you meet the set collection requirement (such as AAABB tree of one type and two of another) and the rest are fruit cards that also come with a special ability or power. There are three powers that are all very straight forward:-Pi Cards - whoever wins this card gets three cards of the value of pi (3.14...) that can be added to increase the value of future cards when played with themThief cards - let you take one card from the tableaux of one of your opponents except forThe Dog - Protects its owner from the thiefThe game takes places over three rounds and probably takes about 15-20 minutes after you have played it a few times and 30-40 minutes including rules explaination with new players.The art in this game is really good, the mechanics are solid, fresh and well thought. This is not a game that many people will play and play and play. It does not have the depth or the replayability of card games like Lost Cities or Tichu but it feels different from all other games out there, scales well 3-5 and has been a hit with most people I have played it with. If you are wanting [...]

Review: Bios: Genesis:: How's the Soup?

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:06:13 +0000

by Steve Carey IntroductionBios: Genesis (BG) is a late 2016 release from Sierra Madre Games (SMG), the same company who has previously brought us High Frontier, Origins: How We Became Human, and the popular Pax series of games, among others.SMG is known for often being heavy on the simulation side of game design, and Bios: Genesis is no exception. I've recently spent about 20 hours with the game, so let's take a brief overview at how it pans out.PresentationAs produced, BG is colorful and attractive. The components are functional and everything looks great when spread out on the table. The box is quite small, so it travels well.RulesThis game is a monumental beast to learn, and then learn again in order to play correctly. Not since High Frontier has any non-wargame been so difficult for me to fathom. Scientific terms are freely tossed about in shocking abundance, frankly being overwhelming at times. Coming in cold, the 2-page Introduction section confused me beyond words, so I recommend that new players merely skip it. There is a lengthy glossary at the back of the rule book, and it's mandatory reading not only for familiarity but also for actual rules of play.There is a Living Rules file available from SMG's website, with some very helpful clarifications and corrections having already been made.Further, I'd like to recommend a series of videos posted here on the Geek by the 'GrayBoardGamer' - they serve as an excellent educational and entertaining series.Sample of the typical earliest planetary locations in which you can attempt to spark life.PlayPlaying Bios: Genesis is extraordinarily fun and engaging, that is once you know what you're doing. Players first try to create life, then sustain it, then expand it, and then finally evolve it. There will be many obstacles in your way, like random events which may contain a multitude of harmful effects such as ultraviolet radition or oxygen spikes. Other players' parasites may attach and pilfer valuable resources from you. Certain portions of the main tableau can be active or inactive on any given turn, so that's some[...]

Review: Cry Havoc:: Story Board's hot take on Cry Havoc

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:05:50 +0000

by Morningstar_81 Originally published here: You are one of four factions vying for control over a planet. The planet is a harsh world with brutal conditions, but possesses incredibly valuable crystal resources.Your goal is to amass the greatest power through dire conflict. Once at the end of the game, and potentially through the game, you score. Scoring gives one point for every crystal in territories you possess. If it is player-activated scoring, they also earn one point for each territory controlled. You can also earn points through captured and claiming territory through combat.Gameplay is card-driven but asymmetric. Each player begins with a core deck of cards, which have multiple uses. They can be played for their icons to give action points to a basic action, or used reactively during combat as tactical cards. In a round of play, you will be able to take three actions in turn. These can be augmented through card effects and other details: move, recruit, and build/activate, are the core abilities.Combat in this game is incredibly tactical. There are three objectives: area control, taking prisoners, and killing enemies; they are normally resolved in order. As the attacker, you take all your soldiers and assign them to one of these categories; the defender follows suit. Control is won by majority (defenders win ties), capture is also majority (ties cancel), but attrition is one per soldier committed. Because you’ll likely never have enough to dominate all three, you have to tactically choose your foci.Commentary: I’ll say straight up I am not a typical fan of war games. While Cry Havoc is more of a hybrid euro-war game (like Kemet and Cyclades), I am not going to be the greatest champion of its cause. That being said, it had enough bits going for it to maintain my engagement.Easily the most intriguing aspect of this game is the combat system. Firstly, it’s quick to resolve and very streamlined. This adds to the sense combat is pitched and choppy, even tho[...]

Review: Orléans:: Orleans. El juego del bag building (Español)

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:05:41 +0000

by juanco Primeramente os comento que el juego se presentó en la feria de Essen en 2014 y que desde entonces ha ido escalando posiciones en la BGG hasta alcanzar un puesto bastante decente, a fecha de hoy el 36. Su diseñador es Reiner Stockhausen y es para 2-4 jugadores, aunque hay una expansión que admite hasta un quinto jugador, con una duración aproximada de unos 90 minutos, una vez que hayamos jugado unas cuantas veces y le hayamos pillado el tranquillo. La principal novedad que aporta este juego al mundillo lúdico es lo que se ha venido a llamar bag building. Esto es como el deck building pero en este caso tenemos que ir utilizando y sacando nuestro grupo de trabajadores, con sus características particulares, desde una bolsa de tela opaca. Por lo demás, es un juego de colocación de trabajadores en el que vamos a ir ganando tecnología ó nuevos trabajadores y con ellos construir edificios, puestos comerciales, ampliar nivel de desarrollo, movernos por el tablero, etc. Entre otros componentes, hay un tablero, el de Bienes Comunitarios, al cual podemos enviar a través del Ayuntamiento o de la Torre de la Pólvora, a nuestros trabajadores para que vayan puntuando a lo largo de la partida. Controlar bien este hecho es fundamental para optimizar nuestros trabajadores y seguramente ganar la partida. A diferencia de otros juegos en el que tenemos un cubito que podemos situar como cualquier tipo de trabajador, en Orleans cada ficha de trabajador representa un tipo concreto, granjero, caballero, navegante, monje… y debemos buscar el equilibrio entre ellos según la estrategia que sigamos para ganar. De nada nos sirve tener muchos granjeros en la bolsa si no los podemos utilizar, y cada vez que saquemos trabajadores y no nos salga ese monje que necesitamos, nos vamos a quejar de nuestra mala suerte, pero no es así, tenemos que deshacernos de esos trabajadores que ya no nos hacen falta enviándolos a este tablero.[img width=500 height=375][/img]Tenemo[...]

Review: Castle Panic:: Gaming Bits: Castle Panic Review

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 08:18:33 +0000

by MillicanDarque Castle Panic is a game by Justin De Witt, published by Fireside Games. It is for 1-6 players. In this game, players will be trying to defend their castle from a forest full of monsters such as goblins, orcs and even trolls. They'll have to work together if they hope to withstand the onslaught. Of course their compatriots will be trying to garner the most points as they destroy wave after wave of vicious monsters. The player that can rack up the most points while keeping at least 1 castle tower standing will be declared the winner.This game can be played in several different ways. However for this review, I will be referring to the standard method of play. For the rules and overview of all the other modes of play, please check the rulebook.To begin, the board should be placed in the middle of the play area. All of the walls and towers should be placed on a plastic stand. Towers should be placed on each of the light colored spaces in the castle ring of the board, while walls should be placed on the lines between the Castle ring and the Swordsman ring on the board. 3 Goblin, 2 Orc and 1 Troll token are placed on the board in the Archer ring. These are placed one per arc with the highest number on the token pointed toward the Castle. Tokens are placed randomly or as chosen by the players. The remaining monster tokens are placed face down on the table and mixed up into a pile near the board. The Order of Play cards are removed from the other Castle cards and each player is given 1 of these. Any remaining Order of Play cards are returned to the box. The Castle cards are shuffled together. Each player is then dealt a number of cards based on the number of players. The remaining Castle cards are placed face down near the board. The Tar and Fortify tokens are placed near the board as well. The first player is chosen and play now begins. The game is played over a series of turns. Each player's turn is broken up into 6 phases; draw up, discard and draw [...]

Review: Fabled Fruit:: Fableous Fruit

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 03:57:47 +0000

by Chris Baylis FABLED FRUITStronghold Games 2F SpieleThis is another sublime example of author Friedemann Friese's brilliance when it comes to turning a simple game mechanic into a game that can be played at least 20 times without ever being the same. In its own way it is a fruity fluxx of the forest as each game uses the same basic rules and yet changes each time it is played. Unlike the game FLUXX where the cards are all put back into the box and only the start card is kept separate, in FABLED FRUITS when you end a game you have to pack the cards away carefully and with thought as they are required for the next time you play to be exactly as they were when you last played.There are several small pieces, the five fruits as card counters, the three smoothies, the double-fruit cards and the little thieving monkey wooden animal that arrive into the game as and when the cards call for them but to start with these are pieces that are kept aside or in the box and all you need to begin with are the six sets of four location cards numbered 1 to 6 that are laid on the table in two rows of three and the deck of fruit cards of which there are five different types; Strawberry, Banana, Grapes, Pineapple and Hazlenuts.Players begin with a hand of two cards dealt randomly and a small wooden animal in their chosen colour. There are also cut-out cards of the player pieces which are kept in front of the players so all can see which colour and animal they are.The player going first places his wooden animal on any one of the six 4-card stacks and then takes the action written on the card or hands in the required number and type of Fruit cards, that match the necessary as depicted in the bottom half of the card; for example 3 Strawberries and a smoothie, the smoothie being any fruit, including another Strawberry if that's all that is available. Of course at the beginning of the game the players only have 2 Fruitcards and therefore need to collect more of these. They gain car[...]

Review: Imagine:: Too specific of images for me to enjoy this game

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 03:57:21 +0000

by Dismas Today, I'm finishing up my week of game reviews of party games. These are games that can be played and enjoyed by both casual gamers or your family who never plays games at all. The game I am reviewing today is Imagine from Gamewright. Imagine is a game for 3-8 players, ages 12+. It takes approximately 30 minutes to play and retails for $15.Setup1. Arrange all transparent cards in a large circle.2. Put the tokens within easy reach.3. Shuffle the Enigma cards and place them face down in a pile.Game Play1. Draw an Enigma card. Have a random player call a number between 1 and 8,2. Read the Enigma's clue aloud, i.e., Movie or Object.3. Create an image that matches the Enigma using as many transparent cards as you need. (Notes: You can hide images of the cards with your fingers, combine cards, etc. You may not make any kind of noise that would be a hint, mime, or make letters and numbers with the cards.)ScoringThe first player to guess the Enigma and the player who placed the transparent cards each earn one point and take a token in front of them. While there is no time limit, if no one guesses for a while, end the round and no points are awarded. Repeat the game play steps until each player has managed to get the other plays to correctly guess two Enigmas.ReviewI really wanted to like this game. The transparent cards with images on them to make more images is a very clever idea. However, I felt the images on the cards were much too specific. Instead of generic lines and shapes, you are given very specific images like umbrellas, cars, trees, etc. I will be the first to admit that I am not creative in the least, so I thought maybe the game just didn't resonate with me. However, I let my wife (who oozes creativity) try the game without giving her my thoughts on it first, and she too found the images much too specific and hampering. My son is unfortunately too little to play this game as it is intended to be played, otherwise I[...]

Review: Road Kill Rally:: Hand grenades included (but not that kind)

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 22:40:34 +0000

by sittingduck1313 Back in 1975, cinema schlockmeister Roger Corman released a film called Death Race 2000. The story was set in a dystopic future America where cross-country racing that involves running over pedestrians for points is the favored entertainment of the masses. The New York to Los Angeles Death Race is the Daytona 500 of this grisly sport. The darkly humorous tone of the film has helped make it a cult classic. So it was hardly surprising that Z-Man Games (a company known for developing titles with movie themes) decided to model a game after it.While Death Race 2000 is the primary inspiration, a bit of Autoduel has been thrown into the mix, as you can trick out your ride with a variety of weapons, defenses, and other modifications. The Weapon Accessory cards offer a nice variety of attack options, each well balanced against the others in terms of power, range, and ammo consumption. Defense Accessories are more iffy, as they tend to have a narrow focus in what they’re effective against. The supplemental modifications are not so well balanced, as some are clearly superior to others (most notably the ones that improve your chances of scoring pedestrians).Rally cards are the lifeblood of the game. While their most obvious function is to provide a variety of one-off effects when played, there’s a lot more to them than that. Among those functions are increasing speed adjustment, improving the odds of scoring pedestrians, providing ammo for your weapons, and serving as your vehicle’s hit points. With all the ways that you can use them, it’s easy to spend them faster than you can draw new ones.An aspect I particularly love is the tile-based board. In my experience, car racing board games tend to be real table hogs. The ability to add on the track as needed while removing those parts which are no longer in use helps keep things compact. It also provides some replay value by allowing a diffe[...]

Review: Petrichor:: Petrichor review (based on beta prototype)

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 22:03:04 +0000

by njshaw2 Disclaimer: This review is based on a beta copy of the game. All graphics and components are provisional, and all components seen in photos are home printed / sourced.Also, I was involved in playtesting the game, so take my review & comments in the context of that fact."Petrichor; n. the pleasant earthy smell after rain."Brief game overviewPetrichor is a game about clouds. And about rain. And growing crops. But no, it's not a game about farming (at least, not as such)...You play as clouds, floating around fields, growing, merging, and raining your water drops onto crops, which may eventually grow when they are wet enough. At certain times during the game a harvest will happen and players score for crops they have helped water. Gain enough points, and you become known as the best cloud in all the skies.How the game is playedI won't go over all the rules (as some are still in flux at time of writing), but to give you a basic explanation of the flow of the game:In the main display are a number of "fields", laid out in a grid (2*3 for 1 player, 3*3 for 2-3 players, 3*4 for 4 players), the tiles being randomly selected from the 16 possible tiles that come with the game. Each tile shows a certain type of crop, and each type of crop scores slightly differently, depending on how many of each player's drops of rain are on it at harvest time. Which crops come out will affect how you play the game, so each game can play out quite differently, but at its core, crop scoring is all about area control.To attempt to control crops, you can influence the weather. Each player has a hand of cards, each of which shows one of four weather symbols: Frost, Sun, Wind or Rain. Playing a card allows you to carry out that card's weather action, which can be creating a new cloud, adding water drops to a cloud, blowing clouds from field to field (possibly causing clouds to merge into [...]

Review: Legendary: Deadpool:: DEADPOOL is Legendary

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 22:01:13 +0000

by Chris Baylis UPPER-DECK LEGENDARY: DEADPOOLis an expansion for the super deck-building game LEGENDARY MARVEL from Upper Deck. It contains 100 cards that can instantly be introduced into the game which add 5 Heroes, 2 Masterminds (Evil Deadpool and Macho Gomez ) 2 more Villain groups and 4 new schemes. Anyone who has seen the Deadpool movie will definitely appreciate the dark humour of the cards. Of course the comic books contain sarcastic witticisms but it is the portrayal of the character by Ryan Reynolds that has presented and introduced the otherwise somewhat lesser-known Deadpool to the general public and peaked the interest of games players. The version of the DEADPOOL character in this card game expansion is as funny as he can be, and is till very amusing without resulting to the straight up crudeness of the comics and movie versions. In fact the first time or so that you play LEGENDARY using the DEADPOOL expansion you are going to spend more time reading the cards for their commentary than for their effect in the game.The second Mastermind character for players to control is Macho Gomez, once said to be "the baddest, most feared operator in the galaxy" although his encounters with DEADPOOL proved to be mainly fruitless and unsuccessful the majority of the time. Matching him here against the evil Deadpool is quite a brilliantly thought forward twist for the game. Gomez's specific Tactics cards all affect the "Bounty on Your Head" which is his Master Strike Action and the Tactics are cards that are played in front of characters to affect their abilities one way(good) or the other (evil). When played to their best effect these cards can be very advantageous.Of course the Evil Deadpool is the star Mastermind of the set, in fact, at least in my opinion, I think for many players he is going to be the star Mastermind of the entire LEGENDARY game.[...]

Review: Escape Room: The Game:: "Escape Room - Das Spiel" - a conclusion (german)

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 21:58:21 +0000

by Brakus Review-Fazit zu „Escape Room – Das Spiel“, einem kooperativen Knobelspiel.[Infos]für: 3-99 Spielerab: 16 Jahrenca.-Spielzeit: 60min.Autor: n/aIllustration: Roland MacDonaldVerlag: noris SpieleAnleitung: deutschMaterial: deutsch[Download: Anleitung]dt.:[Fazit]Ein weiterer Vertreter der „sieh zu, schnell hier raus zu kommen, sonst….!“-Spiele *G*. Diese Variante aber, das sei gleich vorneweg lobend erwähnt, bringt 4 Missionen mit, statt üblicherweise 1 und läßt Spielmaterial, welches man u.U. „zerspielt“ hat, erneut aus dem Internet herunterladen und ausdrucken. Also schon mal zwei große Unterscheidungsmerkmale zu den Mitbewerbern. Das Spielmaterial an sich ist sonst relativ gleich zu setzen mit Bekanntem (viel Papier und Pappe), aber der inkludierte Chrono-Dekoder – ein dickes, schweres Plastikgerät -, welcher mit 4 Schlüsseln, pro gelöstem Level in den Missionen, gefüttert werden will, um festzustellen, ob die Spieler richtig liegen, macht schon was her. Mit Batterien bestückt, gibt er per Zeitcountdown und wummernden Sound den Spielern den (gar nicht nötigen^^) Druck, der sie zum vehementeren Grübeln anregen soll.Die abenteuerlichen Missionen „Prison Break“, „Virus“, „Nuclear Countdown“ und „Temple of the Aztec“ bauen vom Schwierigkeitsgrad her aufeinander auf und lassen sich – wenn auch vllt. nicht immer gleich im ersten Durchlauf – gut in versch. Besetzungsrunden durchspielen. Die vorgegebenen 60min. beschränken das Spielgeschehen natürlich zwangsläufig, allerdings läuft der Chrono-Dekoder dann einfach weiter, wenn die Zeit nicht gereicht hat und gibt so an, wieviel „länger“ die Spieler gebraucht haben, wenn sie denn die Lösung schliesslich do[...]

Review: Sylvion:: Rustling Through the Trees: A Beginning, Middle, End Review

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 21:33:40 +0000

by Shane Sather If you'd rather watch a video instead of reading, you can check out my video here:Youtube VideoIf you’d rather read, well, then keep on reading.OVERVIEWSylvion is a solo tower defense card game where you’re trying to protect the dreamy forest from the Ravager and his minions, the fire elementals. There’s a very cool drafting mechanic to build your deck and just enough challenge to make sure this isn’t a cake walk.We’re going to skip past the rules and setup; you can find that information easily enough. We’re going to jump right into how it feels to play the game from beginning, middle to end.BEGINNINGYour most important decision in the beginning is whether to play the Advanced Game or the Advanced Game with expansions. Unless you’re still learning, if you chose anything besides with expansions, you chose poorly; this game really shines when you’re playing with everything the box has to offer.Since we know you’re playing the Advanced Game, you’re going to be drafting your deck. This is probably the single coolest thing in the game and really elevates it into something way more interesting; you gain more of an attachment to the cards you choose and you will kick yourself later for choices you make now. There’s not really a wrong way to do it, it’s just weighing risk vs. gain; do you NEED a certain card for your deck/playstyle and how bad do you need it. You’re going to cobble something workable together regardless but sometimes it’s just going to be rough (oh fickle fate).Now that your deck is drafted and you’re feeling a little confident in your abilities, it’s time to feel woefully inadequate. You set up the board, shuffle the Ravager’s cards together, flip them over and see what awful garbage comes your way. The beginning is a bit of a struggle;[...]

Review: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game:: A year's worth of play with a 5-6yo Jedi in training.

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 21:09:29 +0000

by waxbanks ## x-wing with a 5-6yo kiddoThis is my first review/forum post! Hi everyone. First off: I'd encourage anyone on the fence about the game in general to look at Phuntom's review, **TK link to this** which superbly covers the bases. X-Wing's a brilliant little game with a healthy community scene, and I'm really my son and I got into it.My son and I started playing a little less than a year ago, if memory serves -- he was 5-1/2 at the time. He'd seen the first of the SW films and some Lego SW cartoons, read a bunch of books about the SW universe, and we'd listened to the soundtracks** while driving to school, but that was it for him. I've loved the films since I was a kid (my earliest memories involve RotJ t-shirts).We used to listen to the music while playing. Now we don't need to, though I'll occasionally sing a few bars as Carnor Jax's groovy little red TIE Interceptor boils away into space under a withering hail of Rebel gunfire.### learning by playingWe started with the Learn to Play rules in the TFA box, which went quite smoothly: once we had the minis set up on their pegs and asteroids placed, we were up and running within 5 minutes or so. The first game was really an ideal introductory experience: I flew two TIE Fighters against Poe Dameron's X-Wing, and all we did was take turns moving and shooting. In the 'game zero' rules, you needn't manage the emergent complexity of pilot powers + upgrades + action economy, so even a 5yo kid can immediately grasp the basics.One strength of the game that the Learn to Play book doesn't mention is the neat modular quality of the ruleset: you can easily layer in additional wrinkles as the players are ready for them. Range bonuses, asteroids/collisions, pil[...]

Review: Bullfrogs:: Bullfrogs: A Review

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 21:08:18 +0000

by Stroodle88

Bullfrogs! Regular frogs! Clan battles! Bullfrogs is an area control game where you play a clan of frogs vying for control of lily pads within a pond. Frogs can sabotage their foes by forcing them onto other lily pads or they can reinforce their own clan-owned pads by deploying additional frogs!

Game mechanics: Every turn, a player will place take a lily pad card from their hand and place it in the pond first. Listed on that lily pad card is a number of actions that can be taken by placing that card. Actions as mentioned earlier include sabotaging your enemies or deploying your own forces to lily pads. You can only fit so many frogs on a lily pad, so once it's full, it sinks! Once it begins to sink, frogs on the lily pad hop off to adjacent lily pads around the pond. After it sinks, it gets scored - the winner of the lily pad is the person with the greatest number of frogs on the lily pad. I should also mention that each lily pad card has a designated number of points that you receive if your frog faction ends up controlling the lily pad when it sinks. Play continues like this until all players have used up all of their lily pad cards. The winner of Bullfrogs is the person with the most points based on lily pad cards in their possession at the end of the game!

There's additional subtleties about the game that make it really interesting, but I won't go into detail here. I'd recommend Bullfrogs for anyone who:

Has young children who like frogs
Enjoy great artwork
Enjoy tile placement/area control games
Enjoy playing with Meeples

Review: Jamaica:: The Settlers of Stavanger Reviews: Jamaica

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:33:39 +0000

by AndersonCouncil The Settlers of Stavanger Reviews: “Jamaica”The game at a glance:Suggested Age: 8+Number of Players: 2-6Length: ~ 30-60mLearning Curve: Easy Recommended Event: Family, Children, 4+ PlayersSkills: Dice Rolling, Hand ManagementSummary:In “Jamaica”, players take on the role of pirates taking part in a race around the island organized by the now-governor, and former pirate himself, Captain Henry Morgan. The players will have to race their pirate ships around the island while making sure that their crew are fed and that they have enough gold to pay duties to any ports they stop in, all while trying to gather more treasure and fend off other pirates who do what pirates do best - steal and plunder from others! The first player to cross the finish line at Port Royal triggers the end of the game but simply being first across the line might not be enough to win them the game.Set Up:The players should lay out the board and place all of the treasure chest tokens over each of the printed skull cave spaces on the board. These are also identifiable due to the lack of a printed value in these spaces (more on what that means later). The deck of treasure cards should be shuffled and then 9 treasure cards should be placed over the printed treasure chest in the centre of the board while the remaining 3 cards are returned to the game box without being revealed. Players should decide which of the 6 available colours they would like to play as and should place the corresponding ship token at the “Port Royal” space on the board and take the action cards deck in their matching colour. These are printed with different pirate names on the back but each deck is identical to the others and so it makes no differen[...]

Review: Träxx:: Träxx – A quick and easy coupon-filler

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:32:56 +0000

by msaari I bought a new copy of this game myself.The game: Träxx by Steffen Benndorf and Reinhard Staupe, published by Nürnberger-Spiele-Verlag in 2015.Elevator pitch: A quick simultaneous play route-building filler. May the best route win!What’s in the box? Four boards, four dry-erase pens, fifteen cards and rules. The components are minimalistic, but perfectly functional.Colours are bright and everything looks chippy. I’m slightly worried that colourblind people may have trouble with this game, but it wouldn’t be a complicated task to scan a board, adjust the colours a bit, then print and laminate a new board.What do you do in the game? Players try to draw a line that covers as much of their board as possible. Game lasts for fifteen rounds and on each round, a card is drawn. The card tells which colours are ok this turn. If a card says “yellow, yellow, blue, red and white”, you can draw on two yellow hexes, one blue, one red and one white.The line can be extended from both ends, and you have to watch out so you keep your options open and don’t fence yourself in.There are scoring locations on the board, numbered 1–10 and scoring the same. Here’s the only bit of interaction: the first player to reach the location scores the full points, on later turns only half the points are awarded. In the end of the game, players lose one point per unvisited hex. Highest score wins.Lucky or skillful? Both, in a good mixture. The cards involve some luck, and while everybody sees the same cards, there’s some luck involved in how well the cards suit what you’ve drawn. (Everybody starts from a different hex, so that also means the cards have slightly different value to each player.) [...]

Review: Dicey Goblins:: Dicey Goblins: a Rolling Good Time

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:32:36 +0000

by Stroodle88

Dicey Goblins! As the name implies, in Dicey Goblins, you and your goblin cohorts repeatedly break into a dragon’s den in order to steal the dragon’s eggs. Why? They’re worth golden coins once yo get out and you’re able to sell them! And everyone knows, goblins love coins! The great thing about Dicey Goblins is that it’s extremely easy to teach and play. The main game mechanic is pressing your luck. At the start of each round, one six-sided die is randomly drawn from a dice bag and placed in the dragon’s den. Players see how many eggs are in the dragon’s den, and determine if they want to Run Away! or Dare to Raid! If players Run Away, they split the eggs evenly amongst themselves. If players Dare to Raid, two more dice are grabbed out of the bag and rolled. Any eggs that come up are added to the dragon’s den. But be careful! On the dice also are skull icons. Any skull icons that come up are counted towards the end of the round. The end of the round occurs when 1) either three skull icons come up or up or there are no more dice to pull out in the dice bag! If you’re still daring to raid when the third skull icon appears, you get no eggs = no shiny coins!

After the round is over, players split up all the eggs and divvy up the loot! Players get one coin for each egg they are successfully able to steal. The winningest goblin is the one who gains 18 coins first proving they are the best dragon egg thief in all of Goblin Town!

Get this game if you like:
press your luck games
low-key and short games (this will last 15 to 30 minutes)
to roll dice!

Review: Snow Tails:: Snow Tails reprint: a review

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:32:32 +0000

by Stroodle88 Mush! Originally Kickstarted awhile ago and recently reprinted by Renegade Games, Snow Tails is an epic dog racing adventure that will get your blood pumping as you race against up to three other dog sledders for the finish line! One of the great things about Snow Tails is how customizable it is. The race track can be made as long or as short as you want or as easy or as hard as you want because it comes in multiple pieces. Want a longer track? Add more track! Want a harder game? Add obstacles and curves!. Each player has a dog sled and a team of dogs. Movement is card-driven and even takes into account different speed dogs! Each player is given a small deck of cards, each one numbered. On a player's turn, that player places two cards down in front of him, one for the string of dogs to the left, and one for the string of dogs to the right. That player then reveals the totals that are put on each side. If the value is the same for both sides of digs, the slide goes straight. If the value on the left is larger that the one on the right, then the sled pulls over to the left side by that value. If it sounds like it's a mathematical game, well, it sort of is. Players need to figure out using basic math how far they want to move forward and if they're going to slam into corners or snow banks or trees. You want to avoid these obstacles because the more you hit obstacles, the more damage your sled takes. Your sled can only take so much damage before you're out of the game! Winner of the game is the first person to cross the finish line! Pick up SnowTails if you:like doing arithmetic as part of the game strategy[...]

Review: Double Feature:: Double Feature: A Review

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:32:27 +0000

by Stroodle88 Are you a movie buff? Do you like card games? Do you like card games that involve naming movies? Then this game is for you! Double Feature is a great party game for those who enjoy watching movies. One person is nominated to be the director. Just like in real life, the director is the boss! All other player are trying to appease the director. To do so, on a given turn, the director will select one card each from two different categories. Players then attempt to come up with movie titles that fit the categories for the director. For example, I might select a card from the Props category and I might select a card from the Scenes category. The cards might indicate a broom for props and a country vista within scenes. "Wizard of Oz!" someone might shout out. If the director feels the movie title fits the cards, that person scores the cards, and the person who had the winning movie would be director next. The card that has been out the longest will be given to the player with the winning movie towards scoring, and the director role will be given to the next player on the left. Then a whole new card is selected by the new director and play continues again. Even if you’re not a movie buff, Double Feature is a great game because you can always suggest the movies that you know! There might be a scene in a movie that perfectly fits the two cards out on the table, as obscure as it might be. But hey, if the director believes you, you’re golden! Play continues until someone scores enough points! The more players there are, the more points you have to score in order to win. Pick up Do[...]

Review: Lanterns: The Harvest Festival:: Lanterns: Harvest Festival Review - Good gateway game for family fun!

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:14:36 +0000

by Stroodle88 Lanterns is a beautiful game with high replay value! In Lanterns, you are an artisan trying to gain favor with the emperor. You do that by adding colored lanterns to the emperor’s palace lake. Once you have patterns of lanterns that the emperor wants, you can dedicate those lanterns to the emperor and gain honor form the emperor. The winner is the artisan who gains the most favor by the end of the game! Mechanically, each player lays down one lantern tile every turn. You gain colored lanterns into your inventory based on making color matches from each lantern tile AND also a bit like mahjong, you gain colored lanterns based on where you are sitting around the table. Every time someone places a tile, everyone wins! Starting with the tile placer, all players get a colored lantern based on whatever colored edge is facing them when the tile is laid down. As long as the bank has that color lantern tile, even if you didn’t place the tile down, you will gain a lantern! In this way, Lanterns is like traditional Chinese mahjong where you not only have to pay attention to what you have in your hand and inventory, but you also have to pay attention to what your opponents have. You don’t want to give lanterns to your opponents so that they can dedicate their lanterns for points! Lanterns is a great family game because it teaches young kids how to recognize patterns and teaches some strategy to how to work around problems. Puzzle solving in Lanterns is the name of the game, but it’s done so cleverly and easily that anyone can learn how to play. It won Mensa[...]

Review: Kitty Paw:: Kitty Paw!! A Review

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:22:47 +0000

by Stroodle88 Ready? Set? Kitty Paw! Meow! Kitty Paw is for those players who will enjoy cute artwork and who enjoy racing against opponents! Gameplay in Kitty Paw is extremely easy and addictively fun. One of the best things about the game is that it can be fun for the whole family from 7 year old children to their parents and every age in between! Kitty Paw is a hex tile-placing game where all players play at the same time. The round starts with all players holding up one paw like the Chinese lucky cat, and all players saying “Kitty Paw!” Once you do that, all players reach and grab a “blueprint card” that has a bunch of cat tiles shown on it in different shapes. All players play at the same time, and as they reach into a pile of tiles in the middle of the table, they are trying to assemble the cat shapes on their blueprint cards with the tiles in the middle of the table. Once a player thinks she has successfully completed the cat structure, she yells out, Meow! and again, raises one hand in the Lucky Cat gesture. All other players try to give the first player high fives with their own paws! The last person to touch the Lucky Cat paw automatically flips their blueprint card around for minus points. Then all players check the Meowing players tiles to make sure she got it correct. There are three levels of blueprint cards possible. The game goes from pretty easy blueprint cards to cards where it would require a college degree in CAD to be successful at completing some of these! No matter what, it’s all fun as children and adults al[...]

Review: Brick Party:: Brick Party: A Review of a fun block/brick building game

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:22:21 +0000

by Stroodle88 Have kids who enjoy building blocks? Perhaps you enjoy building blocks? If you do, relive your youth with Brick Party! To setup the game, the youngest player is appointed the leader. Players then break up into teams of two people. One of those players is the architect and the other one is the builder. The architect will select a structure card that only she can see and will then do everything in her power except pick up the bricks lying in a pile in the center of the playing area, to tell the builder how to build the structure on the card she just picked up. To be clear, each team's architect simultaneously describes to her builder what the structure looks like and the builder builds it based on her instructions. Once one of the teams thinks they've finished their structure, that team turns over a 30-second timer. All other teams then have 30-seconds to finish their brick structure. If your team gets the structure correct, score points based on how hard the structure was to complete! A new round begins after that with the leader being passed to the left of the first leader. The game ends once all players have had a chance to be the leader. If that doesn't sound hard enough, you can also play with rule cards. These rule cards probably add the most fun (and difficulty!) to Brick Party. Rules will say either what a builder can or can't do or what an architect can or can't do. My personal favorite is the rule that does not allow an architect to say more than yes or no. Another rule card might indicate[...]

Review: Apotheca:: great tile-laying/puzzle game with beautiful artwork

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:22:12 +0000

by Stroodle88 Apotheca is an amazingly simple game that combines several different classic board game mechanics into a very well-done game in itself. It reminded me of playing Connect 4 mixed with chess. If that sounds intriguing to you, read on! In Apotheca, you are an apprentice trying to join the secret potion society! Well-established apothecaries already in the society have decided to use apprentices to do their battles for them! In the course of trying to join the society, as an apprentice, you must uncover and determine how to combine ingredients together in order to create potions. The first apprentice to create three potions becomes the next new member of the secret society!Gameplay: The game starts with all players knowing what four of the colored ingredients are and two that are unknown to everyone. On a turn, a player can choose to flip a tile revealing what that ingredient is, choose to add ingredients face down to the marketplace, or use his apothecary's power to move an ingredient around the market. Your goal is to reveal three of the same ingredients in a row in order to create a potion. Once you finish three potions, you win!One of the cool things about Apotheca is the assortment of ways that the different apothecaries in your control can manipulate the marketplace. Each apothecary has a unique way of moving ingredients around, so it keeps the game interesting. It's a bit chess-like this way only instead of moving pieces, you can shift ingredients around! Use your apothecary[...]

Review: Covert:: Covert Review: Spies versus Spies!

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 15:21:54 +0000

by Stroodle88 From the designer of FUSE and Dead Men Tell No Tales comes a game about spies, mystery, and intrigue! Play the role of spies completing missions in this game with some great mechanics! Complete missions by traveling around the world and by obtaining equipment only spies would need! Covert pits you against up to three of your best friends as you all try to complete mission cards. The game can be broken up into three distinct phases: 1) roll dice and select actions, 2) break codes, and 3) resolve actions. Each player is given five dice and all players roll their five dice simultaneously. Players then take turns placing one die at a time in one of several different action spaces. Actions allow you to gain equipment necessary to complete missions and get a leg up on your opponents. I personally think the most interesting thing about Covert is the code breaking phase of the game. Each round, after you select what actions to take, every player goes through a code breaking phase. During this phase, your goal is to break the code that’s shown on your code cards. At the start of the game, the game board has an area where you randomly place 12 numbered tiles across two rows, 6 in each row. When it’s your turn to codebreak, you can swap two of the numbered tiles’ positions and try to match what is shown on your held code cards. For example, if you have the number 456 on your code card, you will try to create 456 in the codebreaking area. Matching/bre[...]

Review: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu:: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu - It spreads like a disease and none in the world was immune - down to the basics review

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 14:37:31 +0000

by tiagoVIP About Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu:1) What is it?Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu is a reimplementation of many of the mechanics of Pandemic, as you have the same:- 4 actions per turn;- drawing cards (for the hand, in order to deal with the matter at hand; and to advance the problem);- case of having at most three of something in a place, and if there is the need to add more in that spot, another issue happen;- way of travelling using cards;- special characters with, mostly, the same abilities;- end to the game when the draw deck ends, when the advancement of the problem reaches its limit, when there is the need to add something to the board and there is none left to be put.To the point that, if you know Pandemic, you will be able to play Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu in about 5 minutes, as the differences are very minor:- there is a Sanity mechanic;- there is the use of Relics (which work as the special cards from Pandemic, but some stay out of the main deck, and there is a danger in using them);- there are Shoggoths.That is mostly it. Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu is mostly Pandemic with some few cosmetic changes.For the complexity, Pandemic is wedged between Pandemic and Forbidden Island, and is very similar to the one in Forbidden Desert.2) How do you play?Once the set up is done, each turn the player will have 4 actions, and the possibilities are:- walk (1 AP per place);- fight cultist (take out 1 cultist);- special movement (using the bus stop[...]

Review: Terraforming Mars:: He Said She Said - Terraforming Mars Review

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:45:20 +0000

by Moogle06 For the review with pictures check out our blog at year is 2315 and Earth has become overpopulated, draining what little remaining resources are left. Civilization’s only hope is to expand into space to find a new planet for settlement. The World Government organization, established in 2174, plans to terraform Mars, but it will require cooperation from the major corporations on Earth. A large financial incentive will be given for corporations that participate in this humanity-saving endeavor. It’s time to hop aboard the next shuttle to Mars and begin your mission!Designer: Jacob FryxeliusPublisher: Stronghold GamesGenre: Card Drafting, Tile PlacementPlayers: 1-5Play Time: 90-180 minutesNumber of Logged Plays: 5Game OverviewIn Terraforming Mars, each player will take on the role of one of the twelve corporations with a vested interest in the terraforming of Mars. Each of these corporations has a specialization that will give them an edge over competing corporations. The corporations will each have their own player board to keep track of their resources and starting conditions.To terraform the planet, the corporations must create enough oxygen in the atmosphere to make it breathable, develop enough oceans to allow for weather similar to Earth, and increase the planet’s temperature to a livable level. To achieve these goals, the corporatio[...]

Review: Power Grid: The Card Game:: Power Grid: TCG - An I, Geek Four-Headed Dragon Review

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:42:48 +0000

by markaaronmassey Desperately attempting to never take ourselves too seriously for both our own sanity and the greater good! Enjoy our review of Power Grid: The Card Game!MarkPros: The game certainly feels like a Friese and for anyone who’s a fan of the Green Haired Wonder, then this may be right up your alley. The game is also most assuredly Power Grid Lite. It plays like Power Grid in the auction and resource grab and in the shiny new time of an hour. You purchase the power plants and judge which you’d like to go for based off of what others have purchased. The resource market is also available before the auction phase, just like in the original game, so you can plan accordingly. And much like with Power Grid there’s a helpful catch up mechanism where the first go last when purchasing the resources insuring that the lowest man on the totem pole won’t get entirely boofed. Of course the best part of the game is the length. Normal Power Grid can clock in at nearly two hours or more with a full compliment of players. In The Card Game you’re looking at a solid hour. If you want to play Power Grid but don’t have the normal time commitment for the full game, then this is your game.Cons: Aside from the quicker play time, this game adds nothing to the original Power Grid. As a matter of fact, it takes away a vast portion of the game by nixing the board. Half of the fun of Pow[...]

Review: Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension:: Gravwell: Family fun with spaceship slingshots!

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:41:37 +0000

by Stroodle88 Let me start by saying that Gravwell is an amazing game and utterly deserving of its title of 2014's Mensa Select game of the year. The beautiful aspect of Gravwell is that the rules are extremely easy to learn, as there aren't a lot of them, and the resulting game play allows for high replayability value. Gravwell is a "get from Point A to Point B" kind of game and the first person that gets to Point B is the winner. Simple enough. It's at that point that any similarity to this game genre ends. In Gravwell, you play as the captain of a spaceship trapped in the Gravwell, or a gravity field, and your goal is to make it to the Warp Gate. Sounds easy enough, but you will have to contend with the gravity field that all of your opponents create! This means on any turn, your space ship can move backwards or forwards. It all depends on how all of the other players play. How do you move backwards you ask? On each turn, all players choose a movement card from their hand and reveal it at the same time. Each movement card begins with a different letter of the alphabet. Once revealed, players resolve the cards in alphabetical order and take turns in alphabetical order from A to Z. Yes, this means you never know who will take what turn every round! You may go first in the round or you may go last! It all depends on what all other players play.The card[...]