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Preview: Recent additions | BoardGameGeek

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Review: Firefly: The Game:: Review from a 3 year Firefly veteran

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 09:46:14 +0000

by Soleia (Is 3 years long enough to be considered a veteran? Aw, who cares.) I realize there is no shortage of reviews for this game, but I hope my opinion is still appreciated. Some notes before we begin:-I have played this game at nearly all player counts from solo to 9 players.-I have played the base game and I have played every available expansion. -I have played every official scenario available for this game (as far as I recall).-No, I'm not saying all that to brag, I just want people to know where I'm coming from before we break atmo and set course for the far reaches of the 'verse. So here we go! LUCK VERSUS STRATEGY: One of this game's best features, for me, is that you have two routes: luck or strategy. In each game you play through a scenario card. Usually, after some prerequisites are met, these will require players to fly to a specific location and roll a die. You add the number rolled to your stats on equipment and crew cards to determine whether you pass each test and get a goal token. Tests will be in one of three categories: fighting, negotiation or tech. So, if a card says you need a fighting check of 10, you can run down to Silverhold and beef up your crew with lots of firearms and explosives until you're fairly certain you will pass the test, or you can pick up a couple decent items for low cost and try your luck. The advantage to the former option is the peace of mind that you won't fail the test (which often means killing crew members or getting a warrant). However, the benefit in taking the "luck" route is that, while everyone else is taking their time doing jobs to earn money to buy items, you might be able to get an edge by lucking your way through the test (my only advice is, no matter what, buy a vehicle before attempting to draw any "Misbehave" cards, which are often a part of completing a goal and always a part of completing illegal jobs). The risk, of course, is getting a bad roll and failing. Either way, it's always a good idea to gear up at least a little before attempting a goal.THEME (will people who haven't seen Firefly enjoy this game?):This game is rich on theme. For fans of the TV series and movie this is one of the pleasures of the game, but it is by no means necessary to enjoy the experience. We got nearly everyone in my extensive family into this game and not one of them had even seen an episode. It didn't rob any of the joy from the game for them, and several ended up getting their own copy without even watching the series. REPLAYABLITY:I'm not gonna lie, I played this game pretty much every day, multiple times a day, for about one and a half years before it wore out its welcome. And even then, the main reason it lost some of its glow was due to the fact that the majority of my plays were with my husband and we both become so familiar with the game there were few surprises left. I still enjoy a play from time to time and would certainly play more if I had others to play with (though I have an extensive family, we don't always get the chance to play longer games). Note that we did acquire all of the expansions during this time. The base game itself is replayable, but if it hits your table as often as it hit ours you will probably want at least the Breakin' Atmo expansion and one of the board expansions (Blue Sun or Kalidasa). Of course, the game comes with multiple story cards, some being better than others. These days we usually play the same story card every time due to the fact that it always changes, and that one is "Where the Wind Takes Us" which is included in the Jetwash ship expansion.DOMINANT STRATEGIES (are some captains better than others?):When my gamer nephew discovered Firefly it didn't take him long to come up with a pretty powerful strategy (which I won't give away here, because you should discover the game for yourself), but it didn't "break" the game, it just meant we had to work hard to find a good counter strategy. Overall I think the captains are well balanced if you play them right.QUALITY & AESTHETICS:This game is of excellent quality. The cards are thic[...]

Review: Conquest of Paradise:: [Roger's Reviews] A New Paradise

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 05:40:00 +0000

by leroy43 Conquest of Paradise (Deluxe Second Edition)A game for 1-4 players by Kevin McPartland"And they called it paradise, the place to be,They watched the hazy sun sinking in the sea"- The Eagles (The Last Resort)IntroductionBack in 2007, a great little game was released by GMT in a lovely linen finish box.The original linen finish box sitting on top of the shiny new blue one.I first tried out Conquest of Paradise back in 2009, and I loved it right away. I recommended it to other people, and introduced to several times to folks, usually to positive comments. Imagine my delight then when GMT said they were going to release a second edition, complete with improved graphics, wooden pieces, and a mounted board. In addition, an unexpected bonus is the inclusion of solitaire playing rules.This review is about the new deluxe edition. If you want to learn about the game play, please see my 2012 review, which also covers the expansion from C3i magazine.Let's have a look inside the new box.ComponentsFirst off, let's see what you get inside the box.ContentsThe new edition comes in the 3" deeper box that GMT has been using for a lot of its games lately. If you're the owner of the previous version, the differences are posted by the designer here, but the key highlights are:- a mounted mapboard- improved colours for the player pieces so they're easier to distinguish in low light- formal inclusion of the random event cards that were previously only included in C3i magazine PLUS markers for these included in the counter sheet- wooden pieces in all four player colours- full colour rules and play aids- rules for playing the game solitaire Rules & Game PlayIf you're unfamiliar with how the game plays, I refer you to my 2012 review. The game play remains unchanged, save that there are a few minor alterations such as the addition of one Arts & Culture card to make a full deck of 55. The only other potentially major change is the addition of one row of hexes to the bottom of the map. I don't believe that should have a major impact to the experience, and I haven't yet played it enough to show me otherwise. SolitaireThe one really exciting new addition are the solitaire rules.I was part of the play test crew for the solitaire expansion (listed in the credits no less), and it makes Conquest of Paradise a challenging little puzzle for the solitaire gamer. While it won't replace the multiplayer experience for me, it does give a satisfying experience in about the same amount of time that a normal game takes. The solitaire game uses a set of chits drawn from a cup, and the objective is to attain 30 victory points before you use more than 13 of the 15 chits in the cup. You are playing Tonga and your "opponent" gets Samoa, and the chits have two sides - one that expands Samoa's resources, and then the other gives Samoa an action, including attacks!The solitaire rules are compatible with the original game, but you'll have to make up your own chits, which you can download and print from the GMT Games site.And because I know someone will ask, no, there is no upgrade kit. You can order the new mounted map as an accessory for your first edition game, but the new cards, wooden pieces, colour rules, etc etc... don't come separate. ConclusionsIt's not often as a reviewer that I have an opportunity to write about a particular game more than once. It is increasingly common to see revised editions of previously published products, often with so little time between revised editions that one really wonders if it isn't just an attempt to extract more gaming dollars from the player purse.The original Conquest of Paradise is and remains a great game. However, there is no denying that the original had its detractors with respect to the difficult to distinguish pastel palette, and the board while perfectly fine was cardboard and best held down with plexiglass. Quite frankly, this is a time where it is delightful to see a new edition, not only because the original is long out of print, but because this edition has the table appeal tha[...]

Review: Space Junkyard:: The Purge: # 1106 Space Junkyard: A flight through space and all this junk just sitting around...what is a pilot to do?

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 21:58:25 +0000

by william4192 My geek list can be found here: You Tube channel can be found here: Space Junkyard game be pause when I first sat down to play it. The space theme isn't a favorite of mine and the game just seemed bland to me. The components, while very nice, appear to be very out dated. The rules made it seem like an abstract game and everything pretty much lived up to my expectations. The game is really an abstract. I never felt like I was piloting a ship. All the ships move the same and do the same things, you never battle for a space, and when you upgrade your ship it doesn't change anything about your ship. It doesn't feel like you are actually doing anything but scoring points. Whenever a theme strips away while I'm playing a game and I'm just scoring points, then I know I'm playing an abstract game.Who wins this game? You have control of which tiles stay on the board, but being around more valuable tiles (or one that luckily help your strategy) will help you win the game. Furthermore, I'm not sure strategy plays a huge part in this game. Instead, this is more about using what is around you to the best of your ability. You are very limited in how many resources you can hold, so you are constantly getting resources (and throwing a lot away because you cannot store it) and then buying a single tile only to start all over again.Overall, this is not a strong game. It might fill a hole in your collection for an abstract game with a space theme. Making the connections is actually really fun. Too bad they do nothing for game play purposes. Purge. Components: The components have aged; that is sort of obvious when you see the game. The use of plastic ships (hard plastic) is a huge difference than the minis we see today. The tiles are thick but the icons used are too similar and the same colors are used for all the icons (despite what they do). It made teaching the game a little hard to explain. While I found the game colorful and pleasant, I just find the space theme to be pretty bland. Rule Book: The rule book is fairly clear. Overall, the rule does a pretty good job but a numbering system would have helped. I would have liked a player aid to go over the turn order. The rules are pretty clear and I really didn't have any huge issues. Flow of the Game: The flow of the game is rather easy and flows nicely. On a turn, you move your ship 0-3 spaces (and up to another 3 by giving up a yellow token/energy). Then, you can cash in two asteroids you flew over (or landed on), recycle the tile you landed on for goods, or use your resources to add on to your ship.The scoring is what makes or breaks this game. You are trying to get connections (and most have multiple connections) to close connections to score points. These tiles have a VP number listed on them. You lose a point if you did not connect all the connections for a tile and then minus an additional point for each connection not make. The flow of the game is your ship flying around picking up junk to add to your ship and/or getting rid of junk for the resources. Should I buy this game?: This is a hard sell for me. This game has aged badly. Even the plastic ships are something from another era (despite being nice). I would highly recommend trying this before you buy it. This is a nice enough "move some ships and see what happens", but it isn't a brain burner or a strategic game. That's the best I can do. Its blah. Not great, not terrible, but it just sits there for me.Purge. [...]

Review: Battle of the Bands:: Geeks Under Grace Preview: Band Manager - Backstage Clash

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 21:10:40 +0000

by koreanpenguin Original Preview at: of the Band ManagersNew, from a trio of designers (Original Content London) out of London, comes Band Manager: Backstage Clash, now on Kickstarter!Band Manager is dedicated to musicians who are still striving to make music in the ever-changing music industry.The game places players in the role of managers who cobble together musicians to form bands, then sending them out on tour to play and gain fans, ultimately becoming the greatest, most famous, band of all time.Learning to PlayThe game begins with players receiving two passion cards, with various phrases like: midlife crisis, heartbreak, talent, etc. Each player must describe how they broke into the music industry, using those cards as turning points in their lives. It gets excessively silly, and exceedingly hilarious. These cards also act as wilds.On their turn, players can stay home and practice (draw a card), or go on tour, thereby completing a row of card, including: hype, chops, gear, riffs, passion, and fans. When a player goes on tour, they may invite other players to join them, as adding more musicians allow for filling more rows and increasing exposure and spoils.After a successful tour, players will draw cards based on numerical success from played cards, granting either fans (value 1-4) or career cards (hype, chops, riffs, and gear). These cards will be discarded once the tour ends, so players can place badges on played cards to determine which order they draw cards from the spoils pile, as well as guarantee they can take that card back into their hand instead of losing it.Play continues until one player has gathered 27 fans, making them the greatest musician and tour organizer of all time… Oh, and they win the game.All The FixinsWhile potentially gimmicky, Band Manager stresses the appeal and flavor of desperation to make it in the music biz. The game board is literally a t-shirt, and players actually use badges that high schoolers would clip onto their backpacks to show support for whatever various bands were in style. I realize this is a relic from the late 90s and early 2000s at this point. Kickstarter pledge levels also include a flight case to store your game inside, rather than a cardboard box.Band Manager is also clever in pop culture reference (This Is Spinal Tap, for example) and boasts a delectable selection of pixel art featured all throughout the game. Each instrument or style of music is accentuated through the detailed artwork, and as an old-time SNES gamer, the art style speaks to the games I hold dearest. While pixel art is growing more commonplace recently, I think it fits here, and it fits very well.Band Manager entirely loses any sort of family-friendly potential with silly expansion cards referencing a “sex tape” or one passion card depicts a psychedelic drug trip, which brought that player into the music industry. In addition, the Kickstarter expansion ships with an obligatory NSFW pack that makes the game more rude, sexual, and violent. Figure out whether you would toss out the NSFW pack upon arrival, or play with it, but aside from new art, I’m not sure it adds anything to the game.If you decide you want more content and variety to gameplay, you could instead choose the Entourage pack, which includes patches. These patches give variable players powers. Some might allow a player to draw two cards when practicing instead of just one. This adds a lot of re-playability to the game, and gives players different methods to reach their goals.I think the Entourage pack should be a necessity for each KS copy of the game, as it’s a request among the people I’ve played with. The gameplay itself allows for lots of “take-that,” backstabbing, and kicking players off your tour whether it’s because they are annoying, or you don’t want them to get the cards they need. While I think this negotiating is the core of the game, additional player p[...]

Review: Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails:: The Broken Meeple - Ticket To Ride: Rails & Sails Review - Around The World In 80+ Minutes!

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:21:29 +0000

by farmergiles It's no surprise that I like Ticket To Ride, it was on my Top 100 and I own almost all the expansion maps for it. I don't get to play them all very much I admit, but I love using this as a great gateway game to conscript. . . err I mean bring in new players to the hobby.Slowly but surely new mechanisms have found their way into the game through expansions with the pinnacle of achievement falling to the United Kingdom map (no bias I assure you) which is definitely the most complex of the expansion maps, but also in my opinion, the best one of the lot. So when Rails & Sails was announced as a new base set with added complexities like ships, wrap-around maps, harbours, etc. I wondered how much further they would dare to go to add more mechanisms to a gateway game.Of course, being Ticket To Ride I was keen to get stuck in and find out what's what, but there were a couple of statistics that first raised concerns. How much? How long?Designer: Alan R. MoonPublisher: Days of WonderAge: 8+Players: 2-5Time: 90-120 minutesRRP: £64.99On To New HorizonsFrom Board Game Geek:Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails takes the familiar gameplay of Ticket to Ride and expands it across the globe — which means that you'll be moving across water, of course, and that's where the sails come in.As in other Ticket to Ride games, in Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails players start with tickets in hand that show two cities, and over the course of the game they try to collect colored cards, then claim routes on the game board with their colored train and ship tokens, scoring points while doing so. When any player has six or fewer tokens in their supply, each player takes two more turns, then the game ends. At that point, if they've created a continuous path between the two cities on a ticket, then they score the points on that ticket; if not, then they lose points instead.Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails puts a few twists on the TtR formula, starting with split card decks of trains and ships (with all of the wild cards going in the train deck). Three cards of each type are revealed at the start of the game, and when you draw cards, you replace them with a card from whichever deck you like. (Shuffle the card types separately to form new decks when needed.)Similarly, players choose their own mix of train and ship tokens at the start of the game. To claim a train route (rectangular spaces), you must play train cards (or wilds) and cover those spaces with train tokens, and to claim a ship route (oval spaces), you must play ship cards (or wilds) and cover those spaces with ship tokens. Ship cards depict one or two ships on them, and when you play a double-ship card, you can cover one or two ship spaces. You can take an action during play to swap train tokens for ships (or vice versa), and you lose one point for each token you swap.Some tickets show tour routes with multiple cities instead of simply two cities. If you build a network that matches the tour exactly, you score more points than if you simply include all of those cities in your network.Each player also starts the game with three harbors. If you have built a route to a port city, you can take an action during the game to place a harbor in that city (with a limit of one harbor per port). To place the harbor, you must discard two train cards and two ship cards of the same color, all of which must bear the harbor symbol (an anchor). At the end of the game, you lose four points for each harbor not placed, and you gain 10-40 points for each placed harbor depending on how many of your completed tickets show that port city.Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails includes a double-sided game board, with one side showing the world and the other side showing the Great Lakes of North America. Players start with a differing number of cards and tokens depending on which side they play, and each side has a few differences in gameplay.Travelling in First ClassNot that you need much convincing, but when Days [...]

Review: Mechs vs. Minions:: MvM – Gameplay review.

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:21:09 +0000

by eker MvM – Gameplay review.No need to review the components jewelry and eyecandy, unless you are living in a cave. The question is: is there a great game in the box? What if the game was published by FFG in a standard box, would it still be good?General.It is a coop game, programming your Mech to move around, there is no elimination. Damage is just messing up your program, and can be easily fixed. Please check video section for more details. Playing time on the box says 60 -90 minutes. Have not played all scenarios, but is seems more or less correct, or closer to 2 hours for longer scenarios.Compare to other games.MvM have two parts. First part is a coop strategy discussion. Who goes where? What task to perform? Next part is tactical solitaire. You are programming your Mech, and then perform your actions in sequence.Many compare MvM to RoboRally. But the only similarity is programming slots in a robot. RoboRally is competitive with more restrictive programming cards. You must to turn right or left, while in MvM you chose the direction. RoboRally tends to be a long boring affair, due to bad planning of track. You usually end up with a too long track with a runaway leader.In Bomb Squad you are programming a common robot to disarm bombs. Here is time a major part of the game. No time for strategic discussion. In MvM the timer function is just to restrict an alpha player to control the game during card selection. You can easily adjust this to suit your gaming group. Space Cadets have the same two parts as MvM. A common strategy part, and then solitaire tactical part. But here is time stress a major factor in the game.The same with XCOM. First a strategic discussion and then solitaire play. Again with more time stress than MvM. Finally, MvM is based on the Weapons of Zombie Destruction game. I do not know much about this game.I find MvM a better game than those mentioned above.Footprint.This game is big, with large components. You need a dinner table to play this. But still smaller than the more famous space eating games such as Railroad Tycoon. Digging down to lower layer to pick up the cards, means you are temporary spreading out the game on the floor and the table. But you have to accept this. Parking a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow takes more space than a bicycle.Learning curve.Thanks to the tutorial there is no learning curve at all. Downside is that you have un-learn some rules to play standard game.Rules.As an experienced wargamer, I do not have any problems with the rules. Basic learned by watching R.Smith, and rest by reading each scenario description. It should be easy for all players, even beginners, IMO. MvM sessions experience.Had a blast with my granddaughter (6yrs), and the rest of the family, playing the tutorial.She wanted to play more, thanks to the high toy factor. I think I will make the tutorial more challenging, but no doubt the young kids enjoy the tutorial as it is.Mission 1 is no doubt too much for a kid. Pushing and towing the bomb, takes some brain burning. Playing with experienced gamers last night, it was really a challenge. With the bomb adjacent to the goal we would push it to a win, but me as the last player would push the bomb far off target again. Just by some clever planning we were able to find the solution by towing my Mech away. In this situation, I doubt my family would find this solution, and game would probably last at least 5 more rounds. We, as experienced players, really enjoyed this challenge.Mission 1 with younger kid, I will modify it to just push the bomb off board to win. Hope this challenge will be short and suited for my 6 yrs old granddaughter.Mission 2 seems to be a better challenge for the family, again, maybe some modifications if my granddaughter wants to play. This mission will be too long for a kid.What I like:Theme. Just love it. The professor with more ambitions than brain and equipment, starting a school. The [...]

Review: Hospital Rush:: Prime inpressioni su Hospital Rush (italiano)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:20:57 +0000

by dimarco70

NOTA: Questo articolo è comparso la prima volta su ILSA (Informazione Ludica a Scatola Aperta),

Anni di studi, fatica e sudore spesi presso la Facoltà di Medicina e adesso, finalmente, state arrivando a conclusione del corso di specializzazione quando... scoprite che l'ospedale sta cercando un nuovo dottore! Quale ghiotta occasione! Peccato che non siate i soli a competere per quel posto; e allora dovrete far vedere che siete il migliore candidato, anche a costo di utilizzare qualche espediente non proprio legale... I materiali contenuti dentro la piccola scatola: segnalini di legno, tabellone, schede personali dei giocatori e carte malato; tutto illustrato in stile caricaturale (e i malati sono parodie di personaggi famosi, come Woody Allergy, Jim Caries, Quentin Quarantino o Malaria Croft).

Si tratta di un rapido gioco di piazzamento lavoratori con una fortissima componente interattiva (anche di tipo distruttivo) strutturato come gioco "di corse": il primo giocatore che raggiunge o supera i 10 punti determina la fine del gioco. Chi alla fine del turno avrà più punti vittoria sarà il vincitore.

Durante il proprio turno i giocatori eseguono due turni di piazzamento lavoratori (ed esecuzione della corrispondente azione) in cui possono eseguire azioni legali, come curare uno dei malati ricoverati (la terapia viene somministrata in modo esclusivo, prenotando il malato), procurarsi i medicinali per curarli, fare i turni di notte per guadagnare qualche soldo in più (da spendere successivamente per completare gli studi di specializzazione -ottenendo alcune utili abilità aggiuntive- o pagarsi l'iscrizione agli esami finali, che possono fruttare una bella fetta degli agognati 10 punti). D'altronde, è possibile anche compiere qualche atto malandrino, sicuramente più lucrativo, come rubare denaro e medicine ai colleghi o corrompere il personale per comprarsi direttamente i punti vittoria. Inoltre, la scheda personaggio associata a ciascun giocatore fornisce altre due opzioni private di azioni illegali, che animano e differenziano le tattiche adottabili. Quale è il rischio nel compiere queste azioni più potenti? Che qualcuno più avanti nell'ordine di turno faccia la spia, incassando soldi per ogni lavoratore truffaldino e obbligando gli altri giocatori a pagare soldi o punti vittoria.

Alla fine del turno ogni paziente curato viene dimesso, fruttando punti a chi lo ha curato. Anche il paziente che è da più tempo all'ospedale viene dimesso (indipendentemente dalle sue condizioni di salute), mentre ne vengono ricoverati di nuovi; si può iniziare con un nuovo turno, a meno di non aver raggiunto le condizioni di fine gioco.

Hospital Rush è un gioco riempitivo dal tema inusuale, così come lo è l'accoppiata piazzamento lavoratori/attacco diretto. Ci sono diversi particolari da tenere sotto controllo, interessanti scelte di temporizzazione da fare, ma dovete essere pronti a perdere ciò che avete accumulato negli ultimi due turni se un paio di avversari hanno deciso di attaccarvi e non vi siete preparati: in un gioco da 40 minuti si tratta di un compromesso accettabile. L'elevato numero di ruoli, con le loro abilità speciali, aumenta la rigiocabilità, fornendo scenari diversi a cui adattarsi. Probabilmente funziona meglio in 5 giocatori che non in 3. Se siete appassionati del controllo totale e non sopportate l'interazione distruttiva nei vostri giochi, sicuramente non fa per voi.

Review: Cry Havoc:: Let Slip the Trogs of War (a Space-Biff! review)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:09:53 +0000

by The Innocent Let Slip the Trogs of WarCry Havoc, a triple-header by Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, and Michał Walczak, wants to be one of the coolest things you’ve ever heard about. Hell, it’d like your ears to bleed when you hear just how cool it is. Soldiers dropping from orbit, rampaging machines who’ve never heard of the Turing Test and couldn’t care less, four-armed knockoffs of either the Eldar or Protoss — depending on which you think is a better representation of the ancient grumpy alien trope — and muscle-bound idiots who care for nothing so much as pumping their arms in the air to the catchy beat of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Cry Havoc has all that and more.But instead of dripping honey into your ears, there are precisely two things I want to say about Cry Havoc. Just two. Not three, not one. Two.First of all, asymmetry sure seems popular these days, doesn’t it? Well, when it’s pulled off with as much panache as Cry Havoc, it isn’t hard to see why. A huge amount of this game’s appeal comes down to boasting four factions whose similarities pretty much begin and end with “They have fighters” and “They want crystals.” Whatever alignment of stars that led these four powers to slug it out on the surface of Cry Havoc’s unnamed planet, I’m cool with it. There isn’t much of a backstory to the goings-on, but objection overruled, because long-winded stories just stand in the way of letting these guys get down to the business of crushing and shooting.While this seems to be primarily Grant Rodiek’s rodeo, Michał Oracz’s fingerprints are hard to mistake. After all, this was the guy who gave us the dozen-odd factions of Neuroshima Hex and the colorful stragglers of Theseus: The Dark Orbit. And like those games’ war-weary killers or desperate collapsing-space-station survivors, each of the sides in Cry Havoc is doing their own thing.Let’s start with the Trogs, the natives whose planet is undergoing a three-way invasion. They’re your typical tree-hugging locals, not too different from Avatar‘s Na’vi, if the Na’vi spent less time prevaricating about the mysteries of life and more time flexing and getting stuff done. They start out all over the place, and can muster extra bodies just by rolling over to the neighbors and asking them to join up. Even later on, they can disappear into the shrubbery for a few minutes, only to pop back out with extra guys in some region that nobody was expecting to get reinforced. It isn’t uncommon to see the board swamped in green for the first few rounds.This is where the other factions need to scramble to keep up, each with unique tricks up their own sleeves.The Humans, for instance, like to strike without dirtying their hands. Sometimes this means chucking artillery shells into a region, other times it means using airfields to conquer adjacent areas without squelching a single boot into the mud. And the Humans are unique in their ability to capitalize on these temporary gains by churning them into easy victory points. The Pilgrims, on the other hand, are all about the long con, gradually setting up harvesters to pool crystals, then unleashing them for powerful abilities or points.The Machines take an entirely different tack by focusing on setting up structures to do their fighting for them. Most of the time, getting thrust into battle means that region is done for the time being, totally locked off for reinforcements from either side. It’s even difficult to evacuate your guys in the event that you want to use them elsewhere. The Machines, however, have all sorts of buildings that tinker with the rules, whether by using Shred Drones to kill off guys in battle regions prior to the actual fight — normally impossible — or using Matrix structures to give them extra combat cards.See, while the focus in Cry Havoc is about moving guys around the m[...]

Review: Neuroshima Hex!:: Neuroshima Forever (a Space-Biff! review)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:52:02 +0000

by The Innocent Neuroshima ForeverInterrupt me if this is a spoiler, but it’s the factions that do it. Can a review be spoiled? If so, I just spoiled myself.Neuroshima Hex has been a thing for a while now. Ten years, in fact. When it first appeared on the scene, Portal Games was much smaller than it is now, and Michał Oracz was just beginning to show his prodigy-levels of cleverness at creating distinct factions. In essence, Neuroshima Hex was the broadside that started the war. After all, this was before his wonderful Theseus: The Dark Orbit and the brand-new Cry Havoc, both of which are all about the way their various factions intersect, clash, and resolve their differences. Usually by shooting or eating each other. Sometimes both.Now it’s ten years later and Neuroshima Hex is still going strong. And I’m going to tell you why it’s the raddest abstract tile-laying game on the market.Rather than talking about the basics, let’s talk about the factions. Because really, it’s the factions that make Neuroshima Hex shine.The basic box comes with four of them. If that sounds like a lot, it isn’t. Not in Neuroshima Hex, which plays so quickly that it’s easy to wrap up a game, spend some time kvetching about how overpowered your opponent’s pieces were, and set up an entirely new match just so you can try them out for yourself. That’s the childlike joy of this thing: seeing how different combinations stack up. There’s nothing quite like watching a five- or six-person game in the making, even though a game with that many people is going to be absolute chaos. When everyone selects who they’ll be commanding, it’s a toybox of possibilities that’s been dumped out onto the table. Can Mephisto beat Mississippi this time? It’s the “Can my favorite superhero beat your favorite superhero” of our childhoods, but condensed into a tile game.Let’s start with Moloch. They’re the robot team. Also the red team. And they’re the ones most likely to set up a bunch of ranged shots that you can’t block.Backing up just a tad, your goal in Neuroshima Hex is to inflict damage on your opponent’s — or opponents’ — headquarters. To do this, you’ll need boots on the ground, dudes with blades or guns who can stab or shoot at anything standing between them and that HQ. Melee attacks are pretty much what you’d expect, one tile poking at the tile next to it. Ranged shots, on the other hand, will hit the first enemy tile in a line from where they’re positioned. Shooting someone far away or point-blank, it’s all the same.Moloch is great at ranged attacks. He’s a robot, so no surprise there. His strategy often revolves around setting up lots of ranged guys behind lots of stabby guys. Unfortunately, while Moloch is a bit easier to learn for this reason, he’s also the guy whose tiles you’re most likely to waste.Backing up again, this is because each turn in Neuroshima Hex is as simple as drawing three tiles, pondering over which ones will work best right now, and then throwing one away and placing the other two on the board. Some tiles do special stuff, like starting a battle or blowing up an enemy tile, but for the most part it’s that easy: draw three, chuck one, place two.Moloch’s difficulty is that he’s got a whole lot of individual tiles. Where many of his opponents have a whole bunch of a particular unit, meaning they can rely on pulling it out every so often, Moloch is likely to be the guy who gives you three totally unique tiles, all three of them awesome and useful, and the mere thought of tossing one into your discard pile is a sort of post-singularity sin, because you’ll never see that piece again.Hand management and tough decisions. If the factions weren’t so awesome, those would be what make Neuroshima Hex great.The thing is, I meant to talk in depth about all four[...]

Review: Tides of Madness:: We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes (a Space-Biff! review)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:44:35 +0000

by The Innocent We All Go a Little Mad SometimesEighteen cards. Four tokens. One pad for keeping score. A single golf pencil.That’s how I introduced last year’s Tides of Time, Kristian Čurla’s then-unique microgame about the dawn of civilization as glimpsed through the world’s tiniest lens. It was a bijou of a game, as clever and elegant as it was petite.Now we’ve got Tides of Madness, which at first glance appears like little more than the inevitable Lovecraftifying that has gripped so much of this hobby. But let’s take a closer look.If the first glance in Tides of Madness’s direction makes it seem about as unwarranted as a sequel to At the Mountains of Madness, then so does the second glance. From trousers to top hat, this initially appears to be the same gentleman, though this time his frock coat glows an unearthly blue when held under an ultraviolet lamp. Both players take a hand of five cards, draft one for some benefit — perhaps to earn points whenever you claim a combination of elder sign scrolls and green books, or to pick up a sizeable wad all at once if you have more pink tentacles than your opponent — and the round concludes once everything has been claimed, both players tallying their score and grumbling about which cards they ought to have taken.Even the twist at the heart of Tides of Time is present and accounted for. Rather than beginning anew upon reaching each of the game’s three rounds, you instead claim cards permanently or drop them from the game altogether. So if you believe your opponent is going to continue earning points from towers thanks to their fixture Unaussprechlichen Kulten, perhaps remove a tower from circulation. Then again, perhaps they know that you know that they’re hoping for more towers, so who’s tricking whom?Cerebral duplicity of that sort is in high supply in both games, and it only gets better as you learn the cards, relying on different appearances from the deck as the match progresses. It’s good stuff, and every bit as clever as the original if only because the cards are nearly identical.With one crucial difference, anyway. While it’s certainly true that the cards are largely similar, with the Hanging Gardens swapped out for the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Old Man’s Pass not getting quite as much vitamin D now that it’s been recast as R’lyeh, Tides of Madness manages to stand on its own by putting its money where its mouth is. Or its gills somewhere near to its mouth, as the case may be.The big change is that just under half the cards are now lovingly fondled by tentacles. And these are no mere fetishist homages. Rather, in addition to tallying points, the end of the round also sees you picking up madness tokens for each betentacled card. Take a whole bunch of these tokens and you’re presented with the choice of discarding one of them or earning a few points — but earn too many and it’ll be an instant game over for you, presumably as you devolve into a fish person.This single simple change transforms Tides of Madness from mere duplicate to the superior offering. While your opponent nitpicks over points and frets about matching card suits to bonuses, you can stack as many madness tokens on his side of the table as possible. He might use the Necronomicon to leverage his piled-up insanity into a bunch of points, but none of that is going to matter if he ends the round so addled that he can’t speak except when babbling Dagon’s praises. Then again, maybe he’s entirely conscious of what you’re trying to do, and he intends to force the Dreamlands into your hand to force the occasional madness token onto your side of the table instead.As before, the cerebral chicanery continues. To mirror my review of Tides of Time, Tides of Madness excels at being a close-matched duel of wits within as few a[...]

Review: Tiny Epic Western:: From Dud to Dude (a Space-Biff! review)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:44:29 +0000

by The Innocent From Dud to DudeIf we’ve learned any one thing about Scott Almes and Gamelyn Games’ Tiny Epic series now that we’ve reached the fourth entry — the previous ones being Kingdoms, Defenders, and Galaxies — it’s that they’ve got a lot of heart. Maybe even more heart than bite, sometimes, maybe.It isn’t that they aren’t tiny, because sure, on a particular scale they’re downright microscopic. And it isn’t that they aren’t epic; when a word has lost all meaning, there’s no reason to keep championing it. Rather, it’s that they live up to their pitch. They’re portable, functional, and for being so compact and workmanlike they’re also decently good times when you don’t have a whole evening to burn.The problem with that theory is that Tiny Epic Western is actually the sort of game I might play as a non-filler.I’ll give you five pesos if you can guess the plot to Tiny Epic Western. No, reverse that. You should give me five pesos. Because this is about as plain an outfit as the Wild West has ever worn. Everyone is some sort of ringleader, whether outlaw, chief, lawman, rancher, banker — you get the idea — and it’s your goal to gallop out with your posses, put on a rootin’-tootin’ time shooting up the local establishments, and take command of this here pueblo. There’s also something about railroads and wanted posters, because it wouldn’t be a Western without those. Oh, and you’ll be playing some poker, because of course you’ll be playing some poker.The thing is, original as unadorned spaghetti though it may be, Tiny Epic Western’s pared-down poker, which uses a three-card hand and a short deck of four suits and number cards from one to five, is what transforms the entire thing from dud to dude.Let me explain. The town is laid out in a little wagon wheel arrangement, with little destinations and poker cards ringing the periphery and purchasable deeds for spokes, and much of the gameplay revolves around ordering your dudes to claim the benefits of those locations. Simple enough, especially when you elect to take an establishment’s easy money, opting to earn a meager sum of gold, law, or force right then and there.However, there exists a second option, which is to press your luck a little bit by sticking around and hoping to double your winnings. Rather than just popping by the bank (which, puzzlingly, initially pays out law rather than coin), you can mill around the foyer, running the risk of a shootout, all in the hopes of raking in some extra dough.While your posse twiddles their thumbs at their destination of choice, a rival might come along and demand satisfaction, resulting in a quick duel that’s nearly entirely settled by the roll of a die. Oh, each player can manipulate the outcome a bit, whether by spending some resources for rerolls or revealing their hidden poker card (more on that in a moment) for a one-off bump to their strength, but it’s largely a random affair. This is somewhat unfortunate, given all the effort that goes into picking out a destination and the fact that you usually only have two dudes running your errands. In fact, the best compliment I can pay these shootouts is that they’re functional and inject some small measure of tension to the proceedings. Other than that, they’re the low point in a game that mostly fires on the assumption that a well-planned victory is an earned victory.Anyway, once everyone’s posses are out on the town, the real meat of the game decides to show up. This is when everything comes together, all the dudes at each establishment revealing their poker card to assemble a hand with the two cards flanking it. It’s an important moment, the culmination of everything else you’ve done so far: the cards that were laid out beside each loca[...]

Review: Trickerion: Legends of Illusion:: It’s an Illusionerion, Michael (a Space-Biff! review)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:44:20 +0000

by The Innocent It’s an Illusionerion, MichaelIn a lot of ways, the greatest feat of Trickerion: Legends of Illusion is that it highlights precisely why Kickstarter works as a platform for independent game ideas. Set in a city that just can’t get enough of magic and magicians, this original design by first-timers Richard Amann and Viktor Peter is all about the thrill of putting yourself out there, the joy of pulling off that impossible illusion, and the frustration that settles in at the bottom of your stomach when you watch your rival pull off that vanishing elephant trick before you. It’s also a risky project, complex and deep and occasionally infuriating. So let’s talk.Before I get into my reservations about Trickerion, I’m bursting with enough enthusiasm about what it does right that I can hardly contain myself. Because when it’s tugging rabbits from hats and sawing volunteers from the audience into thirds, it deserves a standing ovation.For one thing, it absolutely nails the idea that the performance — when your magician gets up in front of the crowd to wriggle his magic hands and make everyone go ooh and aah — is the culmination of a whole shedload of work. As any performer knows, the Night Of is a wonderful thing, but it’s almost perfunctory when stacked up against the endless hours of preparations beforehand. Here, the performance itself is as simple as counting up some bonuses. You put on a great show on a Thursday night to a rowdy crowd of workers, raking in a bit less coin because it was a bargain audience, but you and your guest performers did a fine job, upped your fame, took home some silver, and maybe picked up a semi-magical stone or two. All in a night’s work.Trickerion, however, is more interested in the day’s work that came before that night. Scratch that: the week’s work. The bulk of the game is about all the little events of logistics, inventory management, hiring, the gathering of blueprints and the arranging of a solid program. The performance itself might be the crowning moment that you’re building towards, but it could feel almost like a letdown if it wasn’t for the fact that you just earned a whole bunch of money and spread tell of your magical prowess.And while the game is crammed with so many icons that it can be a little tough to follow right at first, everything gradually falls together to make more sense than it first appears. Broadly, a single round goes something like this:First you’ll assign secret orders to each of your workers, dispatching them to the market to pick up mirrors and doves, or downtown to hire new assistants or beg for loans from the bank, or perhaps to Diagon Dark Alley to read some omens or learn sneaky ways to get ahead. Then everyone flips their cards over and begins dispatching their minions in classic worker-placement fashion.This is already way more tricky (ha?) than it might seem, because each neighborhood around town can only accommodate so many magical visitors. Making matters even more complicated, getting to a particular area earlier means you’ll have extra actions to spend once you arrive. At market row, for instance, purchasing an in-stock item only requires a single action, but that’s not likely to be the only thing you’re interested in accomplishing. Further actions will let you order different items for future rounds, rush-order materials you absolutely must have right now and that you’re willing to pay a premium to lay hands on, or even haggle for a discount. Sending a lowly apprentice, then, won’t get you much. Much better to go yourself, since your magician token can take a whole bunch of actions. But every round your magician is occupied lurking around the market stalls is a round she isn’t on stage.Even the see[...]

Review: Deep Space D-6:: In Space, No One Can Hear You Roll (a Space-Biff! review)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:44:14 +0000

by The Innocent In Space, No One Can Hear You RollIn Deep Space D-6, a solo dice game that wears its influences on its sleeve, my first victory came while helming the Halcyon. Time warps, space pirates, even the lure of cosmic existentialism and the dreaded Ouroboros station couldn’t stop me. Everything space had to throw at me, and I chewed it up and spat it right back in space’s pimply face. And it was only my first try.I was dumbfounded. Was this it? Had I reached the edge of space so easily? Had I made some mistake? Was I even now trapped within the swaddled interior of cosmic existentialism itself, unwilling to see the boundaries of the dream?The answer to all of these questions was no. I’d played correctly. I’d defeated space. But that was only aboard the Halcyon, the galactic equivalent of a bike with eight sets of training wheels trailing off its sides. The Athena Mk. II would not prove such a tender lover.A round in Deep Space D-6 goes something like this. You pick up a chunky handful of dice, each side of each die representing a crewman you can put to work, and clatter them across the table while praying that they don’t come up as sensor pings. Sensor pings are bad, see. Very bad. Then you assign them to the stations of your ship. Maybe you fire your space-cannons, or charge your space-shields, or repair your space ship’s hull. Very occasionally, you need to make a tougher decision, like having a medical officer decide whether to let Poplawski out of the infirmary or let you reroll all those redundant science officers that reported for duty this turn.Then the bad guys get their turn.This isn’t too bad at first. You roll a d6, is all. And when you only have a couple enemy ships hounding you, that means they’ll maybe ping your shields, maybe get a lucky shot through and scratch your hull. It’s even possible that they won’t land a shot at all.But that’s only at first, because every turn sees new threats added to your battle array. Worse, whenever you roll one of those blasted sensor pings, one of your crew dice is trapped staring at the big concave screen on the bridge until you’ve locked up enough dice to add an extra threat. Then, and only then, are you going to get all your dice back, though now with the benefit of more ships to blow up. And while a couple pirates aren’t a big deal, things start to get hot and heavy once you’ve got a strike bomber who sends your guys straight to the infirmary, a scout who increases your enemies’ damage output, an orbital cannon that you can’t even touch until you clear everything else out, and a cloaking engine that needs to be taken down before it doubles the incoming ships’ effectiveness.Put simply: Deep Space D-6 goes from impulse to warp nine fast. Buckle up.For a solo dice game, it’s a tense little experience, gleefully flinging insurmountable odds in your face and then giggling as you juggle laser pistols while walking barefoot across glowing coals. And yet there are ways to get ahead — or, scratch that, ways to keep treading water a little while longer. You can injure your crewmen to swap another die roll to the face of your choice, for one. Or… well, that’s the main one, depending on which ship you’re on. Much of the decision space revolves around threat prioritization: do you blow up the little stuff now, or chip away at the big stuff? And which big stuff? And how quickly? Should you send Jacobson to the infirmary, and if so should you recharge your shields or launch another missile? This portion of the game is all about answering tough questions.Not with the Halcyon, though. The starter ship simply provides too many ways to manage your crew, letting you spring your guys locked up staring at the senso[...]

Review: Hands in the Sea:: Hamilcar, Not Hannibal (a Space-Biff! review)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:44:09 +0000

by The Innocent Hamilcar, Not HannibalAt its height, the Carthaginian Empire was enormous. Encompassing much of northern Africa, swaths of modern-day Spain, Corsica and Sardinia, even a toehold on the jewel of the Mediterranean that was Sicily, they were one of the world’s great maritime powers — a true thalassocracy, their navy indomitable at sea — until the scrappy Roman Republic’s unification of the Italian Peninsula put them in a position to challenge Carthage’s authority. The ensuing wars spanned more than a century, and only concluded when the grand city of Carthage was burnt to the ground.Not only is Hands in the Sea set during the first of these wars — that’s the war of Hamilcar Barca, father of the Hannibal Barca who would brashly march elephants across the Alps in the Second Punic War — it also contains some history of its own. Riffing on Martin Wallace’s innovative A Few Acres of Snow, this is Daniel Berger’s attempt at taking the system to the next level without resorting to the same fantastical measures that Wallace undertook in Mythotopia. Which is to say, this is a serious game, full of serious people undertaking serious endeavors — and it’s every bit as good as it is serious.Picture this. There are two great powers, staring at each other over a narrow — yet still dangerous — span of too-blue, too-deep sea. Between them sits the myriad towns and independent city-states of Corsica, Sardinia, and most importantly Sicily. The simple act of getting from place to place is difficult, and neither side has the strength to beat the other outright, or at least they probably don’t. Instead, this will be a war of pillaging, of towns changing hands, of navies skirting around one another. A duel of lions fought like weasels.If I only told you one thing about Hands in the Sea — and trust me, there’s so much to tell that it’s a tempting thought — it would be that this is a very different sort of deck-building game. Where most of these sorts of games are simple to learn and can be played almost on autopilot, Hands in the Sea wants to be taken seriously as a wargame. It wants to give you a hand of cards and watch you squirm over them, trying to figure out how you’ll wring the best possible turn out of their mismatched faces.Which is why nothing operates quite as you may have come to expect from this genre. Sure, the game is about putting together a solid deck of cool cards, then using it to propel yourself towards victory. But where it stands out, as A Few Acres of Snow stood out before it, is by tying every single card to the ongoing struggle on the map. Rome, for instance, is a card, as is every town or city you might come into contact with. Whenever you conquer a location, you gain its card and slip it into your deck, even if it happened to be in your opponent’s hand. Similarly, a particular legion, band of mercenaries, fickle war elephants, a particular general, or even the merchant who can help you sell a bunch of cards into your discard pile for a huge windfall, are also cards. And all of them have a tangible impact on the way you move, attack, disrupt your opponent’s plans, administrate your empire, or earn money.Here’s an example. In one recent game as Carthage, I was totally wrecking it. Rome had gotten off to a slow start, letting me blockade Sicily and spread rapidly from my starting cities, gobbling up two-thirds of the island without even a whiff of resistance. The cards I was picking up, the grape-rich hills of Hippana, Enna, and Camarina, were fueling my economy. My coffers were stuffed, my navy was steadily draining Rome’s treasury, and whenever a scoring round came around I was scooting steadily towards victo[...]

Review: The Dragon & Flagon:: Yer Dragon Is Flaggin’ (a Space-Biff! review)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:44:00 +0000

by The Innocent Yer Dragon Is Flaggin’There’s something about throwing a hefty mug, beverage still sloshing around inside it, at a friend’s head. If you haven’t managed to scratch that one off the old bucket list, I recommend getting to it sooner rather than later. Live a little.In the meantime, The Dragon & Flagon is all about tender moments like these. A bunch of adventurers, rowdy and randy after their latest successful dungeon dive, and all as parched as that heap of desiccated bones they kept tripping over, have decided to trash the tavern they’re supping at. Who can blame them? They just saved the village. Maybe. After knocking a couple back, they can’t quite remember.That might be the story of The Dragon & Flagon, but the real treat lies in seeing it set up, a pristine tavern hall complete with tables, chairs, and rotund barrels and frosty mugs of butterbeer. It looks fantastic. Even better, since your goal is to pummel everyone else in a drunken rage (for honor! for glory!) until the moment the town watch kicks down the door to apprehend everybody for disorderly public conduct, you get to upend the place.It’s a fantastic pitch, and I have yet to witness anybody hear it, see that board with its cute-as-buttons tables and little cardboard rugs, and not rub their hands in anticipation. This is going to be good.Then, as surely as rounding a corner in a supposedly sure-thing dungeon and plowing straight into a Gelatinous Cube’s kindhearted fondle, everything slams to a halt for a bit.Here’s the deal. The Dragon & Flagon is a game where you can pick up those mugs and throw them at your pals. You can roll those barrels until they crumple someone over, or push a table to make your buddy fall flat on his face. You can see its tone right there in the artwork. It’s hilarious. It’s lighthearted.But it is not breezy.Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say you’ve just been handed an opportunity, the kind you just can’t pass up. Your pal Montero is standing on the table, bragging about how far he can urinate, while Sir Goodheart and Nari are slugging each other in the jaw. All three of them are positioned atop the alcohol-soaked rug that the proprietor hasn’t replaced in years, probably because it was a gift from his ex. With a single flourish, you can pull on the rug and send all your friends flopping to the floor. Not only will it make them look stupid and set their heads spinning, you’ll also look like the most heroic fella in the room.First of all, you need to have planned this move one or two turns ago. This is a programmed movement game, meaning that you place cards representing your character’s moves a turn or two before you’ll actually flip them face-up and do what they say. While you never have to lay anything out all that far in advance, every card you put down will still see your opponents making some sort of move before you get a chance to swing at them. For all you know, by the time you lean down to give the carpet a tug Montero might have swung away on a chandelier, while Nari has used her roguish powers to appear behind you, ready to plug her knife between your shoulder blades. Nothing is certain.If you’ve planned your cards right, and if you’re standing in the right spot, and if you’re facing the right direction, and if your target hasn’t ambled off to drunkenly slobber elsewhere — that’s a lot of ifs, for those who haven’t been keeping tally — then you’ll laugh out loud at your success. You’ll bust a gut while you bust heads. In this case, everyone remaining on the carpet is knocked to the floor, is forced to fork over a couple of their reputation tokens, and becomes “d[...]

Review: Control:: We All Need Control (a Space-Biff! review)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:20:25 +0000

by The Innocent We All Need ControlElegance is tough.Think about it. If you want your game to be elegant, it needs to have moving parts, but not so many that it becomes a mess, and what’s there must be well-oiled and purposeful. You’ll need clear winning strategies, but no single strategy that trumps all others. Simplicity, but simplicity with depth.Control, a game ostensibly about time travelers wrestling to escape a rift in spacetime, is elegant. Unfortunately, most people might not reach the point where they can recognize that.The basics of Control couldn’t be much more straightforward. By installing fuel cells in front of you, reach or break 21 points. It’s possible you’ll only need as few as three cards. Certainly four or five will do.The problem is, this is anything but basic. Control might as well have been named Lobster Bucket: The Card Game thanks to all the red-nailed clawing everyone is performing on everyone else’s ankles. Keeping even one good card active in front of you can be an ordeal, let alone summing up enough fuel to get home.See, a series of turns might go something like this. Your opponent has installed a Nova, the highest-value card in the game. Of course you play a lowly Rift to destroy it. They try to reclaim their lost Nova from the discard pile with a Wormhole, which you Time Stop, so they retaliate by using an Anomaly to destroy your Exotic Matter, Rift, and Deflector all in one fell swoop, which triggers your Deflector and lets you either draw a card or make your opponent discard something. This once you decide to draw a card because all this back and forth has been depleting your reserves. Then your opponent plays their last card, an Antimatter, destroying both of the cards in your hand.To say that Control can be frustrating would be an understatement.The reason Control works so well comes down to the way its game state is about so much more than what cards are on the table, or even in your hand. In the example I outlined above, both players have been left with no fuel cells installed and neither is holding anything in their hand. To an onlooker, it might appear that they’ve gone through a factory reset, back to zero.And yet nothing could be further from the truth. From that point on, both players are armed with crucial knowledge of what has been played. If someone draws a Wormhole, every single card in that discard pile could be the next bullet in their chamber, or it might be used as fuel rather than for its ability, catching you off guard because you didn’t think anybody would sacrifice such a useful card. When all the Novas have disappeared from the deck, Future Shift will never have the possibility of revealing another. Then again, it just might provide the second or — heaven help your opponent — even third Exotic Matter you need to create a chain of cards that could leap you forward to victory when your opponent, also operating under the assumption that all the Novas are cold and dead, is least expecting it.The result is a game that fires on two levels. There’s the one you’re playing, cards on the table and players defusing or trumping those cards. Then there’s the one you’re trying to play in your opponent’s head, trying to work the angles they can’t quite see, wondering what on earth that last card they’re holding might be.Five minutes later, the game is over. Control only ever lasts a few minutes; it has to if it’s going to be played four or five or six times in a single sitting. Which is precisely how Control is meant to be played: fast, hard, and multiple times, with the winner being awarded one of its little brass tokens and then ganged up[...]

Review: Tyrants of the Underdark:: Lords of Underdeep (a Space-Biff! review)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:05:38 +0000

by The Innocent Lords of UnderdeepLords of Waterdeep was pretty great, wasn’t it? Designed from the ground up to hit that sweet spot that would appeal to both newcomers to the worker placement genre and cardboard veterans alike, it saw widespread success for good reason. Anyone who said they didn’t like it was almost assuredly a walking diaper. A used walking diaper.Tyrants of the Underdark is looking to replicate that success. It’s even set in the same place, at least broadly — Skullport, the shady locale from the Lords of Waterdeep expansion, registers as a tiny blip in Underdark’s sprawling, uh, Underdark. This time, however, the target is deck-building games. And not just any deck-building game, but the chimera sort that splits your time between shuffling your cards and waging war on a map.I’m an ignoramus maximus when it comes to Dungeons & Dragons. So when I tell you that in Tyrants of the Underdark you’re the head of a household of Drow — that’s Dark Elves if you’re racist and don’t know the acceptable nomenclature — and that you want to scheme, connive, and plot in order to take control of the Underdark, you can rest easy that you now know everything I know. Yes, “scheme,” “connive,” and “plot” mean very different things, at least if you’re Drow. Keep up.There are a lot of ways to go about this. Too many, really, making the game’s scoring sheets look a little silly, especially since Tyrants so desperately craves broad appeal. Thankfully, it winds up being relatively simple in practice: recruit powerful dudes and monsters to your cause and then conquer as many important sites as possible.Let’s break that into halves, starting with the powerful dudes and monsters bit. See, like most deck-building games, you start out with a few basic cards, just a handful of soldiers and nobles, and as you play you’ll spend influence to add better and brighter hirelings to your deck. These come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, though usually with sharp ends like swords or teeth. So while you start with a few paltry dudes hitting the table each turn, by the end of the game you’re using Myconids (mushroom people, I guess?) to gum up your opponent’s deck with worthless refugees, using a giant Orcus to resurrect your fallen soldiers, and hammering the board with dragons.Even better, Underdark takes a page from another innovative deck-building game, Valley of the Kings, by letting you “promote” cards to your household’s inner circle. This removes them from your deck permanently, but means they’ll be worth more points at the end of the game. Every chance to promote a card now represents a tricky choice. Should you promote a wimpy card to winnow your deck and ensure you don’t draw it again, or promote something huge — say, a Demogorgon — for a fat stack of points?Of course, nothing in your deck stands on its own, and that’s where the map of the Underdark comes in. While you’re collecting and promoting cards, there’s a war on, represented by little banners that gradually spread across the map and lock down various sites of unpronounceable heritage, like Ss’zuraass’nee or Buiyrandyn or Araumycos, which my group always refers to as “that three-point place.” The point is, many cards directly impact the progress of this war, whether by providing power, the game’s second resource, to let you recruit guys or assassinate enemies, or permitting even more outlandish actions. My personal favorite is subversion, which lets you replace an enemy piece with your own banner.At first glance, this war can feel a little tit for tat. You kill off a [...]

Review: The Dragon & Flagon:: Creaking Shelves' First Impressions of The Dragon & Flagon

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:05:34 +0000

by Creaking shelves These first impressions are based on a shortened demo of the game at Essen.Welcome, traveller, to the Dragon and Flagon, the finest establishment in all of arbitrary fantasy land. Why don’t I get you a mead?Do I see your eyes drawn to the woman dressed all in purple? Well, I can’t blame you, she’s certainly quite the looker. But try anything on with her and you’ll be in a world of hurt! Don’t believe me? Oh-ho neither did the last lot, and I’m fairly sure that poor boy had to get the mug surgically removed… Anyhow, you see, that’s not any lady, no, that there is Matt-ilda the Magnificent! You know if your eyebrows go any higher they’ll get lost in your hair. She earned that title during a particularly epic brawl that kicked off one night during the annual board games festival here in arbitrary fantasy city. You see, we had only a single flagon of our famous Dragon ale left and 7 thirsty adventurers seeking it. A fight was inevitable!Of course, in all the chaos no one actually made it to the flagon, but the cause of a bar fight is never the determining factor of the winner. No! It’s all about who most clearly astounds the patrons and whose actions live on in memory! Though as I’m sure you’ll know, that’s often not as easy as it sounds. You need to be planning your actions at least a couple of turns ahead, and your big hits almost always take more time to perform, letting the others get the better of you while you recover. Not that you ever know for sure what they are planning. Expect to see more than a few chairs and mugs being flung into the space someone just left.But each of those failures only makes the successes sweeter and more memorable! In Mattilda’s case, barely before the fight had started she had leapt upon the nearest table to boast how she was going give everyone a good thrashing. At that point I think someone threw a mug at her head but her actions that followed completely made up for that little embarrassment. Even being dazed means you’ll only need to plan an extra turn in advance (3 instead of the normal 2), and has no other impact on your actions. It’s a both an appropriate punishment, but not as debilitating as in other programmed movement games where a single error screws up the rest of your turn. Which is good, as it allowed Mattilda to quite literally swing into action, using the ceiling lights to propel herself at full force into the pirate. He went down hard to a roar of laughter from the onlookers and Mattilda took a great handful of his fame points.Meanwhile, spells were unleashed, tables were shoved into one another or outright flipped in endless little cinematic moments helped no end by the crazy good scenery components in the game – I mean, that we had installed here, in our pub. Yes.Just reliving the fight has me all excited for the next brawl. Maybe I’ll announce that we’re out of Dragon again… Anyway enough of my blabbing. Make yourself comfortable, I think you’ll enjoy yourself here.If you have enjoyed this review, you can read more of my reviews and other board game articles over on my blog, [...]

Review: Emergence:: Emergence: it's all about the knowledge tokens!

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:32:05 +0000

by aaj94 Meet Emergence. Sometime in the distant future, the computers we've surrounded ourselves with achieve sentience, and rise up against their former masters. It is in the aftermath of this that our game takes place: robot overlords, and a few determined humans. Both teams are racing to discover knowledge about the other side, and the first team to compile enough knowledge will almost certainly win the ongoing war. Rules SummaryThe game starts by dealing everyone a team card: human or AI. Then the humans will identify themselves to each other silently. Both the Human and AI teams are trying to move around the board, collect data cubes, and compile them into knowledge tokens. Each turn, you will move and take one action. On your turn, you will be doing actions on your player board, which contains six different available actions: Activate, Boost, Replenish, Hack, Spy, and Terminate. You will mark your chosen action simultaneously with everyone else by placing an augmentation marker over the action you chose. I appreciate the extra challenge of having a double-sided augmentation token: you cannot move onto an occupied hex unless you have chosen the same augmentation color as your opponent! This is fiddly to explain but quick to play. The only confusion I've encountered is that you do not need to match the color of the tile you're moving on to, but the color of any players who may be on that tile.You will acquire data cubes by moving around the board and picking them up from various locations. Everyone needs data cubes to get knowledge -- and the more different types you have, the better, as the compiling tiles reward you for having a variety of cubes. But AIs, take note! The humans can win by emptying the board of data cubes, so an important part of your job will be to replenish the cubes as you move about. Once you have a set of cubes, you can take them to a compilation tile to convert them into knowledge tokens.Knowledge tokens are the currency of the game: you can use them to exploit your opponents, and of course, to vote with. This is the core of the game: voting knowledge tokens for your team. Each team is trying to get to a specific number of tokens on the scoreboard: the humans need between 10-20, the AI need between 20 and 40 (depending on the number of players). When someone activates an assimilation tile, everyone passes around the voting box and secretly drops their knowledge tokens into the human or AI slot. Blue and green tiles are places to collect data cubes. White tiles are compiling tiles where you convert sets of data cubes into knowledge tokens. Grey tiles are voting tiles: when activated, the voting box is passed around and every player drops as many knowledge tokens as they want into their chosen side. ImpressionsEmergence plays very quickly and easily and the simultaneous action selection is very intuitive and quick to play after explaining. Though it seems to be a chunky ruleset, the actual game is dead-simple to play, which I appreciate. I also wouldn't worry about the game getting stale quickly. In a few plays we're still grasping the best strategies to take, and once we've mastered that, there's always new maps and different tiles to mix in. I think the basic game system is sound, and I don't feel a need for any fancy expansions to fix the game. I'd be happy to play it as-is for dozens of plays, though I'll update the review if that impression changes One of my favorite bits of this game is the modular board. This means that we can always try different layouts (maybe a board where there's only a single com[...]

Review: Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls:: First few turns of the Labyrinth: Dungeon Solitaire

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:32:01 +0000

by Carthoris Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls is the book-length successor to author Matthew Lowes' previous game design Tomb of the Four Kings (available for free on his website). The original game was playable with a standard pack of playing cards, and it is preserved nearly unchanged as the "basic game" of the "Labyrinth of Souls." The new game, however, calls for a tarot deck, and the author has collaborated with illustrator Josephe Vandel to create a new deck for it, which includes 10 "extra arcana" or additional trumps.The rules supplied in Labyrinth of Souls include the basic game (uses 53 cards--a standard playing card deck with a single joker), the expert game (uses 78 cards--a standard tarot deck), the advanced game (uses the 88-card custom deck OR a standard tarot deck plus a ten-sided die), and eight official variants of the advanced game. One of these variants ("Cartomancy") can be used for divination, and the supplementary "Arcana" and "References" sections provide some useful pointers regarding divinatory meanings for the cards.I had played Tomb of the Four Kings a fair amount before acquiring this book, and found it to be a quick and fairly difficult solitaire game with a strong narrative element. The expert mode in Labyrinth of Souls expands the game elegantly by adding companions (the tarot Page cards), mazes (a new encounter type), blessings, corruptions, and several new magic items. It took me three dozen plays to get to a win, i.e. escape with all three "heavenly jewels" needed for victory in the expert game. In the meanwhile though, I had lesser successes in gaining treasure and rescuing companions. The advanced game adds two new ways to lose: provisions that can be exhausted (in the same way that a player can run out of torches in the basic or expert game) and a couple of boss monsters, the lich and the dragon. These latter are very daunting, but I beat the lich in my first two plays in the advanced format. The rules for the various modes of the game are all written quite clearly. The basic game includes a very detailed example of play that was not part of the Tomb of the Four Kings rules, and goes a long way toward eliminating any ambiguities in the rules. It gives the reader a very clear idea of game play. An assortment of reference tables and blank recording forms are present for copying and play convenience.All of the trumps and court cards of the Lowes/Vandel Labyrinth of Souls deck are reproduced at or near full size in black and white throughout the book and especially in the "Arcana" section of the text. These seem to constitute a pretty passable deck, and the designs of the "extra arcana" are certainly interesting, but they just don't "grab" me aesthetically or symbolically. I have not handled a production copy of the Lowes/Vandel deck itself, and I'm unlikely to acquire one. I do like and recommend the rule book and the game, and I would be interested to see other artists' realizations of the "extra arcana" invented by Lowes.I have been using the Luis Royo "Dark Tarot" to play the Labyrinth game, and I'm liking it a lot for that purpose. Here are some examples from a game in progress and a completed game: [...]

Review: Citadels:: For the Meeple, by the Meeple (Review of Citadels)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:05:40 +0000

by MariettaTennis BOX ARTThe age-old classic that offers role selection in it's purest form.QUICK FACTS:Style of Game: Family, StrategyPlay Time: 20 to 60 minutes (60 minutes is generous at higher player counts)Theme: Medieval City Building Number of Players: 2-8 (2 player alters rules)Main Mechanics: Card Drafting, Set Collection, Variable Phase Order, Variable Player PowersComponents: OkayWeight: Low end of medium weight THEME AND MECHANISMS: - When I think of this question for Citadels I kind of think of a game that wasn't trying to build mechanisms around a theme, as much as I think of a game that threw a theme onto a set of mechanisms.- When this is the case it doesn't always mean the game works against the theme and that's probably not the case for Citadels, but you don't get immersed in the theme. - This game boils down the theme and atmosphere at the table to a pure mechanical experience which then often creates more of a tense race that could be named "2 Step Forward, 1 Step Back" because your progression is seldom safe and your progression, and only your progression, is the only end game trigger. GAMEPLAY OVERVIEW (In five sentences or less):Players take on a multitude of different roles (one at a time in most player counts) in an attempt to build their medieval city. Each round of the game will offer players an opportunity to secretly secure the special ability of one of the 9 roles/characters. Over the course of several rounds players will be attempting to build 8 buildings in their city by spending gold they have obtained for various things on previous ruonds. While the 8th building constructed by the first player triggers the end of the game, all players will have an opportunity to build 8 buildings by the end of that round. Once a player or players have constructed 8 buildings the players will total up points that are earned through multiple scoring opportunities.Rules Clarification:- Ways to score: points on buildings, having at least one of each color of the buildings, constructing 8 buildings 1st provides more than constructing 8 buildings 2nd, 3rd or so on.ASSESSMENTMy assessment of board games is broken into three core areas: Depth of Strategy, Replayability, and Quality of Design. Depth of Strategy Citadels offers both tactics and strategy and draws a very crisp black line down the middle of the game and says be strategical here and tactical there. Then with one smooth integration of the characters roles the two are encouraged, but not forced, to work together to be as efficient and effective as possible in the race to 8. The strategical portion of the game lies in the blueprints of your city. There are two visible routes to take when constructing buildings at first glance. You can focus primarily on getting to 8 first which will often allow you to buy multiple colors of buildings but will not be the primary focus (thus, impacting the possibility of gaining a few bonus points for having all five colors in your city) or you may spend your turns trying to get all five colors as quickly as possible and then filling in the final spots with anything you can afford. What I have noticed is that this mirage of two different routes muddies up the otherwise clear waters that is the objective of Citadels. I often see players spend a lot of precious time trying to get 5 colors of buildings and finish the turn with 5 or 6 buildings... each of different colors... for an astounding 3 bonus points. This time and effort spent on having the resources ready to fill out the rainb[...]

Review: Clank!:: A Clank! Review: Do I realy need another deckbuilder?

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:05:27 +0000

by RhiaHawk As a little background on me, I am relatively new to the hobby (with a measly 139 games, formerly 133 before this past Saturday...), but I tend to like a variety of games, euros, ameritrash, light games, and I am definitely starting to really enjoy and crave heavier games. On to the review! I am not going to step through the rules because frankly you can find those elsewhere. I may cover a couple bits simply because I want to talk about what I like, but that is all. A few months ago I started trying to discover what this deck building nonsense is all about, and therefore I now own Star Realms, Ascension, and recently the Legendary Alien game, which I've yet to play. I like the mechanic well enough, but was not a fan of Dominion when I played it, and after having the deckbuilders I do, I didn't think I really needed any more. It seems to be a mechanic that often lends itself to feeling like most new games are just the same damn thing in a new skin. Because of this, I didn't really give Clank! much of a second glance at my first game convention this past weekend, until I saw nearly every person there with a copy in their hands. This prompted me to sit down and play through a demo, and I was very pleasantly surprised - I loved it! I immediately bought a copy after playing, and losing horrifically at that. My husband and I had so much fun playing it, and it felt very different than my other deck builders, and I attribute this to two main things about this game; the board, and the clank.This game involves a board and a knight meeple (kneeple?)for each player, which you move around the board, exploring the dragon's cave and getting different types of loot. However, your ability to move around in this dungeon/cave is completely dependent on your cards. One of the types of currency on the cards are boots, which allow you to move around. There are also swords, buying power, and very rarely gold. The swords help you battle goblins or other badies, as well as move along certain paths in the cave. Gold will allow you to buy certain items, as well as count for VP at the end of the game. What impressed me so much about this was that your card choices felt very important, and they were integral to your success in the game. As I learned, if you don't get enough cards with boots, it makes the end game and the middle game exceedingly difficult, to the point where I ended up with zero points! I'll get into that a little later. The cards didn't feel tacked on to a dungeon crawler, and the dungeon crawling didn't feel tacked on to a deck builder, which I think is probably harder to do than this game makes it seem. There is also a Clank mechanic that I thought was thematic and very interesting, and added significantly to the tension. Players generate clank by stumbling, which is a card in your starting deck that is very hard to get rid of, and by other cards you may buy or by affects of cards other people play. When you generate clank, you are being loud in the caves and the dragon gets angry, which you represent by adding one of your colored player cubes into a pool area on the board. Then when certain cards come out of the deck and get put in the buying row, they trigger the dragon's anger, and it attacks. This is done by putting all the clank cubes into a bag and drawing out anywhere from 2-5 of them, depending on where you're at in the game. In the bag are all the cubes from all previous rounds of clank collection, so as the game goes[...]

Review: The Grizzled: At Your Orders!:: Essential expansion to an already great game

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:04:55 +0000

by Dismas

It is April 4, 1916, and the war is still waging. Each day brings new difficulties and new hardships. However, you and your band of friends are still persevering. There seems to be something occurring that is different than the past two years. The higher ups keep sending you on missions, some more challenging than others. This is The Grizzled: At Your Orders. The Grizzled: At Your Orders is the much anticipated expansion to The Grizzled. It is designed for 3-5 players (with 1 and 2-player variants), ages 14+. It retails for $14.99 and takes approximately 30 minutes to play. Normally, I would tell you how to set up the game and the game play, but you can read about that in my previous review. Instead, I am just going to tell you about what's changed and what I think of the changes.

What's New in the Expansion
The first thing I noticed in the box was cardboard cutouts of every character. I like this, because it adds more theme and makes you feel like an actual soldier and not just a card. It also serves to remind your fellow soldiers when you are in a mission and when you are out.

The biggest changes are the Missions cards. There are 40 Missions cards in the box. (13 easy, 13, medium, 13 hard, and 1 Final Assault/Last Stand) Before the game, you decide your difficulty level and seed the Missions deck. The active player then draws two Missions cards, picks one, and puts the other back on the top of the deck. These cards tell you how many Trials cards each player gets, a bonus or a penalty for this mission, and how to get rid of the Mission card. I really like these Missions, because it gives you ways to tone down or amp up the difficulty. The Final Assault/Last Stand card really drips with theme, as its an optional final turn to end it all. You either win, lose, or win but die in the process.

Other nice, little changes in the game are as follows:
1. Speeches don't go away once used.
2. Support tokens always give you your Good Luck Charm back and can remove Hard Knocks.
3. The first player may perform a Strategic Withdrawal which lets him take one card from his hand and put it on top of the Trials pile.

Apart from a few things in the rule book that could have been clearer, I am finding very little to complain about with this expansion. It adds new mechanics and a little more immersive theme. There's also just enough tweaks to the rules to make a very good game even better. Lastly, you can fit both of them into one box, so you don't have to carry around both boxes. I can't imagine teaching or playing The Grizzled without this expansion.

Review: The Gnomes of Zavandor:: [Review]A Jaunty Income Snowball Market Game

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:44:52 +0000

by Osirus OVERVIEWGnomes of Zavandor is a combination of a snowball income economic engine-builder, and a market trading game. Basically, you are a gnome buying and selling gems, in order to swap those gems for treasures and mining rights to get more income.COMPONENTS IN BRIEFChipboard: Small board, thick mining rights tiles, money, area gnome, preposterous over-sized first player marker, gem price tracker. Also, cards for gems, treasures, and artifacts.GAMEPLAY IN BRIEFPlayers start with some money, and each player gets 3 actions per turn. An action is:*Buying up to 4 of the same gem for market price (raises price at end of round)*Selling up to 4 of the same gem for market price (lowers price at end of round)*Take a gem trader (returning any previously taken trader)*Use a gem trader up to twice (trading one gem for another of the specified type)*Buy a mining rights tile on the current area by paying appropriate gems (raises gem prices at end of round).*Buy an available artifact (infrastructure) or treasure (VP) card by paying appropriate gems (raises gem prices at end of round)*Take 4 dollarsAfter all players have taken 3 actions, check and see if someone has enough VP to win. If so, they win. Otherwise, the game continues. If any mining rights tiles were bought, the gnome moves to the next area. Then income is awarded for mining rights tiles, 1 gem for the first tile of each type, 2 gems for each additional tile of that type. (this lowers gem prices.) GOOD POINTS*Somewhat amusing theme. While I wouldn't call the game "heavily thematic" by any means (it is basically an economic game), the whole theme of gnomish accountants with odd gnomish contraptions is pretty charming. Much as my reaction to the preposterously large first-player marker was "WHY?!?", it's also pretty funny. And the artifact cards are all drawn up to look like bizarre inventions that feel properly gnomish. There's something enjoyable about it.*Various ways to go about your acquisitions. Your first gems should probably be spent on something to boost your income, but that might be mining tiles to increase gem income, or artifacts to boost your cash income, offer gem discounts, or even grant extra actions each round. Also, the first few Treasure cards are worth the most points, so players must choose between grabbing them early for the big score, or focusing on building up a better income engine first, while risking that someone else will take the best jewels.*Market manipulations are interesting. Gems start relatively inexpensive, rising when people buy and especially spend them, and then falling when people sell and especially produce them. This not only provides some opportunities to take advantage of the market, but also gives the game a nice feel of an arc -- gems start low, rise high, and by the time the market bottoms out the game is probably ending. Which is another good point:*Game ends when the gems flow. Although the end of the game is determined by a Victory Point goal, rather than a set number of rounds, it is pretty much the case that as soon as incomes become ridiculous and a player has tons of gems coming in, the game is about to end. This is handy because it's not the case that one player has infinite income and the other players have to sit through a lost game for many rounds. If someone is getting many gems, the gems will also be cheaper for other players. And more importantly, a big income quickly is translated into[...]

Review: Terraforming Mars:: An erstwhile astronomer's review of Terraforming Mars

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:19:52 +0000

by Prodromoi Whenever I’ve done a review in the past it’s tended to be quite a while after the release of any given game, however I’ve an urge to break with tradition on this one. Let's jump on the bandwagon...I read about the upcoming release of Terraforming Mars about six months or so ago, and after reading more about it, it became one of those rare things for me; a game that I wanted to buy without seeing it ‘in the flesh’ or trying it out first. The theme, the concept and the amount of research into the science behind the theory of terraforming sold me on it. In my youth, I was a very keen and active astronomer, and although I’m nowhere near as active now it’s a field that I still am fascinated by and keep moderately up to date with. So when I learned about this and read the early releases of the rules; a game that was about terraforming that clearly had a lot of thought put into the theme to try to accurately incorporate the theoretical science of terraforming, it’s no wonder that I was excited to see it.So, the big question: What’s it like?Well, it’s like Surburbia. But on Mars. With science, and with asteroids sometimes dropping out of the sky.OK, that’s the glib answer, but still useful enough that it’s how I explain it to friends to give them a bit of an initial feel for it. Of course, it does a lot of things different from Suburbia, but I do feel that little undercurrent of similarity throughout the game. At its heart, Terraforming Mars is an engine-building game where you (representing a big corporation) are taking part in the long process of terraforming Mars, with your aim to have made the biggest contributions to the cause by the time that the thresholds for viable human habitation have been reached (and thus getting the biggest slice of that lucrative Martian pie!). In the basic (i.e. beginner’s) game all corporations are identical, but in the extended game each player chooses (from two randomly dealt) their unique corporation, each with different starting stats and a specific ability. The game ends when all three global parameters have reached the top of their scales (surface temperature, ocean coverage and atmospheric oxygen); increasing any of these grants VPs to the player that did so, and sometimes other bonuses, as well as pushing the game clock forward.The resources that you have to juggle are, of course, very pertinent to the theme; cash income (M€ in this game), steel and titanium production, plant life, energy and heat. Each player has their own player board on which is recorded their stocks of these resources and their production levels. Each generation (terraforming is a slow process, each round is a generation) each player takes their actions to play cards, place tiles on the map or take other actions. Interestingly, unlike most other games of this time, the number of actions one can take is not arbitrarily limited; play passes around the table with each player taking one or two actions (their choice), going around until everyone has decided to pass (often as they’ve used up all their available cash or resources or playable cards).The tiles on the map represent bodies of water (their locations restricted, accurately, to the lowest lying areas of the Martian surface), greenery tiles, city tiles and some special tiles that result from specific cards being played.There’s a big deck of cards in this game, and[...]

Review: Armageddon:: Demo play at Essen

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:45:08 +0000

by hob69 It's very quiet here, so I'll chime in.I played this at Essen with two other people, demo-ed by a Queen Games helper. Demo games were restricted to three turns, which ends the action just before the first scoring round, but it's enough to get a sense of the game. I bought it afterwards, though it hasn't been to table yet for a full session.Like any Queen Games production, it is designed to look nice and play pretty quickly in a Euro mould. It's handsome (though it also sets out to be designer-ugly with the theme as it is) and chunky with sturdy components. The action tokens are meant to look like chap on the cover with the mask on, but actually look like Pac-Man ghosts, but if you can get over that joke and get past making Pac-Man hands to chase them, you'll be fine. The rest is chunky cardboard, coloured meeples, and decent cards. All good quality, as you'd expect. The theme is building your settlement in a post-apocalyptic setting: gathering resources, defending against raiders, and building more and better resource buildings and defences. But we are in Euro territory here, so no Defenders of the Last Stand combat or Post Human encounter cards. It's a worker placement version that emphasises good choices and some flexibility in planning. Your workers come in different varieties with different 'strengths' (thematically) like soldiers, who are good at fighting raiders, engineers who are good at repairs, etc, but in essence it is about their 'trade in' value (making them more like currency than workers per se) to pay for the things you need to do a you assign them to tasks. You need to bid each round for the right to take actions first, though, and you also spend workers to do that, so some flexibility in your plan is good. In each of the categories of action, there are bonuses for top bidder and punishment for lowest, which means that you will get hosed by something each round. Yes, this makes it a dry rendering of the theme, but that's not to say it's not thematic. You certainly feel under pressure from raiders all the time, and spending time on repairs is vital and costly, particularly before you get better defences and more soldiers to actually use them. In our game, the raiders seemed overwhelmingly powerful, but we had really only just got going, and our little settlements weren't well set up yet. One fun element is that when you draw maples from the bag to place on resources that you scavenge from the wasteland each round, some are actually raiders, meaning you have to take them into your pool with the useful people, kind of like one has followed you home and broken through the lines. You then have to add them to your raider level for the round and deal with that by taking more damage. Sometimes taking extra raider trouble is worth it to snag the resource you need, particularly if you're chasing your personal goal (which will be something like having a certain number of key resources at game end, or having 'built' certain structures or vehicles (having cards)). Yes. Dry euro, as I said, but I went with it and it worked for me.As I said, this was a demo play, but I came away wanting to play the game again, and I picked up a copy. My impressions are of another well-rendered Euro game from Queen, so if you like their style, you'll likely enjoy this one. It's not as light as Escape, but not as heavy as Lancaster (relatively speaking, guy[...]

Review: King's Forge:: King's Forge - A Detailed Review

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 12:41:30 +0000

by Neil Thomson Image Courtesy of W Eric MartinThis review continues my series of detailed reviews that attempt to be part review, part resource for anyone not totally familiar with the game. For this reason I expect readers to skip to the sections that are of most interest.If you liked the review please thumb the top of the article so others have a better chance of seeing it and I know you stopped by. Thanks for reading.SummaryGame Type - Dice GamePlay Time: 30-70 minutes Number of Players: 2-4 Mechanics - Dice Rolling, Dice Pool BuildingDifficulty - Pick-up & Play (Can be learned in 10 minutes)Components - Very GoodRelease - 2013Designer - Nick Sibicky - (Debut Game)Overview and ThemeA Royal Decree has been nailed to all the posts in the village. The King has beheaded his last forgesman due to poor taste in jokes and the position is open for an up and coming smelter-er-man. That's where you come in! Prove yourself the best subject in an iron apron and get the job, it's that simple. Theme aside King's Forge is a light dice-rolling game where the players need to manage their dice pool in such a way that they can craft objects of ever increasing complexity and beauty to catch the eye of the King. Be the first player to forge as many items as he desires and you get the gig...for now. King's Forge was Kickstarted back in 2013 and is the designer's debut title. The game has found a niche though and this has allowed Nick to develop and release several expansions for the game already. Dice rollers are right up my alley, add in some dice pool management and this should be a winner for me. But having said that, I can be critical on games in this genre too as the competition is plentiful. Stoke that fire naive and pass me that not the booby one. that's for er...other situations. It's time to get a forgin'! [microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662][microbadge=35662]The ComponentsThe component quality for King's Forge is a mixed bag, with some highlights and some unfortunate decisions. Then there is the just plain bizarre. Clearly the game was designed to not have a board, so the docks were represented by card-sized templates. But these are made completely redundant by the inclusion of a board, where the docks are printed. All of the cards can easily be placed on a table in various positions to simulate the game. What is really weird is that despite including a board (which I assume was a kickstarter stretch goal) the dock cards are still included and the rulebook still refers to placing cards on the table at various positions when this is now clearly redundant. Somewhere quality control failed. Anyhoo...let's look at the bits in more detail. Board - As mentioned already, the game comes with a board which represents a classic fantasy village. Its main purpose is to show various card silhouettes to help organise the game and Dock locations are also printed at the bottom. It's nice enough but quite large for a game of this nature. The artwork is serviceable but nothing outstanding, which is a theme throughout the production. Image Courtesy of Alice87 Dice - The dice are the shining glory of the components, which I appreciate given that this is a dice game. Each dice[...]

Review: 7 Wonders: Duel – Pantheon:: 7 Wonders: Duel – Pantheon - Pay heed to the Gods! Pay, I say! - down to the basics review

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:55:42 +0000

by tiagoVIP About 7 Wonders: Duel – Pantheon:1) What is it?7 Wonders: Duel – Pantheon is an expansion for 7 Wonders: Duel and it adds, well, pantheons of Gods, each with its own unique ability.All the expansion revolves around this: from an additional board, tokens, God cards, to temples, in the third Age.The resolution can be quick, but it adds, as Leaders did for 7 Wonders, another layer, more decisions, a different timming to the whole thing: which can sit well with some and not so great with others, specially those that don't think the base game could do with lasting more.Overall, 7 Wonders: Duel – Pantheon doesn't bring a lot of overhead, and while it sure brings more symbols, extra duration and pushes out the Guilds, it changes the pacing of the game enough to justify its addition, for players looking to add a new topping, but keeping the same flavor.2) How do you play?All the base rules are in place. However, once the set up of the first Age is done, five mythology tokens, taking at random from a pool of them, are put above certain cards. The player that take a card with a token, takes 2 of the 3 Gods of the pantheon showing in the token and picks one to add to the Pantheon board.The Pantheon board have six spots on it: three benefit one player and three, the other, as they make the price to use the God cheaper or costlier, in the following manner: 3/8, 4/7, 5/6, 6/5, 7/4 and 8/3 - meaning, say, if you are on the left and wishes to use the fifth spot, you will pay 7 money to the bank, while you opponent would pay only 4 to take the same God.This means that picking a God can have two uses: put one that interest you on your corner, or adding a so-so (at least to path you think your opponent might go) to you opponent's side. And, of course, knowing what will come have its value.With five tokens and six spaces in the Pantheon, one spot will be empty at the end of the first Age. This spot will receive the Door card, which makes the value of its place double, but allows the person that uses it to turn up the first God in each pantheon and take one of them for free. Powerful stuff.In the second Age it will become possible to do an extra action in your turn: take a God. You simply pay the amount required and immediately uses the ability of the God, or keeps it for later (those that score points). This doesn't use a card, and is what changes the pacing and flow of the game the most, since, until now, all the actions ended up using a card, be to keep, to bury in a wonder or to discard. Now there is an action that keeps the cards as they were.Also in the second Age some tokens will be put, again above some cards, and when you take the card with the token, you gain the token. These give a one time discount when taking a God.Finally, in the third Age, instead of Guilds you add three Grand Temples to the deck. These Grand Temples have different backs and, even when hidden, you will know where they are. The Grand Temples can either be build in the normal way, or chaining with a token taken in the first Age. Temples give more points the more you control: 5, 12 or 21.The expansion also brings more Science tokens and two new Wonders - connected with the theme and additions of the expansion.3) Which are the decisions made during play?Two main ones:- Which God to pick when choosing and, afterward, whe[...]

Review: Bowling Solitaire:: Ender's Comprehensive Pictorial Overview: A clever and thematic gem from genius Sid Sackson

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:47:20 +0000

by EndersGame Introducing Bowling SolitaireSid Sackson was a game designing genius. Admittedly, he is no longer with us today, having died many years ago already, but he left a legacy of fantastic games that continue to show that he was ahead of his time. As a result, he continues to be highly regarded for his contributions to modern gaming. If you've never played any of his titles before, your credentials as a gamer are incomplete. Certainly this title, Sid Sackson's Bowling Solitaire, is one place you could start, and you can even give this a shot on your own, with a deck of standard playing cards. Sid Sackson originally designed this game to be played with two suits of cards numbered from 1 to 10, so you can certainly play with cards taken from a regular deck, which is how Sackson originally designed the game to be played. But with this particular edition, Eagle Gryphon Games has done a fine job of bringing this relatively unknown game to a wider audience, with a lovely edition that does justice to the theme, and also includes a printed copy of the rules, and a handy scorepad. It is included as a Bonus game with Elevenses for One (see my review), as part of their EGG series, so you get two solitaire games for the price of one. In this review, I'll be showing this fine new edition, but you can certainly play this with a deck of regular cards you might have handy. Let's go take a look!ComponentsAs mentioned already, this game is included in Elevenses for One, also a solitaire game. Components for Bowling Solitaire are as follows:● 20 cards (two each of cards numbered 0 to 9)● scorepad● rulebook (downloadable here)Game-playSet-upScoring works just like standard ten pin bowling, which I won't explain here - I'll just explain how a frame is played out. At the start of each of the ten frames that make up a full game, you shuffle all 20 cards, and set them up with ten cards randomly placed face-up in the same pattern as the pins are arranged for a normal game of ten pin bowling, while there are three piles of face-down cards (five, three, and two cards each) representing your bowling balls.Flow of playYou flip up all three ball cards, and choose one to "bowl" at the ten face-up pins. You can remove a single pin card if it matches the number on the ball card, or two to three adjacent pin cards that add up to the number of the ball card (just consider the last digit of their total). There are a few special restrictions that I won't describe in detail here (e.g. you can't use the very first ball card played to knock over any pins in the back row; pins knocked over must be adjacent), but that is the gist of it. All the ball cards must have a face-up card on top, so you can keep doing this multiple times. If you manage to get rid of all ten pins this way, you have achieved a strike, i.e. all ten knocked over with just one ball! Otherwise you can roll a second ball by discarding the top card from all the ball piles and playing with the new top cards on each, again trying to knock over as many of the remaining pins as you can. The total number of pins knocked over with those two balls represents your score for that frame, with strikes/spares earning bonus points just as in regular ten pin balling. At the end of a frame, you reshuffle all 20 cards and repeat [...]

Review: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game:: Good for families? - The Board Game Family review

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:24:58 +0000

by TheBoardGameFamily Dead of Winter got a lot of buzz when it was first published a couple years ago. But because we're not zombie fans, I brushed it aside.However, when I heard from others that it’s not like typical zombie games, I was intrigued and continued to wonder about it ever since.So earlier this year I got a copy in a SaltCon game trade and am so glad I did. Because Dead of Winter is a blast!Dead of WinterDead of Winter is a cooperative board game where players are a group of survivors trying to last through the winter after a zombie apocalypse.Like most cooperative board games, players are trying to complete a common objective. However, even though everyone is working together to complete a main objective, players also have their own secret objectives to complete. Only players who complete their secret objective will win.Players also have to be careful because within the group may be a Betrayer working against the colony!Will you be able to survive the Dead of Winter?Since the game has been out for a couple years, rather than explain how to play, I'm going to jump right to the 13 Reasons I Love Dead of Winter. Then I'll cover our thought on if it's a good family fit. 13 Reasons why I love playing Dead of Winter1. Immersed in the GameAs you can see, there’s plenty going on in Dead of Winter. But once players get started, it’s easy to get immersed in the experience and lose track of time.I was naturally curious about Dead of Winter when it first came out because I really enjoy playing cooperative board games. But since I’m not a fan of zombie-themed anything, I was turned off by it.Yet, I’d hear that it’s a zombie game that doesn’t really feel like a zombie game. So I figured I’d give it a try. Come to find out, I’ve had a blast.It’s not that I’ve become a zombie fan at all. I'm still turned off by zombie movies, TV shows, books and games.Dead of Winter just feels different.2. Variety of ObjectivesWith 20 different Main Objectives, there’s tons of replay value in Dead of Winter. Players can either choose one they want or select them randomly.The Main Objective cards even indicate the length of the scenario at the bottom of the card – Short, Medium, or Long.The objectives all drive the game in unique ways. In some cases you may need to survive a certain number of rounds. While in others you may need to collect different items or kill a certain number of zombies.In addition, each objective lists a different way for setting up the game. So every time you play, you’ll start out differently and try to accomplish different things.3. Personal Secret Objectives and Potential BetrayerSo much of the game experience revolves around secret objectives. Not knowing what other players are trying to do creates a fair amount of tension.It’s most likely they’re trying to complete the main objective just like you. However, one of them could be a Betrayer. You just don’t know!Since some secret objectives have players hoarding cards, they may look suspicious. On the other hand they may just be doing it to complete their secret objective and still be on your side.Likewise, if your secret objective is to collect Food cards, you may look quite suspicious when you don’t use those cards to help feed the survivors in the [...]

Review: The Bloody Inn:: One Board Family Review: The Bloody Inn

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:26:10 +0000

by RGutowski The sun has set and another 8 travelers have come to the Inn looking to rest for the night. As the guests sleep in their rooms, you and the other innkeepers are plotting their demise. Will you pay the local law enforcement to work for you? Will you murder the local newsboy for some quick cash? Or maybe you have bigger plans so you pay the mechanic to build a new annex to bury bodies.In The Bloody Inn, players have to devise a plan to kill and take the money of travelers in France in 1831. The game can get pretty cutthroat, and that’s before the travelers walk through the door.DEVIOUS DECISIONSThe Bloody Inn has one goal. You want to have more money than your fellow inn owners before the end of the game. How you get to that point is up to you!Each round, new travelers will find a room at one of eight rooms. Each of these travelers have something that will benefit you in your devious endeavors. You can choose to bribe guests and have them on your payroll. You can choose to kill a traveler but if there’s a police officer around at the end of the night, the body will be found if it’s not buried.The majority of your money will be made by killing and burying travelers. On the low end, you’ll bring in 8 francs and on the high end you can make 26 francs. You only get paid after the body is buried which can make things tough as you’re always looking out for law enforcement that is coming through the inn.Players get two rounds of actions with each group of travelers. Making the right decision in the right round is crucial. You’ll have to pay the local grave digger 10 francs if you can’t properly dispose of a body when law enforcement is still around at the end of the night. This can really set you back and has literally made us sweat as the end of a round comes to a close.Travelers that are bribed have to be paid 1 franc at the end of each night and any travelers in your specific room will pay out 1 franc. Getting this balance is something that can be tough as you start to see your hard earned stolen money go down the drain with a handful of travelers that you’ve bribed.COME FOR THE ART, STAY FOR THE GAMEWhen my wife Erin saw The Bloody Inn at our local game shop, the incredible art work from Weberson Santiago immediately jumped out at us. The game has a distinct style and it’s consistent in every component of this game. It has an eerie look that just adds to an already solid theme.The game mechanics work so well because it allows the player to change how they play each time it hits the table. There have been games where I spent time building a great crew and efficiently took out travelers. Other times I went for quick cash and just focused on bribing a few people. The game is so smooth and the more you play, the more you challenge yourself to try new strategies.We’ve been able to teach this game to dozens of people with various backgrounds with gaming. The game is pretty simple to grasp and even new players can win their first time around. The Bloody Inn has a “short game” and “long game” option along with a solo play variant. I’m a big fan of games that give players this flexibility. Playing a short game will take you 30-45 minutes and the long game is about an hour. Personally, [...]

Review: Quartermaster General: 1914:: Hot new review on Quartermaster General: 1914 direct from Essen Spiel!

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:23:01 +0000

by Lawrence Hung When the original Quartermaster General came out, which covers WWII in its entire scope, I give it a pass without a pause. My thinking was that I won't be interested in such a highly abstracted strategic level wargame in which there is no dice to roll for movement or combat! I said I wouldn't be interested in the system at all. Later when Victory or Death is released to cover an epic ancient struggle between Athenian and Spartan with the same game engine, the system again come to my attention because this campaign is my top interest in ancient history since Mark Herman's masterpiece (Victory Games) Peloponessian War. Since then I read a lot of materials in that campaign. Shortly after Victory or Death (I even don't have the time to play it), Quartermaster General: 1914 is released in October 2016 at Essen game fair. My friend Angus brought the Kickstarter version directly back from the fair and in no time, we set up a game to begin play. In a single day, we are able to play 2.5 games in about 6 hours on first play. It's always good to have a strategic game that can cover the whole World War I and be completed in such a short time, while the gameplay is still considered meaty somewhat and meaningful. Quartermaster General: 1914 is such a game. There are 216 cards and 5 player aids for each of the major powers, US/UK, France/ Italy, Russia on the Entente side, Germany and Austria-Hungry on the other Central Power side. According to the historical characteristics of the participating powers, the cards are allocated in different number to seven different types of cards. By playing the seven cards in hand, maximizing the resources and chances, a player can experience the difficult, sometime agonizing decisions that the head of the power nation went through. Some of the cards are either historically too early to play, or that they are not complement to the current situation on the map. The game engine is one of card-driven that many of us know quite well nowadays with the influx of such design. However, the cards are not used for operation points like other CDGs does. Instead, the card types determine the action the power can take in a turn. To initiate an attack, you need a land battle card. Likewise, a sea battle card for attack in a sea area. To build army or navy in a vacant area, you need a build army or build navy card. Effectively one builds to occupy and control victory point areas (denoted with a star). Wargame grognards would find it odd to see that an attack always succeeds to remove an enemy army or navy, as long as the attacking piece is in supply and the enemy doesn't have the reinforce card, previously "prepared" during his own player turn "Prepare" step. The cards are prepared face-down and so there is a sense of fog going on the attack. Attack into difficult terrain ("area") costs an additional card to discard from hand as extra effort/ resource spent with the attack. The Turn Sequence is nicely laid out in the Player Aid card. So the players can always refer to it and know what to do next. Each turn begins with Draft Step, which allows the player to discard two cards in hand in order to find a Build card from the deck. This mea[...]

Review: History of the World:: I have lots of complaints but nevertheless think it's a great game

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 04:59:19 +0000

by saneperson Quick Rules SummaryIf you know the rules and just want to chat about the game, skip to the next heading! The game covers, well, the history of the world, from the dawn of civilization to World War 1. (I'm not quite sure why they stopped there. I'd guess the game mechanics break down with improving transportation technology.)The game board is a map of the world, sort of. It's distorted to make places that were more important over the long haul of history larger. Like, the Middle East is much larger than in real life; Australia and the Americas much smaller.The game is divided into seven "epochs" of several hundred years each. In each epoch, each player gets an empire of that time period. Thus, over the course of the game a player will control seven empires. The way your empire is assigned is a key element of the game: There are cards for each empire. These are shuffled, and the player with the lowest current score draws first. He can decide to keep this empire or pass it to another player of his choice. Then the player with the next lowest score draws, and so on in order. Each player can keep the empire he drew or pass it to someone else, except that if he has already been given an empire, he must pass the card he draws.Then the empires are played in the order they came to power in history. Each empire gets a number of armies -- more or fewer, depending on how strong that empire was in history. (Like, Rome gets the most, the Celts not so many.) Each empire is "active" for just this one turn. That is, you get armies the turn your empire appears in the game and you can attack with them and conquer territory. After that you never get new armies and can never attack. You can only defend against attacks from new empires. So an empire bursts on the scene, conquers a bunch of territory, and then goes into decline. Sometimes the decline is fast: I've seen empires wiped out within one turn of appearing. Other times it's slow: in my last game the Persian Empire of epoch 2 survived into the 20th century and was still the dominant power in the Middle East.Combat is pretty simple: attacker rolls 2 dice, defender rolls 1, compare the highest attacker die to the defender's die, whichever is higher wins. Defender wins ties. I calculate that at a 58% chance the attacker will win. The defender gets bonuses if he's in rough terrain or has a fort. But the attacker can keep attacking the same place until he wins or runs out of armies.Each player is dealt 10 "event cards" at the beginning of the game and he can use up to 2 of these each epoch. Some cards give combat bonuses, others give an extra "minor power", and some cause other players various sorts of trouble, like plagues wiping out units.A player gets points for control of areas and cities. You get points for both your current empire and for empires from previous turns that are still on the map.ComparisonsI've seen several reviewers compare this game to Risk. I really don't see much similarity, beyond the simplistic one that both are played on a map of the world. History is a far more complex and sophisticated game.I've also seen it compared to Britannia, and I think that's a reasonable comparison. A key element o[...]

Review: Terraforming Mars:: sennaho's impressions of Terraforming Mars

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 04:59:12 +0000

by sennaho The number 1 hotness on BGG (as of 25/10/16/) and the number 1 hotness from Essen. That is what Terraforming Mars is. It has skyrocketed the ratings and is almost at the top 100 as I write this. I’ve had my eyes on this one for a little while, and when my online retailer got 3 copies of this, I knew I had to jump at in and order one of them. So, a card-driven game about terraforming Mars and making it livable for humans? After the Martian made a huge movie hit, the red planet has been everywhere, and in 2016 there are quite a few Mars games. So, let’s dive into this 2-5 player game by Jacob Fryxelius, released by Fryxgames and Stronghold Games in 2016. Is it as hot as it can be? Or is it as cold as where you start with Mars in the game (-30degrees celcius)ComponentsLet’s start of with the components of the game. This game is not really heavy on components, so let’s take a look at most of them and see what I think. Let’s start with the game board. This game is card-driven, so the board is only used for a couple of things. It is used to track points and also to track the different things we need to work on to get Mars livable for humans. Most of the board is filled with a great map of Mars, which is an actual «picture» of how Mars looks, with names on a lot of different locations. The board looks good and is very practical and user friendly, but more on the use of it later. This game has a lot of different resources, and because of that (I guess) they have decided to use the same cubes for every resource. There are three different cubes worth 1, 5 and 10 resources, and it’s where they are put that tells you what they are. One thing they have done that I really like, is to paint them in bronze, silver and gold, and they are all in different sizes, with bronze being the smallest and gold the largest.I must say that I am a bit worried as to how long the paint on these cubes will last, and there is already sign of wear on the cubes. This is a very minor point, and it doesn’t really bother me all that much, but I just thought that I should add it in here. Next up we have the cards. The cards are the most used component and the base for the game. I have to say that they feel a bit thin. They are a little flimsy and I actually did something I never do with any game anymore: I sleeved it. I did this before my first game, so I don’t know if the flimsiness of the cards would make them show wear and tear from use after few plays. The player boards are really, really thin, but I have never been irritated by this. It’s just a piece of paper that you will put things on. You are never going to move it, and for laying flat on the table and organizing your resources, the player boards do a great job. The rest of the components are good. Tiles with nice thickness and some player cubes in different colors make up for most of it, but what about what’s on the components. Let’s talk about artwork. ArtworkWe all know that artwork can be very important in a game, and especially if you just see a game played on a table. The art is what will make you decide if you want to stop and look or walk away. With Terraforming Mars, the[...]

Review: 504:: "504" - a conclusion (german)

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 04:56:36 +0000

by Brakus „504“ – FAZITReview-Fazit zu „504“, einem modularen Spielsystem.[Infos]für: 2-4 Spielerab: 12 Jahrenca.-Spielzeit: 30-120min.Autor: Friedemann FrieseIllustration: Harald LieskeVerlag: 2F-SpieleAnleitung: deutschMaterial: deutsch[Download: Anleitung und Übersichten]dt., engl., ung.: (s. Link unten)[Fazit]„504“ ist eines der ersten modularen Brettspiel-Systeme und bietet namensgleich 504 Varianten.Natürlich ähneln sich dabei einige zwangsläufig, aber prinzipiell können hier durch ein einfaches Dreier-System beliebig viele „Welten“ erschaffen werden. Das Dreier-System ist in Form eines Ringbuches vorzufinden, in welchem die Seiten dreireihig geteilt sind und sich so miteinander kombinieren lassen. Jedes der drei Teile steht dabei für ein Teilsystem des dann zu kreierenden Spiels und bietet insgesamt 9 verschiedene Module (Transport, Wettlauf, Privilegien, Militär, Entdecken, Straßen, Mehrheiten, Produktion, Aktien). Dazu kommt ein schwerer, prall gefüllter Karton voller Spielmaterial (s. „Ausgepackt“) für alle erdenklichen Kombinationen!Die Spielkomponenten sind allesamt hochwertig produziert, vielfältig und praktisch – nur das Sortieren fällt etwas schwer, da durchaus alle Materialien immer für andere Spielweisen eingesetzt werden und man sie so nicht für später vorsortieren kann, wenn dann doch ein anderes Modul generiert wird. So gehört beim Aufbauen eines Spiels immer etwas Geduld dazu. Das gleiche gilt auch für die Entscheidung, welche Module man kombinieren will und die Absprache dazu kann in der Spielrunde auch schon mal etwas dauern. Natürlich kann man auch die vielen im Internet verfügbaren und getesteten Spielwelten direkt nachbauen und ausprobiern.Auf jeden Fall bieten die Spielmöglichkeiten lang anhaltenden und meist abwechslungsreichen Unterhaltungswert. Wer den schweren Karton nicht zu transportieren scheut, kann hiermit auch eine Mega-Spielesammlung in den Urlaub nehmen,denn es ist ja für fast jede Spielsituation etwas „drin“.Die verschiedenen Anleitungsbereiche und -übersichten wollen anfänglich allerdings gut studiert werden, da das System, einmal verinnerlicht, zwar einfach nach zu vollziehen ist, aber für den 504-Einsteiger eben doch erstmal richtig gelesen werden will. Dann klappt’s auch mit dem Weltenbuch^^.Man kann sich wie gesagt sehr lange mit dem Spielsystem beschäftigen und sicherlich dabei so manche Kombination entdecken, die so gar nicht gefällt, aber genauso wird man rasch einige Lieblingswelten kreieren. Bei der unglaublichen Anzahl an Möglichkeiten bleibt ein gemischtes Verhältnis zu den Modulen und Welten natürlich nicht aus, aber zugleich wird so entsprechend Abwechslungs geboten und man sucht sich halt immer das Gefälligste aus.Insgesamt eine tolle und mutige Idee, die mancherorts nicht nur für Fanfreude gesorgt hat, aber unserer Meinung nach sehr genial ist und unbedingt seine Daseinsberechtigung nicht nur in den Verkaufsregalen hat, sondern auch zu Hause bei leidensschaftlichen Spielern finden sollte![Note[...]

Review: Conan:: So, was Conan worth the hype ?

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 02:20:35 +0000

by TheGreatGonzo Chapter One : The CampaignJudging by the numbers, we've been more than a few swept over by the marketing juggernaut that was Conan's Kickstarter campaign. It was one of those rare moments of madness when new miniatures pile over one another, each more gorgeous than the previous one, and Stretch goals were attained on a daily basis...We lived the dream, paid the price and... waited quite a long time. The coming of Conan the board game had been a running gag among my gamer group for a while when it finally arrived. I know some of you are accustomed to this kind of events, but this was my first KS campaign so please be gentle.Chapter Two : Opening the BoxAnyway, I went for King Pledge alone, but the package was huge and the boxes full of good stuff I honestly forgot (a pack of tentacles ? Sweet !). Then came my first letdown : just beside a wonderfully detailed Cthulhian monstrosity was a lion so crudely modeled it was shocking. And it was not an isolate case : some miniatures look REALLY better than others. It is a pity than most of the heroes and good guys are in the worst of the bunch.But miniatures aside, every component is top-notch. Boards are huge, sturdy and pleasing to the eyes, and so is the rest. One could be nitpicking about the smallness of the cards, but since the game takes so much space on the table, I believe it’s a good thing.COMPONENTS : 7/10Chapter Three : Reading the TomeLots have already been said about the rule book, so I won’t be long. To put it simply, the authors tried to gain time when they wrote it and ended up making everyone lose some. The rules must have been clear in their minds, but they forgot to have them be read by someone who didn’t know anything about the game. Because if that’s your case, you’re going to end up deeply puzzled.I was not that kind of newcomer, having followed eagerly every bit of info Monolith was feeding us during the KS campaign. BUT I was left nonetheless with too many questions unanswered : can you attack many times in a row ? How much does Teleport really cost ? How can Conan wield a two-handed weapon and a shield ?And keep in mind that, being French, I was blessed with a rulebook (mostly) devoid of bugs and errors… I really hope a new rule book with FQ is underway !RULE BOOK : 4/10Chapter Four : The TrialI must admit that my disappointment with some of the miniatures and the rule book didn’t hamper my enthusiasm, so I played a solo game straight, then five multiplayer games in two weeks. The scenarios tested were : the first one, Hunting the Tigress, Wrath of Anu and the Thing from the Swamp.How did it play out ? Very well. We quickly didn’t need the rules (and that was lucky) and figured out how to resolve some situations using common sense.Did we enjoy it ? Very much ! Everyone got into character really soon : Conan roared when he crashed the huts’walls, the thief and the wizard were sneaky and dealt deadly ranged attacks, Belît followed her man to support him and the Overlord (me) cackled with an evil laugh each time my minions were doing some damage.At first, my buddies were frustrated[...]

Review: Oceanos:: Gaming Bits: Oceanos Review

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:53:39 +0000

by MillicanDarque Oceanos is a game by Antoine Bauza, published by IELLO. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of Expedition Captain as they dive deep into the depths of the ocean aboard their trusty submarine. They will be trying to collect sunken treasure and new species of underwater creatures, as well as finding large chains of coral reef. Of course they'll have to watch out for the deadly Kraken which could scuttle their mission. Players will also need to upgrade their submarine if they plan to make the most of their undersea adventure. In the end, the player that can explore the best beneath the waves will be declared the winner.To begin, each player chooses a color and is given all the matching submarine pieces, as well as the scuba diver and fuel tokens. Players should then put their submarine together with all of the single pink bubble pieces. The remaining pieces of their submarine is set aside for now. Players should then place a scuba diver and fuel token on their submarine it their respective places. The remaining tokens are set aside with their extra sub pieces. The Kraken tokens are separated by size and then shuffled. One of each size is then randomly drawn and placed in the center of the table with the smallest on top and the largest on the bottom. The remaining tokens are returned to the box. The Exploration cards are separated by round number. Each deck is then shuffled and placed face down in the center of the play area. The treasure tokens are placed inside the bag. The first player or Expedition Captain is chosen and play now begins.The game is played over 3 rounds. Each round consists of 5 turns. Each turn follows 5 phases. First off the Expedition Captain deals out the Exploration cards. To do this, he/she will take the cards for the current round and deal them out to each player except himself/herself. Players will receive an Exploration card for each periscope on their submarine plus 1 card. Secondly, the player chooses an Exploration card from their hand. The player places the chosen card face down in front of themself. The remaining Exploration cards are given to the Expedition Captain. In the next phase, the players reveal their Exploration cards simultaneously placing them in front of themselves. Cards are placed from left to right and can not be changed during the game. It should be noted that each round begins a new row of cards. The first round cards go on the top with the 2nd round beneath it and the 3rd round on the bottom. For the next phase, the Expedition Captain now chooses an Exploration card from the ones that the other players gave him/her. If by some chance they didn't receive enough cards to complete their hand, based on the number of periscopes on their submarine they will draw cards from the deck to complete their hand. The Captain then places their chosen card in the same way as mentioned above. Finally, the next player in turn order then becomes the Expedition Captain for the next turn. During each turn a player has additional actions that they ma[...]

Review: Capital:: Review of Capital

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:53:33 +0000

by Petri When I went to Essen game fair this year, Capital was one of the games I wanted to try and perhaps buy, because city building is one of my favorite themes. We tried the game out as a 3 player game and I liked it. Rules were simple, gameplay was smooth and the game was visually appealing so I decided to purchase the game right away. Later we played the game twice at the hotel and now I'm looking forward to playing it again in the next gaming evening. This is usually a signal of a good game...SummaryCapital is a quick and nice tile laying game for 2-4 players. The players are building their own district of the city of Warsaw by drafting tiles during 6 epochs of the game.Box contentsThe game contains a board, which has a scoring track from 0-50 and room for all of the tiles. The board reminds me of the board of Saint Petersburg. You also get a mermaid figurine for tracking the score and over 100 tiles (16 for each epoch) and coins which are made of thick cardboard. In my opinion the look and feel of the tiles is good and the graphical design is functional.Note that players have to remember their color on the scoring track, because the mermaid figurine is the only colored component in the game. Some other games have an additional marker for this purpose.The box also contains a plastic insert, which has 7 slots for all the tiles and 1 slot for money. This way you can sort tiles of each epoch to separate stacks before you pack the game back to the box and the slots are actually tight enough so the cardboard pieces will stay where you put them even if you carry the box upside down.There are only 36 coins. So far we haven't ran out of money in the game, but it would be more convenient if the game would have had a bit more coins so the players don't have to change coins so often, but this is only a minor thing.RulesThe rulebook contains 12 pages, but most of it is actually individual explanation for each of the special buildings in the game and additional background information for the popular buildings and history of Warsaw. The actual rules are only 4 pages long and very streamlined.One of the great things of this game is that the rules are very simple, easy to explain and easy to understand. However, one of my main concerns about the game is also about the rules, because I didn't like how the milestone conditions can conflict with the simultaneous tile placement.GameplayOn each of the 6 epochs, you start with 4 tiles and on each turn you pick one of the tiles and either discard it for 3 money or pay it and place it on your district and pass the remaining tiles to your opponent (just like 7 Wonders). You may either expand the district (limited to a 4x3 grid) or overbuild an old tile by paying the cost difference.At the end of epoch 3 there's World War I and each player loses a tile of his choice and at the end of epoch 4 there's World War II and then all players lose two tiles.At the end of each epoch, before income, you check condition of the milestone building and whoever fulfills the condition best, gets the tile. Afterwa[...]

Review: Specter Ops:: Specter Ops Review from Geekundspiel

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:53:28 +0000

by behemoth32 Designer: Emerson MatsuuchiArtist: Steven HamiltonPublisher: Plaid Hat GamesNumber of Players: 2-5Playing time: 60-120 minutesYou are an agent of A.R.K. You have infiltrated a facility of the oppressive Raxxon corporation. Your mission: retrieve three key pieces of information hidden inside the vast compound and escape while remaining undetected. Your only tools are a few key items, your wits, and the darkness of the shadows. You hear the rev of an engine close by, and your worst fear is realized. Hunters. Genetically modified super-humans created by Raxxon to protect its precious secrets from people. People like you. You slink into the shadows, peering past crates of gear and equipment for a glance of their vehicle as they drive through the facility, trying to track your movements. Have they spotted you? You weigh your options. Maybe the best choice is just run past them and hope they don't notice. You open your pack and take out a small syringe filled with an adrenaline boost. Bracing yourself, you jab the needle into your thigh and wait for the rush to overcome you. There. It's time. Book it, now! Keep low, keep hidden. Run! Did they see you? You turn a corner and catch your breath. You're so close to the first objective, but you can hear voices approaching. Heavy footsteps. A voice like a machine. The low growl of something not-quite-human. They are coming. And the only direction is deeper into the facility...Specter Ops: Shadow of Babel is a one-versus-all hidden movement game from Plaid Hat Games and designed by Emerson Matsuuchi. In a typical game of Specter Ops, one player acts as the agent, while the remaining one to three players act as the hunters. The agent player moves around the board secretly, marking their movements on a separate map, while the hunters move their characters on the actual board attempting to find the agent. If a hunter ends his turn with a line of sight towards the agent, the agent must reveal themselves, and the hunters can attempt to attack by rolling a die.The agent characters have one goal: enter from the top of the board, complete three missions, and get out. If they are attacked enough times to lose all of their hit points, they lose. If they cannot escape in 40 moves, they lose. There are four total agents to choose from, each with a unique ability and item, and a choice of several other pieces of equipment that can temporarily boost their speed or stun, blind, or trick opposing hunters.Meanwhile, the four hunters have their own unique abilities, as well as a vehicle that can move them quickly throughout the board. The vehicle is equipped with a motion sensor that can track which direction the agent is in in relation to the vehicle. In a two-player game, the opposing player acts as two hunters. At three or four player counts, each player takes control of one hunter. And at five players, four act as hunters, but one is secretly a traitor working with the agent.Specter Ops is one of my favorite games of the past year, and it has given me some of the [...]

Review: NOIR: Deductive Mystery Game:: A little black box with a whole lot of game inside.

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 22:07:51 +0000

by Double J The OverviewNoir: Black Box Edition is a clever collection of six deduction games.The GoodQuick. The simplest games are designed to take less than 15 minutes and the most complex take an hour.Tense. Winning requires wits and luck. Variety. Includes six different games. Supports 2 to 9 players!Small Footprint. Comes in a small box and requires relatively little table space.The MehTight Storage. The box insert barely holds the cards. It can be difficult to get the cards out of the insert.Unclear Rules. Some of the rules are written awkwardly and take time to decipher.The BadLoopholes. Some game rules naturally lead to bad game experiences. In Killer vs Inspector, once the Killer figures out the detective's identity, the detective is trapped in a Monopoly-style death spiral. Unfortunately, due to the Killer's abilities to canvas and change identity, this issue occurs frequently.In Hitman vs Sleuth, the impact of the issue is lessened by the Sleuth having three possible identities. However, exhausting the deck still swings the game heavily in the Hitman's favor, especially if the Sleuth has lost any identities.The Notable MechanicsRandom Setup. A critical part of the game. Without randomized starting conditions there wouldn't be any deduction or variety!Identity Swapping. Without the ability to change their identity the criminal would be cornered very quickly.The limited swapping used in Master Thief vs Chief of Police limits the Thief to a pool of three identities. This is a superior version of the swapping mechanic that preserves tension and avoids Loopholes.Canvasing. When you play a card onto the field your opponent(s) must reveal if their identity is adjacent to that card. This simple mechanic is a powerful and tactical action. However, it is also a major part of what causes Loopholes.Shifting & Collapsing. Moving rows or columns (shifting) and removing rows or columns (collapsing) are how players maneuver closer to their targets. They can also be used to distract and mislead your opponents.Capture. Knowing their identity isn't enough. Your opponent(s) must be captured (or killed). You must also be adjacent to an opponent to capture them. This system often creates a tense chase where players need to pin down their opponent(s) without revealing their own identity.Roles. Each game has a different set of roles for players. Many roles are similar, however, there are meaningful differences in each game, and the more advanced roles in games like Mafia vs FBI add more variety and depth to the mix.The SummaryNoir: Black Box Edition is a fun & fast collection of deduction games and a great addition to our collection.Summary:+ quick+ variety+ tense 'cat & mouse'+ small package+ simple clever mechanics• box insert too small• some confusing rules- loopholesFor more information about Noir: Black Box Edition visit review with images is available at[...]

Review: Ninja Camp:: Little game. Big fun. Ninja meeples!

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 22:04:27 +0000

by Double J

The Overview

Ninja Camp is a ninja-themed card game where players compete to collect cards. Cards vary in value. The player with the most points wins.

The Good

Gateway game. Extremely simple to learn and teach!

Great filler. Very short play time. Just relax and enjoy.

Random starting setup. The board is different every time you play. This keeps the game interesting and prevents stagnant player strategies.

Balance of luck & strategy. The fast paced gameplay and card collection mechanic leave little room for complex strategies, however, players must manage their hands well to stay in the game.

The Meh

Forgettable theme. Theme was consistent, but never felt important. That said, the ninja meeples are awesome!

The Notable Mechanics

Simple actions. Card actions are very simple: move in a straight line, move 3 spaces, and leap over an empty spot, etc.

Three ninjas. Every player has three ninja meeples on the board and only one can be moved each turn. This adds depth to the strategy and decision making in the game.

Player elimination. When a player cannot play a card or ninja action on their turn, they are eliminated. While this can be a terrible mechanic in some games, it works well in this short filler. An obvious key strategy is to stay in the game as long as possible, however it does not guarantee a win.

Card collection. Players only start with two cards. Each turn, a player discards a card to move one of their ninjas and takes the card the ninja started on.

This card exchange system forms the core strategies of the game. The most valuable cards are difficult to play while the best cards lack value. The holes left behind create barriers that complicate player movement and can be used to block your opponents.

The Summary
Ninja Camp is a fun light strategy game and a great addition to our collection. Anyone interested in a simple light strategy game should check out Ninja Camp!

+ quick & fun
+ easy to learn & teach
+ great balance or luck & strategy
+ small footprint
+ ninja meeples!
+ random setup

This review with images is available at

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Review: Heroes of History:: Heroes of History

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:49:26 +0000

by GameGeekNinja Are you a fan of collectible card games and history? The designers of Heroes of History certainly are. I mean this thing is packed full. It even has a Game Constitution instead of just a rulebook.Heroes of History is a collectible card game (CCG) that comes completely ready to play without even having to collect anything. The game comes with enough cards to build two decks, which is enough for a 2 player game. It also comes with two fold out “combat maps” to keep track of your battle.It’s designed so that you can buy more decks and combine them to make your own individual deck , although so far as I can tell, this is the only set available.So let’s look at the gameplay:Both players start the game with 50 state points (very thematic), which will serve as your health or HP during the game. On your turn you have lots of options as far as actions. You can send one of your Combatants into your trench, you can attach a Weapon to a Combatant, you can play a Battlefield card, play an Action card or a Supply card. Some of these actions can only be performed once per turn, others are unlimited, but you only have 5 cards in your hand on your turn so your options are limited.After you have played the cards you want to, you move on to the Battle phase. If you want to attack your opponent, you choose one of your Combatants to attack a specific Combatant on your opponent’s team (You also have to pay 1 State point per attacking Combatant).When attacking you compare your Attacking card’s stats with the Card you are attacking’s current stats. You see, the Combatant cards that are in your Trench can be either Attacking or Defending. Their current status determines which stats you use for the battle. If they are in Attack position you use the ATK stats. If they are in Defense position (turned sideways) you use the DEF stats. When battling you compare stats and whoever has the higher total (base stats plus all modifiers) wins. Any additional ATK points your attacking Combatant has over those needed to defeat their opponent are applied against your opponent’s State points. This is how you whittle away their points to win. (Example: if you attack with a 10 ATK and your opponent has a 4 DEF, they lose 6 State points).There are a lot more restrictions as to which cards can be played and when. Some cards require you to pay a “tribute” to play, which you do by discarding cards. Some cards duplicate the effect of other cards, some allow you to bring in additional units as Combatants. Really each card is different and has its own special ability, which is what makes the game unique every time you play it.You play until someone loses all of their State points or cannot draw up at the beginning of their turn.So, what do we think?Well, I’m really torn.The gameplay is solid. There are lots of opportunities to customize your experience both in your choices in game, and in building your deck initiall[...]

Review: Petting Zoo:: Petting Zoo

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:49:21 +0000

by GameGeekNinja Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a brand new Petting Zoo. Work hard and you can attract enough people so that we can expand and make this the best Petting Zoo around.Petting Zoo is an engine building game very much along the lines of Machi Koro. On your turn you roll the die and move your pawn around the zoo that you have constructed. You start the game with just an Entrance.You will be building your Petting Zoo based on your own design, and on which tiles are available. You want to build a zoo that allows you to move your pawn around as much as possible each turn. The more attractions and habitats you visit, the more money you bring in to expand your zoo. The more money you have – the sooner you can build the 4 victory cards, which means you win.So let’s look at the Gameplay:Here’s how your turn works. The first thing you do is roll your die. If you roll a 1, 2, 3 or 4 you get to enter the zoo. If you don’t, you get to go home, I guess (this must be one exclusive Petting Zoo). Everytime you visit another attraction, you pick up some money. As soon as you stop moving you can buy another attraction. Once you do, you get to place the new attraction, which can go anywhere adjacent to any other tile in your zoo. Then your turn is over.On your next turn, you start again outside the zoo. Roll your die. If you roll a 1, 2, 3 or 4 again, you get to enter the zoo. You the roll die again and if you roll the number on one of the tiles adjacent to the Entrance you get move to that attraction. You continue rolling and moving, collecting any money along the way until your roll does not allow you to move onto another tile (you can only visit the Entrance once per turn). Once again you have the chance to buy another attraction, and then your turn ends.Your goal is to develop your zoo so that you can move around and visit your different attractions, a lot. I mean, you want to design your zoo so that you can have multiple moves per turn, because moving around your zoo means money and money means you win. Well, kind of. You have to plan well and roll well, but collecting money is the key to your eventual victory. Each different tile has different abilities and different payouts and depending on their locations you could land on them a lot, or never. Your choice of tiles and your placement of them will determine the rest of the game, so choose wisely.Is it good?Well, here’s the thing. This game is very interesting. It can be a lot of fun.It’s very dependent upon luck, but also depends on your choices. Each turn you get to roll your die, collect money and build new attractions. Sound familiar? That’s probably because you’ve seen this before. Some of the names have changed and we’re building a petting zoo instead of a thriving city, but this game is a lot like Machi Koro. I mean a lot. Even the victory condition is the same (build these 4 things[...]

Review: Help Me!:: Help Me! A 10 minute review of a 5 minute game

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:26:54 +0000

by trollitc Help Me! published by Libellud, designed by Dong-Hwa Kim for 2 players, ages 8+ and plays in literally five minutes.Here we have a charming little game first published waaaay back in 2011. It’s a strictly two player affair that features cool illustrations of nature spirits and a simple tile placement/stacking mechanic. It’s actually quite fun and can be found for relatively cheap.How to playHere I’m going to indulge myself and copy directly from the instructions for once so you can get the whole of this game in a simple sentence. Score more points than your opponent by placing your creatures on top of stacks of tiles which will be made during the game. That… is a pretty easy to learn game, right? Lets look a bit deeper. If you want to skip the how’s and get to the why’s – head on down to the Why you should play section.The game consists of 30 Avatar tiles, each featuring one of six creatures. Each creature has five of their own tiles, numbered 1-5. There are also six Creature tiles. The Avatar tiles are shuffled about and laid out in a five by six tile rectangle. The six Creature tiles are shuffled and two dealt to each player, who keeps them secret from their opponent. The remaining two creature tiles are not to be looked at for the rest of play. Now you’ve set up the game!Each player, on their turn, must move an Avatar tile or a stack of Avatar tiles according to the following rules:A tile or stack of tiles can be moved to a space to the right, left, above or below of its starting position, but cannot move diagonally. Tiles (or stacks) must move onto an adjacent tile or stack. When you’re moving a stack (that is more than 1) of Avatar tiles, you must move the whole thing – it cannot be split. Once a player has made their single move, it’s their opponent’s turn. Now you know the rules! The game is over when no more Avatar tiles can be moved. Let’s get on to scoring.At the end of the game, players reveal who their two Creatures are (on their Creature tiles) and score up stacks. Any single Avatar tiles are claimed by the player who owns that Creature tile. Any stacks of Avatars belong wholly to the player who claims the Avatar tile on top. A stack is worth the number of tiles in it (so three tiles = 3 points). A tile by itself, regardless of the number on it is worth 1 point. Now here comes the bit that slightly harder to follow. A tile is worth the number of points printed on it if and only if these conditions are met: It can’t be on the top of a stack, it must be the same creature that is on the top of the stack and it must match one of the two creatures that the player owns.That’s the game, the first one should take you about ten minutes and each game after that perhaps four or five minutes with an extra minute for scoring.Why you should playFirst and I think most important, this game is straight up, simple, easy to learn,[...]

Review: Fabled Fruit:: How do you like your Juice? Fabled Fruit short review (spoilers free)

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:23:24 +0000

by thepinch

Well, after reaching location 34 (of 59) I decided to write a short review.

Fabled Fruit is a set collection card game with worker placement mechanism (with only one worker) in which each turn a player is moving from one location to another collecting fruits as resources in every possible way you can think of (each location provides different mechanic for getting fruit cards).

If a location the player moved to occupied location by other players, the arriving player must give a fruit card to each of them.

Instead of collecting fruit the player can decide to buy a juice by discarding different combination of fruits (each location requires different combination)
Buying a juice is represented by taking the location card itself.

Once a player get a number of juices the game ends (number of juices depending on the number of players)

All that sound really boring, BUT the game is far from it, each location has 4 cards and the combination between the locations provides different strategies for winning, each time a player purchase juice one of the 4 locations is removed forever from the game and is replaced by a new location which may change the strategy instantly.
Think about it like the 10 Kingdom cards of Dominion that are being replaced while the game is in play.
The changes to the game are surprising and fun and you never know what to expect.

After the game ends then purchased location cards removed forever and the next game setup will be the moment the last game ended, providing something similar to the Legacy system without the destruction of cards.

My wife and I like it a lot and we believe it will hook many others if they give it a chance.

Highly Recommended!
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Review: Cry Havoc:: Cry Havoc; Awesome but Frustrating

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:42:21 +0000

by curiousfu In this post I will give my opinion about Cry Havoc regarding six different topics: Theme, Components, Game Play, Strategy/Tactics, Complaints & Overall.Theme It is a science fiction setting of humans, machines and aliens exploiting a resource rich and exotic world; lucrative and dangerous. It’s not a new theme, but I like sci-fi and if you do too, then I think you will be able to get into the feel that this game tries to create. It also seems as though the designers have made an effort to create a rich story for the game and the characters involved which is expressed nicely both throughout the rule book and additional guides with descriptions and art. ComponentsThe components are generally fantastic. The board is very nice and the cards have (in my opinion) a unique style with beautiful art and a nice finish to them. All iconography is simple and easy to understand. I had one miniature which was a little lop-sided but aside from that one, they were all sturdy and solid minis which were detailed nicely and stood straight. All the tokens punched out of the card well, look nice, are easily differentiated and are easily recognised among all the other bits on the board. Acrylic crystals are well made and add a touch of sparkle to the play area which gives a sense of value to the regions being fought over.Game PlayArea control is generally how points are earned. However, it is not just how many areas, it is the value of crystals in areas which determine the majority of points received. Controlling an area or gaining points depends on how well players can perform hand management and select the appropriate ways to use their cards throughout the game. There are some elements of engine building and deck building in the game which is totally card driven. There is plenty of interaction between players as a game which is based on conflict but there are opportunities for negotiating (with 3 or more players), bluffing and anticipating all through the game. Turns can be fairly quick, although there are some tough decisions to make on how best to utilise your hand of cards. Strategy/TacticsPlayers can adopt a long term strategy based on the asymmetrical powers each faction affords. This will need to be adapted depending on what extra skill cards may be in play in a game and whether you are playing a 2, 3 or 4 player game. The game is also very tactical because you need to be reacting to what your opponent does, how they manoeuvre ahead or after you and how they are spending their cards. There is another tactical element in the battle resolution system which I think is especially clever. Players play cards to influence who wins battle objectives. This is one of the mechanics where the game shines. I really like card driven combat systems and this one is really fun for me, yet really simple. It’s a fantastic desi[...]

Review: Kemet:: Gods and Kings - As a Board Gamer Reviews - #158 - Kemet

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:38:44 +0000

by rvlieshout A war game. Kemet is about war, about Egyptian armies fighting each other. Mythical armies with mythical creatures doing mythical stuff. This is a copy of an As a Board Gamer (LINK) article (October 12th, 2016 )You can find a geeklist of all my reviews HERE.In Kemet fighting gets rewarded, attacking and winning a fight scores you a point. Conquering holy places and controlling them gives you points. Points will win you the game.Every player has its own little army that is stationed in their own city with three pyramids. Three landmarks, red, white and blue. Every four-sided die matches a set of tiles with the same colour. These tiles give special powers. Like, you can defend better, you can attack better, you have a better economy, or, the coolest tiles, adds an epic mythical creature to your army. A pretty sand-coloured miniature that rises above your army and scares the hell out of your opponents.With your armies, with or without the help of mythical creatures, you will move from area to area on the board until you find another army. Then you have to fight, immediately. You are the attacker and the other player the defender. The goal is to win, and to stay alive. You both have the same set of battle cards and you both play one card. The bigger the army the better. That and the stats on these cards decide who wins the battle, how well you defend and, in the end, how many units die. Three stats; your strength, your defensive power and your deadlines. You might win a battle because you are stronger or bigger, but you have to live to claim the point. Your defense minus the deadly blows of the other player determines the amount of units that will die. You need at least one man standing to be victorious. A defender, even if he is the only one left on the battlefield, can never claim a victory point. Like I said, attacking gets rewarded. It gives you fame and glory.What also gives glory, I mean victory points, although temporary they might be, is controlling temples. As long as you control these areas you get a victory point. Lose control and that victory is lost to the other player. The other big benefit of a temple is that it gives you money, or prayer points as they are called here. You need these to buy more units or buy a power tile.Power tiles can be bought, but only when your corresponding pyramid has a high enough value. You can only buy a white value three tile if your white pyramid has a value of three or higher.You do that by selecting the strengthen pyramid action space on your personal player board. You have a couple of action tokens and on you turn you must select an action: move an army, buy a red tile, recruit army, get more prayer points, or strengthen your pyramid, like I said.I almost forget about the divine intervention cards. These cards, that you will get[...]

Review: Undercover:: Tabletoptogether reviews: Undercover

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:23:27 +0000

by Khaniyan I picked up Undercover at Essen SPIEL ’16, right after playing it there. Since then I have already played it numerous times. Undercover is a fun abstract tile laying and flipping game. It has a somewhat pasted on theme about being agents, or double agents, and setting up meetings with other agents. The game takes around 30 minutes and plays (well) with 2 to 4 players. What is Undercover like?The goal of Undercover is to get most points. You get points by picking up point markers on one of 6 different scoring tracks. The order of the scoring markers is random and have a value between 3 and 8. Once you have picked up a tile on one track you can’t pick up any more on that track. That means that being able to get the highest numbered tile as possible on each track it how you win the game. The way you moving on the scoring tracks is by placing or moving tiles. The tiles are all double-sided. With one side being the agent side and the other being the undercover side.The tiles have the same 6 colours as the point tracks. On the point track all the coloured tracks run parallel. When you place a tile you can only place it next to tiles that have either the same colour as the tile you are placing or a tile with a colour that is next to the colour of the tile you are placing on the scoring tracks.Flipping and movingOnce you have placed a tile in this fashion you will count the number of spaces you may move. For each tile you are touching you will get one movement on the track that corresponds with the colour you are touching. You will also get a point of movement on the colour of the tile you placed. However, if you flipped the tile during our turn, the tile you place is worth two movement points. The trick is that you don’t know what the colour of the other side is. Or rather you don’t know for certain. The colour on the other side of the tile is limited to the colours next to the tile’s colour on the scoring track. So there are two options and only one tile available with either.So there is a way to deduct or remember what is on the other side of the tiles before you flip it. But sometimes it is mostly a gamble; will you find the tile that lets you pick up a value 8 scoring token or one that only nets you 4? At the beginning of the game this is especially difficult because not all the tiles have been placed yet. But once all tiles have been placed you can deduct.A lot of the fun moments in the games come from when you fail to remember or deduce what is the colour on the other side of the tile you just flipped. The other really fun thing is when you manage to block an opponent’s options because you realised what they were trying to do in their next turn and your counter move fit well with your interests. Rating4 / 6This game has a lot cool thing[...]

Review: Hanamikoji:: Geisha Gaming Goodness - As a Board Gamer Reviews - #159 - Hanamikoji

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:23:21 +0000

by rvlieshout Hanamikoji, a well-known Geisha street in Kyoto, Japan. You walk along this street trying to gain the favours of seven Geisha masters by give them the gifts they long for.This is a copy of an As a Board Gamer (LINK) article (October 17th, 2016 )You can find a geeklist of all my reviews HERE.The seven geisha masters all want different gifts. Some gifts are easily obtainable, others are very rare. Additionally, the geisha masters are not equally charming. The rarer the gift, the fewer charm points she has. Basically, the amount of charm points of a master equals the amount of gift cards of her type that are in the deck.The geisha master who desires flowers has a value of five and there are five flower cards in the deck. There are three geisha with value two, two geisha with value three, one with value four and one with a charms value of five.There are two win conditions and after every round you check if one or more players have reached these goals. The first goal is to have four or more Geisha masters on your side. The second goal is to have enough Geisha masters at you side to have a combined charm value of eleven or more. If both players reached one of these goals in the same round, the player with the most charm points wins the game.The game itself is pretty simple. You start the game with six cards in your hand and four actions tokens in front of you. One card is drawn from the draw deck and put aside for this round.Players can choose between four actions. The first players goes first, draws another card from the draw deck, chooses an action and turns the action token over, so you know you cannot use that action anymore during the current round. After that the other player chooses one action, and so on.The four action are as follows. First action, choose a secret card from you hand and place it underneath this action token. At the end of the round this card will be placed below the corresponding geisha. Second action, choose two cards from your hand that will not be played this round. Third action, choose three cards from your hand and show them to your opponent. He or she can then pick one. You take the other two and you both place these cards next to the corresponding geisha. The fourth and last action; you choose four cards and openly divide them into two groups of two. Your opponent can pick first, you take the other two cards and you both place them next to the geisha who's longing for these precious gifts.You can pick these action in the order you like and after both players have taken four actions, both reveal their secret card and check if one of them achieved the goal.When you have more gifts on your side of a geisha than the other player, you win the favour of that geisha and slide the favour token to your[...]

Review: The Golden Ages:: Prime impressioni su The Golden Ages (italiano)

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:22:28 +0000

by dimarco70 NOTA: Questo articolo è comparso la prima volta su ILSA (Informazione Ludica a Scatola Aperta), alcun dubbio uno dei temi caldi, uno dei graal disperatamente inseguiti dagli autori di giochi, è la ricostruzione dell'evoluzione della civiltà umana in un gioco da tavolo breve, la cui durata non superi i 180 minuti. The Golden Ages è un titolo che rientra in questa categoria. Buoni i materiali, resi caratteristici dal lavoro di Alexander Roche (Carson City, Troyes, Bruxelles 1893, Inca Empire), che ha l'impagabile capacità di dividere i giocatori in due gruppi nettamente contraddistinti (detrattori ed estimatori).Il gioco si svolge su 4 turni, che iniziano con i giocatori che scelgono l'abilità caratteristica della loro civiltà (selezionando il proprio leader, fra quello dell'era appena trascorsa e uno nuovo) e poi incrementano l'area del territorio esplorabile, ampliando la mappa modulare. Segue una fase di azioni in cui i giocatori eseguono a turno una azione fra: esplorare nuovi territori e costruire insediamenti, combattere con gli altri giocatori (per assicurarsi il controllo monopolistico delle risorse prodotte nella regione), costruire nuovi edifici o meraviglie (che forniscono abilità speciali), utilizzare tali abilità, sviluppare tecnologie, dedicarsi all'arte (ottenendo subito punti vittoria). Il numero di azioni eseguibili è limitato, in quanto richiedono l'utilizzo di un segnalino popolazione (ogni giocatore ne ha 3) o denaro oppure il possesso di particolari carte (utilizzabili comunque una volta per era). Il primo giocatore che passa sceglie l'obiettivo intermedio che verrà valutato alla fine dell'era (all'inizio della partita ne vengono rivelati 5), mentre un meccanismo di dissuasione alla Troyes (ogni giocatore che ha già passato e che dovrebbe rigiocare guadagna 2 denari - necessari per costruire meraviglie, condurre le guerre e sviluppare tecnologie) garantisce che i turni non si allunghino troppo. Quando tutti i giocatori hanno passato, si valuta l'obiettivo e si parte con la nuova era. Il gioco si conclude non appena un giocatore passa nella quarta era: tutti gli altri eseguono un'ultima mossa e poi si passa alla valutazione finale, che elargisce punti vittoria per i soldi accumulati, le tecnologie sviluppate, le guerre condotte, un obiettivo segreto fornito all'inizio del gioco, alcune meraviglie.Quello che sorprende in The Golden Ages è il fatto che contenga tutti gli elementi "necessari" a caratterizzare il gioco di civilizzazione ideale: una mappa, la sua esplorazione, una componente di conflitto "su mappa", un albero tecnologico, leader, edifici e meraviglie. Nonostante questo, anche le prime partite in 4 giocatori si manten[...]

Review: The Football Game:: The Final Judgement Game Reviews Podcast & Blog #6 - The Football Game (The London Board Game Company)

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:32:58 +0000

by MaeroEffendi The 6th Episode of my new Game Review project called: The Final Judgement. Episode 5 features The London Board Game Company's 'The Football Game'Game: The Football GameYear: 2017 (on Kickstarter NOW! Football Management (no other words for it).Players: 1-4 (up to six with expansion)Playtime: 60 - 75 minutesWeight: Light-MediumPublisher: London Board Game CompanyURL: Design: The Pearson FamilyGraphic Design / Artwork: Robert Gauld-GalliersFlavor Summary:If you’re an avid football fan like me, you’ll know that a football season is far more than 30 to 40-something matches a year. It can (and almost certainly will be) a drama series that the likes of the Bold and the Beautiful couldn’t even come close to! Mismanagement, Misbehaving players, Suspensions, Injuries and Fans Hopes and Dreams either being shattered or in some cases be exceeded beyond believe… Few football games capture that feel… Enter ‘The Football Game’.(All Images are property of The London Boardgame Company)Gameplay Overview:To get the first and most important part of this game out of the way, your goal is not to become champions (though that wouldn’t do you any harm). The goal of ‘The Football Game’ is having the happiest fans. Where for instance fans of Manchester United or Barcelona expect their team to get close to or win the championship each and every year, fans of other clubs may be very happy if they just managed not to relegate. This is represented in the game also. 9So at the beginning of the ‘season’ you start with some players and a manager. The manager decides how many tactics cards & money you get. You will use those tactics cards to influence matchday results and the money you can use on the transfer market, which you can of course use to improve your squad. Once you have your team together, the amount of skill points determines what kind of team you have. In the game i played against Mark from TLBGC (which abbreviated looks a lot like a certain equal rights movement, but I digress) I had a C-team, which is the second lowest team in the league (yet I still managed to disappoint my fans, but that’s neither here nor there for this review)The active player then has several options available: resolving injuries (if there were any. How injuries occur I will tell later), Scout new players for the transfer market (if you don't like what’s available on the market), buy and sell players and / or your manager and us this manager’s ability (if applicable) and replace your tactics cards. He [...]

Review: Epic Resort:: First Impressions of Epic Resort 2nd Edition

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:19:41 +0000

by Senno Epic Resort is both a deckbuilder and a worker placement game - both of which are probably my favourite gaming mechanisms, and with some fun art and a cool theme, I was eager to get started.I pledged through Kickstarter for the game to come along with Villain's Vacation. I have yet to play Villain's Vacation, and will do first impressions of that when I do.This is for the second edition of the game, which is what is currently available.First of all, the box is a nice design. Large and sturdy, and comes with a good insert with plenty of space - more than needed for both the game and the expansion (I checked). It's not the best designed, and I may do a custom insert in time, but at least there is plenty of space for everything.The art is eye catching - a little 1990's beefcake cartoon with some soft disney edging. The theming comes across strong on first glance. The back of the box has a nice write up and image as well.Once I opened everything I was slightly disappointed. The card designs are quite busy, and the iconography isn't clear or consistent. The art is nice but due to the amount of writing, icons and information, it gets lost slightly.That said, the large attraction cards are nice and as part of the buy area, are always on display and help sell the theme. The skilled workers area are also always on display, and while not as pleasing to the eye, helpful to keep dibs on what is available.The gameplay is relatively simple. Each player is given a Tiki Hut and a Beach attraction as their resort. Each attraction can have a finite amount of tourists, represented by mini meeples. More tourists at a attraction earns you more gold, which can be held between rounds and is used to train workers or upgrade attractions.Tourists will leave when you ignore the staffing requirements of the attractions, but in turn this provides you more "flair" the second resource, and this allows you to attract more lucrative tourists or even Heroes.Workers are the deckbuilding part of the game. Simultaneously players draw up a deck of five workers, placing them as they wish on their attractions. At the start of the game each player only has apprentices, lazy peons and street performers. Lazy peons are worthless unless the player is being attacked, in which case they can be removed from the player's hand and the crisis can be averted. Street performers can be placed in the players discard as they add +1 flair to the player's resort (they have performed their duty and entertained guests), or can be trained using the player's gold currency into a more interesting worker. When this happens, the player loses the original card, pays the cost, and gains the new card for imme[...]

Review: Power Grid: The Card Game:: "Funkenschlag - Das Kartenspiel" - a conclusion (german)

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:11:19 +0000

by Brakus Review-Fazit zu „Funkenschlag – Das Kartenspiel“, der Kartenversion des großen „Funkenschlag“s.[Infos]für: 2-4 Spielerab: 12 Jahrenca.-Spielzeit: 60min.Autor: Friedemann FrieseIllustration: Harald LieskeVerlag: 2F-SpieleAnleitung: deutschMaterial: sprachneutral[Download: Anleitung]dt.: (s. Link unten)[Fazit]In dieser Kartenversion des großen Brettspiels „Funkenschlag“ bekommen die Spieler mehr als nur eine Art Light-Edition geboten. Das Spiel hält sich natürlich in seinen Grundzügen an das Prinzip des großen Vorbilds, liefert aber mit seiner Mechanik genug eigenständige Tiefe, um auch Brettspielveteranen an den Tisch zu locken.Die Gestaltung des Spielmaterials hält sich dabei selbstredend an den großen Bruder, allein schon wegen des Wiedererkennungswertes, aber auch aus rein praktischen Gründen. So bieten die Karten die richtige Über- und Ansicht, die es für den Spielablauf braucht.Die Regeln sind Friese’isch typisch für ein schnelles Drüberfliegen nicht geeignet („hä?“), aber bei sorgfältigem Studium offenbaren sich die leichten Unterschiede und zwangsläufigen Anpassungen an das Spielmedium Karten als gut durchdacht („achso!“), wie an sich alle 2F-Spiele *G*.Und wenn dann auch die leicht aufwendigeren Vorbereitungen abgeschlossen sind, kann das Spiel angegangen werden^^.Das entpuppt sich nach ein paar Runden als eine tolle und schnelle Alternative zum Brettspiel, bleibt aber beim Kraftwerksersteigern und Rohstoffkauf ebenfalls immer spannend und bis zum Schluss kann sich das Blatt durchaus jederzeit wenden. Denn erst mit der letzten Runde werden die Siegpunkte ermittelt und da kann so mancher Sparfuchs doch noch plötzlich punkten und echte Wirtschaftsbosse, die permanent die Kraftwerke wechselten, um ja auch den letzten Elektro (die Währung im Spiel) heraus zu kitzeln, alt aussehen lassen – pro 10 Elektro gibt es 1 Siegpunkt und so ergab es sich in einem Testspiel, dass ein Kraftwerksbaron in der letzten Runde für sein Uranwerk keine Rohstoffe mehr hatte und dafür dann keine Punkte erhielt und der Sparfuchs locker mit seiner Haushaltskasse an diesem vorbeizog.Im Spiel muss also immer gut geschaut werden, dass die Pläne für die Anschaffung neuer Kraftwerke (man darf immer nur max. 3 auf einmal besitzen) sich mit dem aktuellen Rohstoffmarkt vertragen und das Rohstoffportfolio sollte mit der Spielerreihenfolge harmonieren, sonst geht man u.U. leer aus bzw. kann die eigenen Kraftwerke nicht „befeuern“ – der Rohstoffmarkt wird immer erst am Ende der Runde aufgefrischt, was also bis dahin verkauft ist, [...]

Review: Dungeon Twister: Fire and Water:: Rekindling Old Flames: SiO2 45–55 wt% & H2O (Critique bilingue Français & English)

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:50:23 +0000

by GoldSirius To read my review of the base game: read my review of Paladins & Dragons: read my review of the 3/4 Players Expansion: française ci-dessous.)Dungeon Twister expansions came out at a phenomenal speed, but that’s not surprising, considering that Christophe Boelinger has already stated in an interview that he had 24 expansions ready before the base game was even published…! Despite this rushed feeling, every Dungeon Twister expansion feels like it was extensively playtested and tweaked for the ultimate gameplay experience, which is more than can be said of most games that are released today. So many Kickstarters, yet so little games that will stand the test of time.Interestingly, Fire & Water is called Water & Fire (L’eau et le feu) in French. Why was the wording switched for English? Who knows? A quick Google search gives me 28,700,000 results for “fire and water” and only 13,000,000 for “water and fire,” but that’s still a pretty considerable number.Also interestingly, although labeled as expansion #3 in English, it came out after expansion #4, Forces of Darkness. Fire & Water is widely considered to be the toughest expansion in all of DT, so maybe Asmodée thought native English speakers weren’t as smart as native French speakers? Again, who knows? (I kid.)Moreover, the English version of the game came with an extra pair of rooms, rooms P2, as some kind of freebie that was not included in the French version.This new expansion features, as is the norm for DT, eight new characters, six new colored objects (and more if you count the neutral ones), four new pairs of rooms, a whole lot of new terrain elements, and two starting zones. Rules are also starting to get more complicated, and there’s only so much the character standees can tell you about what’s legal and what’s not.New terrain elementsWater: To move into water, you have to spend 1 AP for every water space you move into. It makes water a very costly means of transportation. You also can’t carry any items into water. Water also protects from fire (Wizard’s fireball or Dragon’s fire breath, for example). You can, however, rope or jump across water spaces.Lava: Lava kills. Period. Only the Fire Elemental (in ALL of DT) can ever sojourn on lava spaces. Small bridges: Small bridges can only be crossed by characters of strength 3 or less. In this expansion, it means that every character can cross small bri[...]

Review: Cry Havoc:: Quick opinion on cry Havoc

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:32:51 +0000

by Yaban Jin There are a bunch of reviews around, both text and video for Cry Havoc already, but with games with so much hype behind them, there is inevitable backlash against the hype divided opinion and a tough time for buyers to make up their mind and work out who's opinion might best predict their own. So, with that in mind i offer my quick, sequential opinion on the game after 5 plays.UNBOXING and GAME 1:My friend/roommate/mortal-enemy-in-the-race-for-gems bought the game. I was excited, having heard Tom Vassel's rave review where he was almost visibly frothing at the mouth. opening the box, everything looked great. The board is double sided (one side for a 2 player game and one side for a 3-4 player game), thick cardboard and the miniatures looked really cool and added some more immersion into the theme. I'm not usually a big miniatures guy, for some bizarre reason thinking that they are more geeky (though I know it's completely irrational), but i really appreciated the miniatures, even though they are all the same within each faction (except for one human who was slanted and looked like he was stumbling around drunkenly, haha).So, unboxing = impressed, more excited.We played the first game. My friend had read the rules, forums, strategies etc extensively before starting, so that helped a lot. I cannot comment on the rulebook as I haven't so much as glanced at it. I am writing from the perspective of someone who was taught this game. I have heard, from my friend and from forums, that the rulebook is vague,silent, confusing or ambiguous in places. Various examples of this popped up in our first game which required notes to be taken for further clarification on the interwebs later.Regardless of hiccups with minor rules queries, we both really enjoyed the first game. 2 players. Machines vs. Pilgrims. Pilgrims came out with a tight win. Miniatures, gems, Trogs popping up on the board made for a fun atmosphere. The tightness of play forced on you by having a limited hand of cards across your 3 actions per round, as well as having to choose one series of actions only from all the possibilities on each card is frustrating, but in that good, tense decision making way.The battle system, of having area control within area control was interesting and made the battles tighter and tenser than they might appear on the board.First game = fun, with a few minor hiccups.GAME 2We had stumbled through our first game and enjoyed it. We had only included the starting, simplified default skill cards...but actually hadn't even used those, because we were busy trying to work out the rest of[...]

Review: Good Cop Bad Cop:: For the Meeple, by the Meeple (Review of Good Cop, Bad Cop)

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:01:56 +0000

by MariettaTennis BOX ARTWho can you trust? Who wants to shoot you dead? Good Cop, Bad Cop will have you asking these questions and hopefully answering them before you're a goner.QUICK FACTS:Style of Game: Party, Social Deduction Play Time: 10 minutesTheme: Dare I say... Good Cop, Bad Cop??? Number of Players: 4-8Main Mechanics: Hand Management, Memory, Partnerships, Player Elimination, and Take That Components: OkayWeight: Very LightTHEME AND MECHANISMS: - Good Cop, Bad Cop pits good cops and bad cops against one another, who knew?... - This is not an overused theme but it is quite similar to many of the themes used in the social deduction genre. - Some of the mechanisms (Take That, Partnerships, Player Elimination) paint the picture that is the classic scene where everyone is pointing a gun at someone, wondering who to shoot. - Overall, the theme is probably on the higher end of immersive in relationship to other social deduction games that tend to become more focused on the deduction necessary to win, than the theme itself. I believe that it because of the components. The cards are constantly bringing some aspect of the theme to the player's attention, and the fake guns are often pointed at someone. Created a "tense" feel. GAMEPLAY OVERVIEW (In five sentences or less):Players will be given three cards (face down) that tell them whether they are a good guy or a bad guy. Players will then attempt to deduce who is on their team. However, players will have equipment cards available to them to change the loyalty of other players or to disrupt the actions of other players. If successful, players will get their hands on the guns in the middle of the table and use them to take out players they believe are on the other team. The game ends if one team can take out the "Leader" of the other team. Rules Clarification:- The only noteworthy rule to mention here is that one player will receive an AGENT card that will mean he or she is definitely good and one player will receive a KINGPIN card that means he or she is definitely bad. Everyone else relies on a majority rules concept for the three cards they receive (Good/Bad)ASSESSMENTMy assessment of board games is broken into three core areas: Depth of Strategy, Replayability, and Quality of Design. Depth of Strategy Good Cop doesn't offer deep strategy by any means, but in my opinion, when you include card play, you typically have to make decent decisions or strategic decisions. On top of the card play, Good Cop, Bad Cop tackles the social deduction genre differently than most of the hidden role/social ded[...]

Review: Brew Crafters:: Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Crafting Beer With Two

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:54:58 +0000

by milenaguberinic Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Crafting Beer With Two The OverviewIn Brew Crafters, you will become the proud owner of a beer brewery! Your goal is to become the most reputable brewer by developing your brewing line, managing skilled and brewery workers, as well as your ingredient supply, and brewing the most valuable beer. Brew Crafters is a complex game that requires a relatively extensive setup and rules explanation. I will only present a general overview of the 2-player version of the game here.To set up the game, you will create a display of 9 random skilled worker cards, 2 local partnership cards, and 9 beer cards. The beer cards are arranged in a 3x3 grid, with the top three beer cards always being Pleasantly Porter, Everyday Ale, and Simply Stout. Below each of these, you will place two more beers of the same type (porter, ale, and stout), arranged in ascending reputation point order.At the start of the game, you will receive 2 player boards. One is your research lab and the other your brewery. You will start with 2 market workers and 1 brewery worker and $6. Brew Crafters is played over 12 rounds, which are split into seasons. There are 3 seasons in the game. In each season, you will:1) Restock the market board, adding ingredients and cash to restocking spaces2) Take market actions - In turn order, you will alternate placing your market workers on the market board to take market actions. Once one action has been taken, it cannot be taken by another player until the next round. Market actions include:A) Take the first player marker and any cash on the space or form a local partnership, gaining one of the local partnership cardsB) Hire a new brewery shift worker or hire a skilled worker, taking the card from the displayC) Take ingredients or cash 3) Take brewery actions - Players don't block each other on the brewery board, so you are free to take any brewery action you please with the brewery shift workers you have. Brewery actions are:A) Process beer - This action takes place over three phases. First, you must sell any beer you have in your bottling plant, gaining $2 for each batch sold. Then, you must shift any beer you have in your brewing area to your bottling area. Then, you brew one batch into each empty fermentation tank you have, returning ingredients required for that type of beer to the supply. In order to brew recipes in the second and third recipe rows, you must have brewed the higher (simpler) recipes of the corresponding types beforehand. B) Lab research - Your lab features 4 trac[...]

Review: Tiny Epic Galaxies:: Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Tiny Epic Galaxies With Two

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:54:52 +0000

by milenaguberinic Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Tiny Epic Galaxies With Two The Overview In Tiny Epic Galaxies, you will become a brave space pirate (you get to be a pirate in my version of the story ), taking over planets and trying to outrace your opponents to nab the biggest chunk of the planetary pie! Dice will be your friends (or enemies ), helping you accomplish your goals by allowing you to move your ships, acquire resources, advance colonization of planets, and use colonies you already have.To set up the game, you will give each player 2 mission cards from which to select 1, a galaxy mat, 4 ships, an empire token, an energy token, and a culture token. You will start the game with 2 energy and 1 culture and on the first space of your empire track. The empire track determines how many dice you will roll each turn and how many ships you will have at your disposal. Over the course of the game, you will be able to upgrade this parameter in order to increase the number of dice you roll, the number of ships you have, AND the number of points you have.You will reveal a number of planets from the planet deck equal to the number of players + 2.You will also place on the table a Control Mat that shows an "Activation Bay" and a "Converter." Each turn, you will first roll the number of dice you are entitled to roll. At the beginning of the game, you will roll 4 dice. You may then re-roll any number of dice once for free and spend 1 energy per additional re-roll. You may also place any two dice in the "Converter" to change another die to show the face you desire. Next, you will activate your dice one by one by placing them in the "Activation Bay." After each activation, any player may choose to follow your action by spending 1 culture. Dice actions are as follows:1. Move a ship to a planet's surface to activate the planet's effect OR move a ship to a planet's orbit, placing it on the starting position of the planet's colony track.2. Acquire resources - When you activate an energy die, you acquire energy equal to the number of ships you have on energy planets. When you activate a culture die, you acquire culture equal to the number of ships you have on culture planets.3. Advance colonization - When you activate a diplomacy die, you can move one of your ships located on the colonization track on a diplomacy planet one space forward. When you activate an economy die, you can move one of your ships located on the colonization track of an economy planet one space forward. If you reach the end of the col[...]

Review: Arcane Academy:: Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Arcane Academy With Two

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:54:46 +0000

by milenaguberinic Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Arcane Academy With TwoThe OverviewArcane Academy is a "tile-linking game of magic and wizardry." In this game, you and your friends take on the roles of magicians striving to come out on top in their final exams. You create a tableau of action tiles and activate these to gain will and shards, expand your tableau, activate items, and complete assignments. At the start of the game, you will receive a slate that features 4 pre-printed action ties. You will also receive 3 shards, 3 will, and 3 assignment cards. Three is the magic number when it comes to setting up this game! You will also create a common pool consisting of 4 face-up action tiles and 4 face-up assignment cards in the center of the table.Each turn, you must either cast or reset.*CAST - When casting, you must choose a non-exhausted action tile in your tableau and execute its action, followed by the action of each directly linked, orthogonality adjacent tile. Tiles are considered to be linked when they show complete circles between each other. Then, you must place an exhaustion token on the tile you activated.Actions include collecting the number of shards and/or will shown, using an item with a "use" symbol and performing its action, completing an assignment by returning the number of shards/will shown to the supply and executing the card's effect, and adding a tile to your tableau.*RESET - When resetting, you remove all exhaustion tokens from your tableau and may discard one of your assignment cards to draw a new one from the deck. The game ends when one player has completed 8 assignments. The round is finished and the game ends when that player has played another final turn. The player with the most VP as shown on completed assignments wins!"Item" assignments"Spell" assignmentsThe ReviewPlayed prior to review 7x 1. CuteArcane Academy is beautifully illustrated to appeal to a broad audience. It is colorful, cute, and fun and I'm certain the style will appeal to kids and adults alike. The only piece of art in the game I don't like is the "pencils down" card, which looks completely out of place with its muted colors and non-cartoony style, but that is so minor and completely irrelevant given how gorgeous all the other cards are. 2. Short play timeWith two players, this takes about 20 minutes to play, which is perfect for a good light-medium-weight game. 3. Simple rules and few components create a surprising number of decision points Arcane Academy features s[...]

Review: Kings of Air and Steam:: Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Kings of Air and Steam With Two

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:54:40 +0000

by milenaguberinic Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Kings of Air and Steam With Two The OverviewKings of Air and Steam is a movement-programming, pick-up-and deliver game in which you aim to deliver the most valuable goods to the cities that want them while upgrading your air ship and railway network to facilitate that task.At the start of the game, you will receive a role card, a player board, and matching set of movement cards, as well as an air ship and depot tokens. You will also get $12. Movement cardsWhen playing with two players, the game board is comprised of 3 boards and 3 bumpers. Each factory on the board is populated with one good of its type and players get to build a depot between two cities and place their airships on the same space at the start of the game.The market board shows the values of goods and their availability in future rounds. Each round, you will first draw 3 new market tiles, place them in bins on the market board, and increase the price of the good types associated with those tiles. Next, you will secretly plan your ship's movement by selecting 4 cards from your movement card deck, placing them in the slots on your player board. After this, all players will simultaneously reveal their first movement cards. Some cards have diamonds on them. You must have upgraded your airship to have at least as much diamond capacity as the number of diamonds shown in your movement card or forfeit your action. Turn order is determined by the letters on the cards and proceeds in alphabetical order. The first player must first move her ship the exact number of spaces shown on her card, may pick up or drop off goods to her depot or pick them up from a factory, and may then execute an action. Actions include:*Building a depot - Pay $4 to build a depot on a link that doesn't have any opponent depots on it or $7 otherwise*Upgrading your airship - Pay the cost shown to upgrade your airship to the next level in order to increase your ability to play movement cards showing diamonds and increase your airship's capacity.*Upgrading your train - Pay the cost shown to upgrade your train and increase the distance over which you can ship goods.*Shipping goods - Choose one good type located on one of your depots and ship it to a city that takes that type of good to gain cash equivalent to the current market value of the good type.Luxury city! *Adjusting your route - Move your airship one space.*Soliciting funds - Take $3.After everyone has perfor[...]

Review: Heir to the Pharaoh:: Mina's Mini Review - A Beautiful Game

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:54:32 +0000

by milenaguberinic Mina's Mini Review - A Beautiful Game The OverviewHeir to the Pharaoh is a two-player auction game in which one player takes on the role of the Egyptian God, Bast, and the other of the Egyptian god, Anubis. To set up the game, the base of the pyramid is placed so that it covers at least once space on the river. Then, animal magic tokens are placed on the board so that they are at least 2 spaces apart. A deck of monument cards is shuffled and the top 3 cards revealed with a monument token on top of it. MonumentsYou start the game with a nearly identical set of bidding cards. Numbered 1 through 10, the bidding cards have the same values in both players' decks, but they differ in the symbol they show, with the sun breaking ties. Each round, you use your bidding cards to place secret bids on action cards (God cards). Then, you use the God cards to perform the actions shown on them in numerical order. The player who won the bid for the card is the only one who will get to execute the action.Actions include placing monuments on the board, placing your tokens on said monuments to claim ownership of them and score points, placing your tokens on a sun track that wraps around the board to score one (or two) points immediately and score twice the value of your longest unbroken chain at the end of the game, gaining animal magic cards you can use to gain special abilities in future bidding rounds, gaining monument cards you can score immediately in a set-collection fashion. One action card is special because it does not allow you to perform an action each round. This is the pharaoh card and it determines which player will get to contribute to the building of the pyramid on the board. Each player will place a bidding card under the pyramid each round, but the pharaoh card will only score every second round. The player who has the highest valued bidding card total will get to build a level of the pyramid and score points for doing so, with higher levels being worth more points.At the end of the action phase, you will exchange the cards you used in the bidding phase with your opponent and go through the same bidding and action execution process.The game ends after 8 rounds, at which point you gain points for the monuments you own, the contribution you made to building the pyramid, any remaining animal magic cards, and your longest unbroken chain of tokens on the sun track. The ReviewPlayed prior to review 5x[...]

Review: A Feast for Odin:: sennaho's impressions of A Feast for Odin

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 05:17:52 +0000

by sennaho Spiel 2016 is over (I followed it from my apartment and dreamed of being there) and a lot of this years biggest releases has seen the light of day. One game that a lot of people is looking forward to, is the new, huge game from Uwe Rosenberg, A Feast for Odin. The game has been in the work for many years, and it even spawned a smaller game, Patchwork out of it’s mechanics. Now that the game is released: How is it? Is it worth the hype? Let’s take a look at it!First of all, I am no Uwe fanboy. I do own quite a few of his games, but none of them are my all time favorites. I have only played Agricola a couple of times, and It’s not my favorite. Caverna is more up my alley, and I have enjoyed it the times I have played it, even though it’s one one I will choose to play too often, I would play it if it get’s chosen at a game night or other event. I have enjoyed Patchwork quite a bit as a small 2 player game even though my gf is a lot better at it and almost always wins. I haven’t played Glass Road in quite some time, but I did enjoy it, especially as a 2 player game. So, as you can see, I enjoy most of the Uwe games that I have played, but I have not played them all, so you can take that into consideration if you want when reading this review. ComponentsLet’s start off with a little look at the components. Or, to be more presise, let’s start with a look at the box. The box is huge. I remember how big I thought Caverna was when I got it, and this one is even larger. There are many game boxes that are bigger than this, for example the big FFG games. The difference has to be that the games like Caverna and Feast for Odin actually needs the space inside the box, not only around or below 50% of it. So, as you might guess, there are a lot of pieces in the box. This might be one of the games I own with the most individual pieces. With 16 punchboards and hundreds of tiles in different sizes, I used around 30-40 minutes punching and sorting it all. I really enjoy that sort of activity, but I know some people might find it long. The cardboard is pretty standard thick and feels nice. Both the tiles, the player board and everything else you will interact with is both appealing to look at, and feels good to touch and manipulate. As a lot of this game revolves around taking and switching tiles, you get two big trays to organize and fit all the tiles in. This makes the set up a[...]

Review: The Heroes of Kaskaria:: "Die Helden von Kaskaria" - a conclusion (german)

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 05:17:37 +0000

by Brakus Review-Fazit zu „Die Helden von Kaskaria“, einem rasanten Abenteuerspiel.[Infos]für: 2-4 Spielerab: 6 Jahrenca.-Spielzeit: 20min.Autor: Benjamin SchwerIllustration: Jann KerntkeVerlag: HABAAnleitung: deutsch, englisch, französisch, holländisch, spanisch, italienischMaterial: sprachneutral[Download: Anleitung]dt., engl., frz., span., ital., holl.: (s. Links rechts der Produktdetails)[Fazit]„DHvK“ ist wieder einmal ein wunderschön gestaltetes Abenteuerspiel von HABA, bei dem natürlich auch die Qualität der Spielmaterialien stimmt.Im Wettlauf gegeneinander versuchen die Spieler mit einer ihrer 2 getrennt antretenden Figuren die Höhle der bösen Trolle zu erreichen, um das gestohlene, sagenhafte Amulett wieder zu erlangen. Dazu müssen sie Karten ausspielen und auf dem Weg Goldstücke einsammeln, welche die Belohnung für die tapferen Helden darstellen.Es gilt also passende Karten zu sammeln und diese zum richtigen Zeitpunkt auszuspielen, dabei können sich die Helden aber nicht in die Quere kommen, daher spielen sich die Runden eher harmlos, aber das passt ja zur Zielgruppe, die mit dem Drumherum eh wunderbar abgelenkt ist. Das seichte Spielprinzip bleibt bis zum Schluss bestehen, wenn ein Spieler die Höhle als Erster erreicht hat. Die Variante für erfahrenere Spieler offeriert die Möglichkeit schneller voranzuschreiten beim Ausspielen gleicher Karten und auch mehr Gold auf einmal einsammeln zu können. Dies macht das Spiel aber eigentlich nicht schwerer, sondern nur schneller – die Kids wird es aber nicht stören^^.Ein einfaches Spiel mit schnellem Zugang und Ablauf bei schöner Umgebung, kindgerecht, familientauglich und wertigem Material, dies bietet „DHvK“ für den geneigten Käufer und enttäuscht auf dieser Ebene keineswegs.[Note]4 von 6 Punkten. [Links]BGG: n/a[Galerie] [...]

Review: Swordfish at Taranto:: Review of Minden Games Swordfish at Taranto

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 04:51:58 +0000

by stephen451 I have a lovely collection of war games diligently built up over the past few years. Unfortunately with young children and a time sucking job I have rarely played my games. I decided that I would! And so I pulled out the little zip lock with Swordfish at Taranto and started to play. First of all the components. Minden produce counters on thin cardboard which you need to cut out and mount. I actually like their warship counters in games such as Salvo etc but graphically the swordfish counters were a little poor. However the map though small (A5 we would call it in Europe) is a beautiful little map. It perfectly represents the harbour at Taranto and contributes to the overall narrative of the game. You then plan the raid. Rather nicely the author included the original details from the raid so you can replay that. If not you can plan the raid yourself. Once the raid is planned you take off from the carrier (H.M.S Illustrious). Some aircraft may hit problems and will be forced to return!You then arrive at the harbour and move to your assigned positions. You have two waves of aircraft. Not surprisingly Wave 1 attacks first followed by Wave 2. The defences at the harbour are modelled with the harbour being at different levels of alert, density of barrage balloons and deployment of torpedo nets all being variable. Again the historical settings are given but you can roll on a table to get different outcomes.The aircraft then individually perform their attacks. For those of you without an inner narrative voice there is a table with appropriate text to help you get into the mood (Think the trench run from Star Wars). There are a number of incidents such as anti aircraft fire, selecting the target and if you are hit, do you bail (Like Wedge) or do you press home the attack against all the odds like the plucky Fleet Air Arm pilot that you are.Once the waves are all carried out their attacks you try and get home back to the carrier.The game is a very enjoyable way to pass an hour. Quick to set up with a small footprint, it really makes you think that you are in charge of the attack. The detail in the rules is excellent. The rules are very well written and easy to follow with little ambiguity. I have also recently being playing Silent Victory: U.S. Submarines in the Pacific, 1941-45 and although produced at vastly differen[...]

Review: Kanagawa:: German review

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 22:32:56 +0000

by Vblade For the original review including many pictures go to: Spiel für 2-4 SpielerIn Kanagawa versuchen die Spieler, durch das geschickte Platzieren von Karten das wertvollste Gemälde zu malen, um sich so die Gunst des Meisters zu sichern.Spielmaterial und -aufbauZunächst mal vorweg – Iello hat dieses Jahr das erste mal mehrere Spiele direkt selbst auf deutsch herausgebracht. Das war für mich der Ausschlag, mich bereits im Vorfeld etwas genauer mit den diesjährigen Neuheiten auseinanderzusetzen. Vor allem die unglaublich detailverliebte und schöne Grafik der Spiele hatte es mir schnell angetan. Zu Kanagawa habe ich im Vorfeld nicht so viele Informationen gefunden, sodass ich es auf der Messe ausprobiert habe. Nach einer Partie zu viert haben wir alle beschlossen, das Spiel zu kaufen und bisher bereue ich es nicht.Hingucker bei Kanagawa sind zum einen die kleinen, hölzernen Farbtöpfe und zum anderen ist es die schöne Bambusmatte, die als Kartenauslage fungiert. Die Karten sind schön detailliert gezeichnet und fügen sich nebeneinander gelegt zu einem großen Gemälde zusammen. Die verschiedenen Diplome und die Startateliers der Spieler sind aus dicker, stabiler Pappe.Zu Beginn des Spiels erhält jeder Spieler zufällig eines der Startateliers und 2 Farbtöpfe. Die Diplome werden alle nach Farben sortiert bereitgelegt und auf dem Spielplan wird die erste Reihe mit Karten aufgefüllt.SpielablaufIst ein Spieler am Zug, kann er sich entscheiden, Karten zu nehmen oder abzuwarten. Nimmt er Karten, muss er alle Karten einer Spalte nehmen und bei sich anlegen. Nimmt er keine Karten, ist der nächste Spieler mit seiner Entscheidung an der Reihe. Wenn sich alle Spieler entschieden haben und noch nicht alle Spieler karten genommen haben, wird unter den verbleibenden Karten die nächste Reihe mit Karten aufgefüllt. Dabei ist wichtig, dass manche Karten offen, manche jedoch verdeckt bereitgelegt werden. Je länger ein Spieler also mit dem Nehmen der Karten wartet, desto mehr Karten bekommt er. Es wird allerdings auch immer unwahrscheinlicher, genau die Karten zu bekommen, die man gerne haben möchte. Am Ende einer Runde hat jeder Spieler genau einmal eine Spalte mit Karten genommen.Das Anlegen der Karten bietet zwei Möglichkeiten: Entweder ich lege si[...]

Review: Vampire Hunter:: The perfect Halloween game for non-gamers

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 22:32:46 +0000

by chiefsachem Enough with the trash talk on how bad this game is. It's not meant to compete with Fury of Dracula nor is it intended to be a substitute indoor activity during an afternoon delight. This is a horror game meant to play in the dark, I mean really DARK! The premise is quite simple. Be the first pawn to reach the coffin before the ship reaches the tower. This means you and your partners only have about 6 turns each to accomplish this feat while navigating through traps, secret passages, and MONSTERS. I'm talking about vampires, werewolves, & zombies. If you fail to get a hit on them you are sent back to the starting point in the area you are exploring. Worst yet, if you haven't picked up the appropriate weapon under the advanced rules you can't even fight the monster. All this is designed to delay your journey to the inevitable conclusion of fighting Count Darkulus while he is in his coffin. It takes 3 hits to defeat him. The one who succeeds the third hit is the winner! Huzzah.Because this is a race against the game's system, gameplay is relatively quick, about 30 minutes. On your turn you flip a card that determines whether gameplay is occurring at night or at daytime. If daytime, you are safe and need to move as quickly as possible to find your weapons. You only need to pick 3 unique weapons, the garlic, the stake, and the sword. Any one of them can be used to attack Count Darkus, but in the advanced version the right weapon is needed to defeat the right monster. Monsters are represented by tiles which are flipped over when you end your move adjacent to a tile. During the daytime, the tiles are pretty innocuous. If not weapons, then it's usually a villager, monument, or mist. But at night they turn into a werewolf, zombie, or vampire which can certainly slow down your journey to the crypt where Drakus lies. Battles are simple and quick. One roll of the black die determines if you win or lose. Win and the monster tile is removed resulting in a clear passage for your fellow hunters. Lose and you end up wasting time only to go back and try again if you must. If that was all there was to this game it would be pretty lame, but the changing tower lights is a fun novelty and it sets the atmosphere with its eerie lighting. It's even better if you play Halloween music in[...]

Review: Deus: Egypt:: "Deus Egypt" - a conclusion (german)

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 22:26:29 +0000

by Brakus „DEUS – EGYPT“ – FAZITReview-Fazit zu „Deus Egypt“, der ersten Erweiterung zum Aufbauspiel „Deus„.[Infos]für: 2-4 Spielerab: 14 Jahrenca.-Spielzeit: 60-90min.Autor: Sébastien DujardinIllustration: Maëva da Silva, Christine Deschamps und Ian ParovelVerlag: Asmodee (Pearl Games)Anleitung: deutschMaterial: deutsch[Download: Anleitung]engl., frz.: (s. Link ganz unten)[Fazit]Diese Erweiterung bringt die ägyptische Dynastie ins Spiel und dazu 96 neue Karten aus den bekannten Resorts (Produktionsgebäude, Seefahrtsgebäude, Wissenschaftsgebäude, Zivilgebäude, Militäreinheiten, Tempel). Die Spieler können sich anfänglich entscheiden, ob sie alle Karten gegen die aus dem Grundspiel tauschen oder nur diejenigen bestimmter Farben, z.B. nur alle Produktions- und Wissenschaftsgebäude-Karten. Jedes der neuen Karten-Sets variiert bzw. ergänzt die Grundregeln ein wenig, der generelle Spielablauf bleibt aber der gleiche!Eine Neuerung bringen die Karten (bis auf die Zivilgebäudekarten) gleich noch mit, die „1x“-Fähigkeit, welche am oberen Rand der Karten zu finden ist und es dem jeweiligen Spieler erlaubt diesen Effekt EINmal pro Partie(!) einzusetzen – vor oder nach dem Standarteffekt.Für das Bauen neuer Gebäude gibt es nun eine weitere Bedingung, die vorgibt, wie viele Gebäude die im Zielgebiet schon stehen müssen.Die einzelnen Sets erweitern das Spielerlebnis dann ungemein, z.B. der Bereich Seefahrt verfügt nun über ein Marktplättchen, welches den Kauf- und Verkaufswert der Rohstoffe bestimmt. Die Produktionsgebäudekarten bringen Barken(plättchen) mit, die zur Zwischenlagerung von mehr Rohstoffen dienen, aber auch diese müssen bis Zugende richtig eingelagert werden, da sie sonst verfallen. Bei Verwendung der neuen Zivilgebäude erhalten die Spieler noch sogenannte Schreibermarker, welcher immer beim Bau eines neuen Gebäudes daruntergelegt werden muss und dann Bezug auf viele Standardeffekte nimmt. Die neuen (roten) Militärkarten ergänzen das Spiel um je 5 Kampfmarker pro Spieler, die diese z.B. zum forschen Bewegen über die „Landkarte“ nutzen können oder um unbesetzte Gebiete zu[...]

Review: RONE:: Rone" - a conclusion (german)

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 22:26:24 +0000

by Brakus Review-Fazit zu „Rone“, einem kampfbetonten Deckbauspiel.[Infos]für: 2 oder 4 Spielerab: 14 Jahrenca.-Spielzeit: 30-45min.Autor: Štěpán ŠtefaníkIllustration: Štěpán ŠtefaníkVerlag: self-publishedAnleitung: englischMaterial: englisch[Download: Anleitung]engl..:, engl., tschech.:[Fazit]„Rone“ ist ein Deckbuilding-Kampfspiel, wie es hiervon schon viele gibt. „Rone“ setzt sich dabei aber durch sein Thema, gesetzt in einem post-apokalyptischen Szenario, und der eher unüblichen Lebenspunkte-Verknüpfung mit dem Kartendeck, ab.Die Karten sind grandios gezeichnet, wollen aber richtig gelesen werden, denn es gibt viele Symbole zu kennen bzw. zu beachten und es braucht eine gewisse Zeit, bis man hiermit die richtigen Taktiken für sich findet. Ein Spiel für Einsteiger ist „Rone“ eher nicht.So ist auch die Anleitung, zwar recht gut geschrieben, aber sehr umfangreich und verlangt teils mehrmaliges Nachlesen, bis die vielen Optionen und Hinweise auch am Spieltisch ankommen und verstanden wurden. Haben sich aber einmal alle durchgebissen und ihren „Wohlfühl“-Platz in der Spielmechanik gefunden, entfaltet sich, insbesondere mit der Erweiterung und ihren neuen Kartentechniken, ein herrlich umfangreiches Kartenspiel mit vielen Kampfrunden und wiederholbaren Partien. Denn immer weiter möchte man dann doch in das Spielgeschehen vordringen und die vielen, verschiedenen Möglichkeiten ausloten.So bleibt auf jeden Fall ein gutes Deck-Spiel mit spannender Geschichte und viel Abwechslung, sobald man sich komplett darauf eingelassen und die Mechanik verinnerlicht hat.[Fotos zur Erweiterung ab Bild 27!][Note]4 von 6 Punkten. [Links]BGG: n/a[Galerie] [...]

Review: Het Koninkrijk Dominion:: An introduction to a gateway game - As a Board Gamer Reviews - #157 - Het Koninkrijk Dominion

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 21:47:03 +0000

by rvlieshout I just came back from a short vacation in sunny Spain. Possibly played my game of the year there. A review of that game can be read later in the month. I also played another game. And that's the game I'm going to discus here. It's 'het Koninkrijk Dominion' from 999 Games, which translates into Kingdom Dominion for those from around the globe.This is a copy of an As a Board Gamer (LINK) article (October 3rd, 2016 )You can find a geeklist of all my reviews HERE.I was very sceptical about this game. Well not about the game itself, I like Dominion a lot, but about the version. I initially thought 'het Koninkrijk Dominion' was a money grab. It's marketed as an introductory set for Dominion. What a laugh! The base set of Dominion is already an introductory set. Dominion Intrigue was already an introductory set. How family friendly do you want to be? What more do you need to introduce?What else.What?Except that, this new introductory game is a cheaper. It’s in a smaller box. It has a mix of kingdom cards that you now from Dominion and all its expansions. Maybe it is a better idea to market it as ‘The best of Dominion’. Something like that.The box holds fewer cards than the normal big box of Dominion. Fewer cards per type, fewer overall. It also has a slightly different rule-set because of that. You cannot buy copper during the game, you only get it in your starting hand. You also have only the duchy and province cards as victory point cards to buy. You only get estates in your starting hand. And there are only eight cards per type of card, so the playtime is a little less than basic Dominion.How to play Dominion? Maybe you should go to this review to read how.The cards in this game (Library, Farming Village, Bridge, Cellar, Rabble, Harem, Sage, Crossroads, Steward, Treasury, Smugglers, Militia, Remodel, Market, Mine and the Witch. Did I forget any?) are chosen from the other sets, because they are relatively friendly, and therefore more suitable for children.That's true, there are no curses in here, you can do your thing, all in peace. Sometimes you have to put cards from your hand to your discard pile, but that's not too bad. However, was basic Dominion especially known for its vicio[...]

Review: Saint Petersburg (second edition):: An oldie in new furs - As a Board Gamer Reviews - #156 - Saint Petersburg (second edition)

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 21:46:55 +0000

by rvlieshout Saint Petersburg is an older game, twelve years old to be precise. Published in 2004, but in 2014 they've released a second edition, which added new modules to the game and updated the artwork. Let’s take a look at this game from Bernd Brunnhofer and Karl-Heinz Schmiel.This is a copy of an As a Board Gamer (LINK) article (September 26, 2016 )You can find a geeklist of all my reviews HERE.A round in the base game is divided into four phases and during each phase the market is filled up with cards of a specific type. There’s the worker phase, the building phase, the aristocrat phase and the exchange phase. All cards cost you money, but will also give you money or points at the end of the different phases. Worker cards ‘produce’ at the end of the worker phase, buildings give you stuff at the end of the building phase and aristocrats give points or money at the end of the aristocrat phase. At the end of the exchange phase you won’t get anything.Exchange cards are special anyway because these can be buildings, workers or aristocrats and you can exchange this card with a card of the same type that you already have in front of you. You only have to pay the difference in value between the two cards.The card market works in a special way. It consist of two rows. During the current round you will place cards in the top row, phase after phase, and after a round ends you will move the cards that are left in the top row to the bottom row, removing all cards that were left in the bottom row. For cards in the bottom row you have to pay one coin less.Every phase you will draw cards from the corresponding deck until a certain amount of cards is displayed on the board. So, if players buy no cards during the building phase, for instance, no new aristocrat cards will be added to the board in that phase.In general the worker cards will give you money during the game, buildings give you points and aristocrats give a bit of both. But remember, only at the end of that phase. So, if you spend all you money during the building phase, there’s a good chance that you can’t buy anything good during the coming aristocrat, exchange and new worker phase. Or you have a good a[...]

Review: Death Pit Duels:: Radio Review #104 - Death Pit Duels

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 21:45:55 +0000

by radiofyr309 Death Pit Duels (2016 - Frost Forge Games)"I need never get old....In 2013, designer Bryan Johnson successfully crowd-funded his first game, Island Fortress through Kickstarter. Since then he's turned his company, Frost Forge Games' focus to Gamecrafter, an online print-on-demand service for board and card games. Earlier this year, Frost Forge Games published Aviary, it's first release using the Gamecrafter model. A neat trick-taking game in which players are attempting to take tricks that will benefit them versus tricks that could negatively impact them, all revolved around the theme of bird-watching.Frost Forge Games newest title on Gamecrafter, entitled Death Pit Duels was released in August of this year. With charming artwork from Alisha Volkman, Death Pit Duels is a two-player head-to-head card battle game that focuses heavily on hand management and also contains some card drafting elements. In Death Pit Duels, players will form a team of 12 fighters amongst 4 different races (cyclops, goblins, humans, and orcs) using this drafting mechanic. Each fighter contains a different combat value and possibly a special ability. Players will play fighters from their hand along with a hidden duel card (adding 1 to 12 combat value to the fighter) one at a time and face off against the opponent's fighters. The winner of a particular duel will receive a gold reward determined before the duel began. Once a fighter and duel card combination have been played, they are removed from the game. After players have exhausted all 12 fighters the game ends and the player with the most gold wins. Components- Duel cards- Fighter cards (Cyclops, Goblins, Humans, and Orcs)- Prisoner cards- Coin cards- DiceSetupAt the beginning of the game, players will draft fighters, compiling a team of 12 warriors to use in the match. To do this, the deck of Fighter cards are shuffled and placed face down in the middle of the table. The deck consist of Cyclops, Goblin, Human, and Orc warriors, all with various combat values and special abilities. In order to draft a team, the top 5 cards are drawn and placed face up in a horizontal row.The first player will choose t[...]

Review: Thunder in the East:: Playtesters first look at TITE

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 20:06:18 +0000

by norun Note: This introductory review is using play testing components and rules. These may change in the final product.A MONSTER THAT IS NOT A MONSTERThis is how I would identify Thunder in the East after play testing it for 3 games. I will explain my comment at the end of the review.Components: A 50x48" map, 14 player aids, including both Axis and Soviet player maps, Axis and Soviet reserves mats, 2 each of double sided terrain effects, air and ground combat results, and turn sequence/morale effects. There are 7 cards summarizing weather effects and 17 event cards. Also there is a mat for holding enemy losses to aid in figuring the morale losses. 3 Sheets of the usual Victory Point Games laser cut counters in various sizes and shapes are included. There is a 69 page rule book and a 20 page scenario book.Sequence of play: There are 3 different sequences-Season, monthly, and weekly. The season sequence is used between the 4 seasons in the game. Factions can gain morale, pick new event cards, adjust factories, and gain resource points.Resource points are the economic currency of the game. Personnel points are received by controlling certain cities are are used for building leg units, among other uses. Equipment points come from factory cities and can be used to build heavy ( think armor) units, while Fuel points come from controlling oil fields and are needed to repair air units. There are other uses for these points that are listed on the summary chart. The Axis player usually receives a set number of these points unless Soviet resources are captured while the Soviet player loses these resources when certain cities are lost.Monthly sequence: Morale can be affected if resources have been bombed. Repair of resources happens. Any reinforcements or withdraws occur. Each side can select 1 of their event cards to play any time during the month.Weekly turns: Axis goes first, then the Soviet player. 1. Logistics: Opponent's supply state is determined 2. Air unit are repaired and recovered 3. Determine headquarters mode. Balance HQ gives a longer supply radius while Attack gives a increase in at[...]

Review: Lorenzo il Magnifico:: Lorenzo il Magnifico – Magnificent Euro Game or Boring Worker Placement?

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:39:52 +0000

by Sir Bobo First Impressions – Lorenzo il Magnifico The Essen Spiel fair 2016 has provided us with some interesting surprises incl. the new game “Lorenzo il Magnifico” from three Italian designers which have already been involved for example in other Euro games like Leonardo da Vinci and Grand Austria Hotel. Therefore, you should expect some (Italian flavored) food for your brain… Let’s see how it tastes!This review is based on first impressions resulting from 4-player games with hardened “Euro veterans”, so new players in that area may want to take the following lines with a grain of salt. I solely intend to describe my initial experiences which should allow you to decide whether you may want to get more of this flavor or not.Background & GoalsThe main theme of “Lorenzo” is based on the struggles of the players representing noble families during the Italian renaissance. As a typical Euro strategy game with a strong worker placement mechanism, each player places four family members on different areas of the board, thereby triggering actions and ultimately collecting victory points which determines the winner at the end of the game. In case you already start yawning while your eyes already get tired while reading this mechanism, I nevertheless recommend that you continue reading - the game shines on a deeper level.As each card is only available once and most worker places can only be visited by one worker while the overall number of actions is limited by the number of family members per round for a total of six rounds (2 rounds are to be considered as one period), “Lorenzo” forces players to focus on specific strategies while acting tactically to claim the right spots at the right time or finding suitable alternatives.You can achieve victory points by different means incl. by playing cards directly providing victory points, triggering certain card mechanisms, collecting a certain amount of card types or having a certain board position at the end of the game or changing faith into victory points. Collected money or other resources only provide a very limited amount of[...]

Review: Day Night Z:: Session review. Playing the proto with Creating Games on a BG Con.

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:38:46 +0000

by funkyboy I want to share a session report of a member of the Aruok community, Nossferat, that has the opportunity to play the game with the designers.Here is the original report (spanish): weekend from 7 to 9 of October 2016, some members of the ARUOK community travel to the International Cordoba’s Board Game Con and could enjoy a new Kickstarter project that will reach the 11 January 2017: Day Night Z.I had the opportunity to play with the designers Carlos Alberto Gomez and Miguel Angel Osuna. I have to say that, although that was the first time we met, it seemed like I was playing a game between lifelong colleagues. We had so much fun and had a series of anecdotes that I will share with you. Day night Z is another zombie game with miniatures. Another Zombicide? Not at all. It would be very difficult to list all the sources from what that game is inspired. To simplify it, this is a Warhammer Quest alike board game with Arkham Horror type events which are happening throughout the adventure. If we mix it with a very narrative style like Sherlock Holmes board game, where all, and I want to emphasize, ALL decisions taken are important, we have something very, very attractive.It is a "collaborative" (non cooperative) game, for 1-4 players, in which the difficulty is scaled depending on the number of survivors in the game.It consists on an open world, with four cities (initially) and a settle. The missions are divided in three parts:1. An exploration phase where the survivors must perform a series of tasks that have been assigned to them.2. A travel phase where the survivors, that are still alive, must travel in a travel map, choosing between a known route (safest) or an unknown route (more dangerous) where they have to overcome several events, to get to their camp.3. A phase in which the survivors spend their accumulated points to improve camp buildings, get upgrades to get the ability to hunt or plant, and new skills.Let's begin to explain each of the phases, but so many aspects will need an ar[...]

Review: Dreaming Spires:: Recensione di Dreaming Spires (italiano)

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:38:34 +0000

by dimarco70 NOTA: Questo articolo è comparso la prima volta su ILSA (Informazione Ludica a Scatola Aperta), affascinante per Dreaming Spires, titolo in cui i giocatori rivivono i fasti della città universitaria di Oxford, costruendo collegi, ospitandovi personaggi storici che l'hanno resa famosa e competendo per la fama, misurata in termini di conoscenza di 7 materie accademiche e progressione su 3 indici di reputazione. Buoni i materiali: robusti e con illustrazioni evocative, così come lo sono i testi di ambientazione delle carte e del manuale.Una partita si svolge su 4 ere, per un totale di 8 turni. All'inizio di ogni era i giocatori pescano 4 monete (i cui valori variano da 1 a 3) da un sacchetto, mentre vengono preparati i personaggi dell'epoca. In ogni turno, dopo aver scoperto una carta evento, i giocatori (a partire dal Cancelliere) eseguono 4 azioni, scelte fra le seguenti:a) Costruire un edificio, scegliendolo fra i 10 dell'espositore, per estendere il proprio collegio. Rispettando i vincoli di piazzamento (e pagando gli eventuali costi di acquisto), i giocatori cercano di ripristinare dei simboli, senza i quali non si possono reclutare i personaggi storici.b) Ospitare un personaggio dell'era attuale, scegliendolo fra i 5 esposti. Il proprio collegio deve avere almeno i simboli riportati sulla carta personaggio per poterla prendere.c) Usare (una volta per turno) una delle due abilità di uno dei personaggi ospitati. In genere la prima aumenta la conoscenza in una delle materie, la seconda varia da personaggio a personaggio ma solitamente permette una qualche manipolazione degli indici di valutazione.d) pescare una moneta dal sacchetto.Il turno si conclude con l'evento, che di solito mette all'asta (il cui tipo è indicato dalla carta) l'avanzamento in una delle reputazioni. Il vincitore diviene anche il nuovo Cancelliere.Alla fine di ogni era i personaggi abbandonano i collegi e viene effettuata una valutazione che determina il miglior istituto (assegnando una moneta alla fine delle prime 3[...]

Review: Luther: Das Spiel:: "Luther - Das Spiel" - a conclusion (german)

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:38:21 +0000

by Brakus Review-Fazit zu „Luther – Das Spiel“, einem lehrreichen Historienspiel.[Infos]für: 2-4 Spielerab: 10 Jahrenca.-Spielzeit: 45min.Autoren: Erika Schlegel und Martin SchlegelIllustration: Fiore GmbHVerlag: KosmosAnleitung: deutschMaterial: deutsch[Download: Anleitung]dt.: (s. Links rechts unten)[Fazit]„Luther“ ist ein feines Historienspiel, das die ganze Familie lehrreich unterhält.Mit sehr einfachen Spielregeln und einem eingängigen, schnellen Spielablauf trumpft hier „Luther“ schon zu Beginn auf und weiss damit die Spieler gleich gut einzubinden. Insgesamt verläuft das Spiel dann auch eher seicht, niemals kompliziert und auch nicht wirklich taktisch fordernd. Eine kleine Portion Glück gehört dazu, wenn es um die erhofft wertigen Proviantplättchen und das Reisen der Mitspieler geht, damit nicht das angestrebte Ziel unerreichbar bleibt bzw. punktebringende Porträits für die eigene Sammlung fehlen.Groß trumpft das Spiel dann mit seinen geschichtlichen Informationen auf, denn hier wird der gesamte Hintergrund der 95 Thesen, der Reformation, dem Ablasshandel und den Vorgängen, Beziehungen und politischen, wie theologischen Intrigen wertvoll gehuldigt. Dazu liegt eine Chronik bei, die bei Besuch eines Ortes auf dem Spielbrett oder der Begegnung einer Persönlichkeit jedesmal zu Rate gezogen werden sollte, denn hieraus zieht das Spiel sein hauptsächliches Interesse.So interessant und (auffrischend^^) informativ das dann auch ist, so hält es doch die Spielgruppe von weiteren Partien etwas ab, denn einmal alles (erneut) erfahren, muss schon eine neue Spielgruppe oder eine lange Pause her. Das Spielprinzip selbst reicht eben nur für eine angenehm, seichte Partie aus.Das Wettrennen um die Portrait-Plättchen für gewinnbringende Setboni, die Sammlung wertiger Proviantkarten und die Vervollständigung des Luther-Bildes sind nett und unterhalten für ein, zwei Partien. Dann aber spätestens geht auch die Abwechslung durch d[...]

Review: Dominion:: Dominion: Let the Deck Building Begin

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 18:58:01 +0000

by morethanjustmonopoly Dominion was the first card game I learned that wasn’t a “simple” game like Uno, Dutch Blitz, or Hearts. The first time I was introduced to Dominion, the cards weren’t even in the original box! My friend had created his own custom-designed box that held all his Dominion cards, sorted by expansion and in alphabetical order. I was speechless. I didn’t know that people did this with their games. Little did I know what I was about to get into.Game SpecificationsPublisher: Rio Grande GamesPublished: 2008Suggested Age: 12+Number of Players: 2-4Playing Time: 30-60 minutesGameplayIn Dominon, each player begins with the same starting hand of 7 coppers cards and 3 victory point (VP) cards. In the middle of the table you’ll stack 10 piles of Kingdom cards (the game comes with 25 Kingdom cards), along with 3 piles of money cards and 3 piles of victory point cards. Over the course of the game, you’ll be buying a combination of Kingdom cards and/or money cards with the ultimate goal of purchasing victory points. Whoever has the most victory points at game’s end (when either the Province pile or any other three piles of cards run out) is declared the winner.One of the most interesting aspects of Dominon, in my opinion, is its deck-building mechanic. As the game progresses, you’ll be building your own unique deck. When you buy cards with your money, you won’t be returning your money to the supply. In fact, the same goes for every card you obtain throughout this game. Each card you acquire will remain in your deck until you play a card that gives you permission to “trash” it (which means it’s gone for the rest of the game).The strategy of the game lies in the balance of purchasing money cards, Kingdom cards, and victory point cards. When you begin the game, you only have Coppers ($1) and Estates (earth worth 1 victory point). You’ll want to buy Silver ($2) and Gold ($3) cards in order to augment your purchasing power, and you’ll want Kingdom car[...]

Review: Vampire Hunter:: The perfect Halloween game for non-gamers

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 15:42:17 +0000

by chiefsachem Enough with the trash talk on how bad this game is. It's not meant to compete with Fury of Dracula nor is it intended to be a substitute indoor activity during an afternoon delight. This is a horror game meant to play in the dark, I mean really DARK! The premise is quite simple. Be the first pawn to reach the coffin before the ship reaches the tower. This means you and your partners only have about 6 turns each to accomplish this feat while navigating through traps, secret passages, and MONSTERS. I'm talking about vampires, werewolves, & zombies. If you fail to get a hit on them you are sent back to the starting point in the area you are exploring. Worst yet, if you haven't picked up the appropriate weapon under the advanced rules you can't even fight the monster. All this is designed to delay your journey to the inevitable conclusion of fighting Count Darkulus while he is in his coffin. It takes 3 hits to defeat him. The one who succeeds the third hit is the winner! Huzzah.Because this is a race against the game's system, gameplay is relatively quick, about 30 minutes. On your turn you flip a card that determines whether gameplay is occurring at night or at daytime. If daytime, you are safe and need to move as quickly as possible to find your weapons. You only need to pick 3 unique weapons, the garlic, the stake, and the sword. Any one of them can be used to attack Count Darkus, but in the advanced version the right weapon is needed to defeat the right monster. Monsters are represented by tiles which are flipped over when you end your move adjacent to a tile. During the daytime, the tiles are pretty innocuous. If not weapons, then it's usually a villager, monument, or mist. But at night they turn into a werewolf, zombie, or vampire which can certainly slow down your journey to the crypt where Drakus lies. Battles are simple and quick. One roll of the black die determines if you win or lose. Win and the monster tile is removed resulting in[...]

Review: Deep Future:: Autistic Board Gamer Reviews

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:59:34 +0000

by OdinofDuckies Hello everyone. I'm Boo Boo, BGG @ OdinofDuckies, I am going to take a close look at a game called Deep Future. First I will give my opinions on the creator. Then I want to go in depth with the mechanics of the game. Next will be looking at theme and fluff. Lastly I give some possible improvements and some variations I am working on for this game. Let's get started! The creator goes by the name R. Winder. I have had some interaction with this game designer. Responses are bit slow, but can't blame someone for possibly having a busy life. So let's throw that negativity out the window. Winder is very helpful. Our interactions thus far, have been very positive. I love to create and Winder encourages variants and creativity. Winder answers questions about rules very clearly and precisely. If a rules seems a bit to unclear. They will go in and add it to the errata to be updated in future rules updates. So in short this creator is just awesome in my book.Now let's look at how it plays. This is a game in the new genre of "Legacy" games. This means that what you do in the current game will affect future games in your series or campaign. I have fallen in love with this genre just due to the ever changing game. It is also a civilization game. Though what makes this unique, it is much more "macro" civilization. What I mean by this is that normally in civ styles games you focus on a particular nation, kingdom, or whatever. In Deep Future you are controlling these things on a much larger scale. Instead of people, cities, and base resources you control whole worlds and entire civilizations. Basically the average civ game is pretty much one to four cards in this game. It is also a "make as you play" game. What this means is you make game components while playing the game. I know some of you, if you never ventured into this game territory, might wonder "Why would I want to do that when you can buy game fully finished?" A simple a[...]

Review: SeaFall:: Ranior's Spoiler-Free SeaFall Impressions (Through Game 1)

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:59:30 +0000

by Ranior Hello, I'm putting up my thoughts on SeaFall as I play through the games. I will try to update and maintain this post as well as another. This one will contain no spoilers (although if you absolutely want to know nothing you should likely still stay away as my impressions will be colored by the events I have played through), while my other post will contain full spoilers of the experience. I'm not going to be doing a run down of the rules or any of that. You can easily find rule summaries elsewhere if you want to get an idea of that stuff. I'll be trying to focus on how it makes me feel when I play, what my fellow players are enjoying, and what others may or may not like about SeaFall so you can know if you should play or not. Finally, our group is three players, all fairly experienced gamers who play often and play a diverse range of games. The Good StuffLegacy mechanics continue to be awesome in my opinion. Getting to name provinces, leaders, advisors, islands and make the game your own is awesome. While I certainly don't want every game to be a Legacy game, I certainly will be excited for more. The slow unlocking of rules and twists and turns in a storyline, the effects that carry over from game to game that add a new layer of strategy to the typical board game proceedings. There is something awesome about being able to discuss a game for many hours after it is over and throughout the week, contemplating what you will do with the newly unlocked things. I'm a full on Legacy lover. Yes, it is sad that I won't be able to play again once I'm done, but I can't complain about getting 15 games played of an awesome experience. Especially since I truly do love it I can simply buy another copy and play again. Or just wait for the next great Legacy game. SeaFall presents many interesting options turn to turn. There is always plenty to consider. This is a fairly heavy game in my opinion, both in rules[...]

Review: Valeria: Card Kingdoms – Flames and Frost:: More cards = more replay value and more choice!

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:59:21 +0000

by Dismas Welcome to the Kingdom of Valeria! It used to be a quiet area with a noble king and many loyal dukes. However, the king has grown weak in his old age and monsters started showing up and taking over! It is now up to you and your fellow Dukes to save the Kingdom of Valeria. The Duke who is most successful at recruiting citizens to defeat these monsters and building domains to fortify Valeria will claim the throne. This is Valeria Card Kingdoms! Valeria Card Kingdoms was one of the IT games on Kickstarter in 2015. Since their success with this game, they have had two sequels (Villages of Valeria and Quests of Valeria). and have recently launched an expansion on Kickstarter called Flames and Frost. Today, I am going to tell you about both the base game and the expansion, and tell you how the expansion improves the base game. Let's start with the stats though. The game plays 1-5 players, ages 13+, though I'd say 10+. It takes 30-45 minutes to play, depending on how many players you have. You can get the base game, Flames and Frost, mini-booster/expansion packs for a pledge of $79 ($88 after shipping) or if you already have the base game, the expansion will cost you $24 ($28 after shipping).(Note: This setup and game play will be for the base game and expansion and cover 2-4 players. The one for 5 players is slightly different, so you need to remove any cards with the 5-player icon.)Setup1. Pick five groups of Monsters and arrange them face-up in five columns. Each stack of monsters must be sorted from lowest to highest Strength.2. Pick one of each type of Citizen for based on their activation number and deal out their group face-up in two rows of five columns. (For example, in the base game, your 3 activation card could be an Alchemist or a Mercenary, and the expansion adds the option of a Sorceress.)3. Shuffle all the Domain cards together. Deal two face-down and one-fa[...]

Review: Coffee Roaster:: Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Fun-Filled, Caffeine-Infused, Bag-Building Challenge!

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:58:46 +0000

by milenaguberinic Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Fun-Filled, Caffeine-Infused, Bag-Building Challenge!The OverviewCoffee Roaster is a bag-building solo game in which you attempt to roast coffee beans to perfection! The goal for each bean type is shown on its bean sheet and includes a target roast level (i.e. the total added value of the beans in the cup at the end of the game) and target flavor (i.e. the target flavor tokens to be included in the cup at the end of the game). You will also want to ensure a consistent roast, indicating a skill, and a pure roast, lacking undue smoke, burnt beans, or bad beans.At the start of the game, you select either 1 (for a mini game) or 3 (for a full game) types of green coffee beans to roast over the course of the game. You take the bean sheet for the bean you've selected and fill the bag with tokens with tokens that represent various characteristics of the bean you are roasting. Each bean starts with a certain number of green beans, which have a roast value of 0, a certain number of hard beans, which taken an extra step to start roasting, a certain number of moldy beans, which must be removed, a certain moisture level, which will dissipate throughout the roasting process, and aroma, acidity, and body tokens, which can be used to perform all kinds of roasting magic! The game comes with two boards - a roast board and a cup board. You will use the roasting board during the roasting process and the cup board during the cup test, which is the final evaluation of your roast.To start the game, you will place the turn disc on the space that corresponds to the moisture content of your beans. Each turn, you willa) Advance the turn marker to the next spaceb) Pull the number of tokens from the bag shown on the current space of the turn markerc) Roast the beans in the following manner:* Moisture evaporation - Remove any moistu[...]

Review: Cat Town:: Mina's Mini Review - If You Like Cute Kitty Meeples...

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:58:38 +0000

by milenaguberinic Mina's Mini Review - If You Like Cute Kitty Meeples...The OverviewCat Town is a game about walking your cat around town and stopping by various blocks to check out all that is hip and happening. Your goal in this game is to find cats, collect items, and play travel notes cards. The two-player version of the game is set up by arranging 4 "location tiles" around a central station tile. These are simply placeholders for 15 cards that will go on top of them. Each player gets 2 non-item/non-cat cards and the game begins!Each turn, you will perform one action. You will either1) Walk (draw) - move your cat to its neighboring block and draw a card into your hand from the top of the deck2) Walk (search) - move your cat to search a block, revealing as many cards from the top of the block as you have different types items in front of you. If it's an action card, you discard it. If it's an item or cat, you earn it and place it face up in front of yourself. If you draw an action card that shows a broken crayon icon, you have to stop searching and discard all items you have not scored. If you gain an item of the same type you already have, you score it and set it aside. And you are only allowed to search if you already have an item in front of you.3) Play a card - Play a card to use its effect and discard it or play an item card in front of you without using its effect. You may only play items in front of you of which you don't already have the same type in your tableau.4) Search your own hand cards by allowing an opponent to randomly select one card from your hand. You get to place it in front of you if it's an item or cat and have to discard it if it's an action.The game ends either when one player has 6 points (each scored item set scores 1 point and each cat scores 1 point) or when there are only 3 blocks left in[...]

Review: A Feast for Odin:: Odin MASSIVE: A massive review of A Feast for Odin, as befits such a massive game by a massive designer who is ensconced in massive hype.

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:58:22 +0000

by familygaming I post the draft of my reviews here on my blog so I can get feedback from improvement before posting to reviews. Please question and comment so I can improve it. Photos of gameplay by Michael WißnerI know, I know. Everybody be like...And so you are thinking: This game is overhyped. Rosenberg is overrated. This game is too sandboxy. It's too expensive. The box is too big. The number of components is ridiculous; Uwe is jumping the shark. We don't need another Rosenberg conversion game. Get off my lawn. Etc. Etc.Liar. You must be at least a little curious about this game or you wouldn't be reading this. So put aside your crotchety grumblings, you cranky curmudgeons, and let's take a peek at this game!I did my due diligence! I prepared for this euro-gaming behemoth like no other game I had ever anticipated. I read the rulebook not once, not twice, not even three times, but five times all the way through! I read the appendices, and then I wrote not one, but two separate previews to help me, in order to get it into my head what this game had to offer. And yet, this week, as I stared at the board for the first time, I was confounded.That right there is a lot of possible actions. That's the kind of thing that makes a gamer either salivate in anticipation or recoil in abhorrence. I fell somewhere in between. Abhicipation. Like Krispy Kreme donut-burgers.Which are you? Because the TL;DR of this whole review will really boil down to: "Do you like the idea of being a Viking clan with a *helheim of a lot of choices?"*clever Norse wordplayViking Rules!Some of you like rules in reviews. I don't. If only because so many reviewers do that, and the whole thing becomes redundant which is why so many people do that, but not me because it's redundant. Besides: I've already done that! I've got you c[...]

Review: Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft:: A couple of gamers review #1 - Holmes: Sherlock and Mycroft or: The case of the kleptomaniac detectives

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:58:11 +0000

by mihnea_1309 Hello everyone, this is my first atempt at a review so hopefully it will be of use to someone. And any feedback is very much appreciated!Where do we come from?I very much like it when a reviewer talks a bit about himself, it helps me put his thoughts and rating of a game into perspective. So: I got into boardgaming about 4 years ago when someone introduced me to Settlers of Catan and I`ve never looked back. About a year ago I started operation "Pulling my girlfriend into the rabbit hole of boardgaming" and I think I was succesful, it`s slowly become our prefered hobby to share together. We mostly prefer interesting mechanics over cool theme, so we`re more attracted to eurogames, but we won`t shy away from (some) amerithrash games. A good game for us needs to play well with 2 and focus on strategy/tactics instead of luck. We love games where every action or decision is meaningful. We do not like direct conflict in our games (or outside them!), but a bit of passive agression is fine.So can we actually get to the game please ?We sure can! Holmes: Sherlock and Mycroft is designed by Diego Ibáñez and published by Devir in 2015. It is a short filler for 2-P only involving set collection and worker placement, in which Sherlock and his brother Mycroft work against each other trying to solve the case of the Parliament bombing by gaining clues.How does it play ?Over the course of 7 days (or rounds) each player will take 3 actions via worker placement (kind of, you`re not blocking your opponent from an action, you`re blocking yourself from using it again this round). These actions represent visits (interogations?) to various characters from the Sherlock universe (I suppose, I`m not a fan of Sherlock, I like my detectives more modern and alcoholic). Each day a new[...]

Review: The Others: 7 Sins:: The Others is more tense and exciting than the others.

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:53:52 +0000

by kookoobah The Others is now my favorite ONE vs MANY game.I am a HUGE fan of games with an "overlord". Descent (both editions), Fury of Dracula (2nd and 3rd edition), Catacombs, Middle-Earth Quest, Mansions of Madness (1st edition), Last Night on Earth and Doom are games that I own and have enjoyed playing in the past. The Others is better than all of them. I've played The Others around 12 times, 10 times as the Sins Player and twice as a hero, and every single game has been a super-exciting, down-to-the-wire, pray-to-the-dice-gods death massacre of tentacles, exploding dice and "Jesus Christ holy shit" moments. I haven't had this much fun with a ONE vs MANY game since my troll bashed his way to a team-party kill with one attack in Descent back in 2011.SUPER SIMPLEOne of the best things about The Others is that how to play the game doesn't get in the way of actually playing the game. Everything about the game is simple, without sacrificing the gameplay and everything flows much better because of the simplicity. The game is more exciting because you are focused on playing the game, instead of looking up rules or reading stats.Easy to explainThe flow of the game is super easy to explain - A hero moves 2 spaces, then either attacks the monsters or cleanses the tokens. After each hero, the Sins player may move 1 monster 2 spaces and attack the hero. Simple and vicious combat systemCombat is the most important part of games like this - it's practically 90% of the game and combat in The Others is pretty much perfect. It's dead simple. Both players roll dice, dice explode for more hits, you roll some more and then you count how many hits you rolled, and how many blocks you rolled.Monsters aren't complicatedThe stats of all the monsters in the gam[...]

Review: Legends of Andor:: A Eurogamer's Review of Legends of Andor

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:53:21 +0000

by Caylusboy This review is not intended to provide an overview or summary of the rules. Other very good reviews are available on BGG that do just that. Instead, it is intended to provide a short and hopefully pertinent analysis of the game: of its qualities, its shortcomings, its mechanisms, and generally what it has to offer. Hopefully it will be of help to the reader in deciding whether Andor is a game for them. Overview of the game:Andor is a cooperative game, a kind of adventure coop for eurogamers one might say. Players incarnate adventurers in a heroic fantasy setting who must coordinate their actions as best they can to achieve certain common objectives. The game is definitely not about winning against your fellow players by gaining the most Victory Points. Yes, the game is a great heroic adventure: there is a lot of fighting involving dice chucking to defeat Creatures and save the kingdom of Andor. But Andor is not all about killing monsters, it is also a thinky euro-style game in which players must coordinate and optimize their actions to succeed. Each game session is permeated with tension. Players will not infrequently be beaten by the game or win by the skin of their teeth.Andor fits squarely in the "Family Game" category. The rules are simple and clearly written. I would also say the rules are surprisingly flexible and "open": they give players a lot of freedom in their actions. Players will alternate between regular actions (that cost hours) and "Free actions". The latter are unlimited, may take place in an other player's turn, and don't follow turn order. This is refreshing and works well for a game of this ilk, allowing players a lot of latitude to create their own story, so to speak. But the sam[...]

Review: Draconis Invasion:: A review of Draconis Invasion that doesn't talk about the art.

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:52:49 +0000

by MarkyX In 2008, a game called Dominion was released to the public. Published by Rio Grande Games and designed by Donald X. Vaccarino, this new “Deckbuilding” game enticed tabletop gamers into a genre where drafting wasn’t just part of the setup of a typical card game, but rather the entire game itself.The popularity of Dominion was noticed by various publishers and as a way to get their foot into the tabletop industry, they have created their own deckbuilders. AEG had games like Thunderstone and Nightfall, while Upper Deck Entertainment created their Legendary series of games. In the digital format, mobile apps like Ascension and Star Realms have become the go-to games to kill ten minutes while retaining the excitement of building your deck from a pile of worthless cards to an engine that conquers the game’s objective.However, despite the past 8 years of deckbuilding games, people still look at Dominion as the gold standard. With the release of Draconis Invasion, created by Jeff Lai, is this game worth pursuing or is it just another forgettable experience in a highly competitive genre?Tale of Two SystemsThe most popular deckbuilding games fall into two camps: Ascension’s “Middle Market” system and Dominion’s “Fixed Stack” system. Ascension’s system is straightforward: You have a market deck and five random cards are dealt face up from that deck to form the “market”. On your turn, you can play and buy as many cards as you like. Each time you buy a card, it’s instantly replaced by another card from the Market Deck. There is also default fixed stacks for you to buy from if you don’t like anything on the table or don’t have enough resources.It’s an[...]

Review: A Feast for Odin:: A Solo Gamer's Perspective of A Feast for Odin

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:52:14 +0000

by raika11182 Let me start with this: I'm something of an Uwe Rosenberg fanboy. I'm at the place in my personal and professional life where I just don't have the time to get together with other gamers more often than about once a month. It's not ideal, but that's just the way things are going to be for me. Uwe has been a godsend for my situation - he always makes a game that scales well to many player counts, yet I can get plenty of use out of it when I'm on my own. With that in mind, A Feast for Odin was the first board game I actually pre-ordered. Keep in mind, I have only played this game solo, and it will likely stay that way for another month.Was it worth it?YESYes, yes, a thousand times yes. So here are my thoughts on this wonderful game, broken into a few broad categories that are worth talking about:- SetupYou know, I was expecting the set up to be a little worse, but other than punching out what felt like countless cardboard tokens, setup hasn't been too bad. While the game is large, it's also not the largest thing I've ever squeezed onto my coffee table. In fact, I think there are other games that have strained the limits of my table more, such as Eldritch Horror. It's big, but not too big, and I think that's important. Also, nothing is really wasted. The game is efficient in its use of space, with very little waste going to useless decoration. Which leads me to -- Appearance[/b\I don't have much to say here. The aesthetic of the game is pleasant and thematic. In fact, this might be Rosenberg's most thematic work to date, and he took every opportunity to work the theme into the mechanics. For a Euro, in fact, this thing is really dripping in theme.- Ga[...]

Review: Guns & Steel:: Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Loving Guns & Steel + Guns & Steel: Renaissance With Two

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 12:43:50 +0000

by milenaguberinic Mina's Not-So-Mini Review - Loving Guns & Steel + Guns & Steel: Renaissance With TwoGuns and Steel! I must say I have no interest in guns and steel is something I think of as central to my life only in the form of kitchen utensils and structural materials, but I do like a good multi-use card game and this one looked pretty good.The OverviewGuns and Steel (and Guns and Steel: Renaissance) is a civilization-building, hand-building, multi-use card game in which you use your starting hand of cards as resources or effects in order to acquire additional cards that will provide both additional resources/effects and VP from a card pyramid and claim wonders when you satisfy certain conditions.All cards in the game are double sided - each has a development side and a resource side, with the development side providing an effect and the resource side providing a resource. Resource side Development side of starting handEach turn, you will go through the following phases:1) Resource phase - Play one resource card in front of you (back side of a card)2) Development phase - Play one development card (front side of a card) and activate its effect. Civil cards (green) aid in production, giving you additional resources or allowing you to flip previously played development cards face-down. Tactic cards (blue) help you play additional attack cards or activate other attack cards. Attack cards (red) are used to attack other players by comparing your military strength to theirs. Opponents can respond to attacks by playing any number of cards bearing a response icon to increase their military strength and avoid incurring the penalty imposed[...]

Review: Hanamikoji:: Mina's Mini Review - Gaming Elegance

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 12:41:07 +0000

by milenaguberinic Mina's Mini Review - Gaming EleganceThe OverviewHanamikoji is a beautiful card game about trying to gain the favor of various geisha ladies by collecting their associated performance items. Your goal is to gain the favor of 4 geisha or gain 11 or more charm points. To set up the game, you arrange all the geisha cards in a line between the players and shuffle the deck of item cards. Each geisha card features an item and a number that denotes the associated charm points. Each item card features an item and charm points that indicates the number of cards of that type in the item deck. Each player also gets 4 different face-up action tiles.Each game of Hanamikoji takes place over one or more rounds and each round consists of 3 phases.1) DealShuffle the 21 item cards, remove one from the round, and deal 6 cards to each player.2) ActionsAlternate turns by drawing a card and taking one action per turn. You have 4 different actions that you will be able to take once each over the course of the round. The actions are*Secret - Choose 1 card from your hand and place it face down under the action token. It will be scored.*Trade-off - Choose 2 cards from your hand and place them face down under the trade-off marker to remove them from the round.*Gift - Choose 3 cards from your hand and place them face up in front of yourself. Your opponent will choose 1 card to take and place in front of the corresponding geisha on his side of the table and you will get the remaining 2.*Competition - Choose 4 cards from your hand and divide them into 2 sets of 2, placing them face up in front of yourself. Your opponent[...]

Review: Planet Defenders:: Mina's Mini Review - Happily Defending Planets With Two

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 10:56:24 +0000

by milenaguberinic Mina's Mini Review - Defending Planets With TwoThe OverviewIn Planet Defenders, you will control 3 different defenders who will harvest energies from various planets, which will help you upgrade your technologies and catch disposed robots in outer space. The game board consists of a randomly arranged 3x3 grid of planets, with each side aligned with a stack of disposed robots. In addition to the board, there is a stack of technology cards, with 4 placed face up. There are also 3 control tiles, each showing a number and a defender. You will start the game with a player aid and 6 battery tokens.Each turn, you will perform 1 or 2 main actions and possibly 1 extra action. To take a main action, you must pay a battery token to activate one control tile, move the depicted planet defender the indicated number of spaces, and activate the planet on which he lands. Planets allow you to gain energy cubes and batteries and allow you to convert energy cubes into batteries or convert energy cubes from one form to another.Control tilesPlanetsOnce you have activated one control tile using one battery from your reserve, you can activate another by using 2 batteries. Then, you may perform a single extra actions. As an extra action, you may either gain a technology card or capture a robot that is located on an edge of the board adjacent to one of the planet defenders you moved during your main action. Technologies provide permanent benefits that include things like allowing you to convert energy cubes from one color to another, giving you energy discounts when capturing robots on ce[...]

Review: Joking Hazard:: This isn't Cards Against Humanity

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 09:50:09 +0000

by ConradR Joking Hazard is a social card game where players lay the third panel in a Cyanide and Happiness comic to try to create the best joke. Since it's announcement, Joking Hazard has been plagued by comments of "it's just Cards Against Humanity again," and it's not too difficult to see why. At a first glance, they do seem to share some mechanics: a card taken from a draw pile provides inspiration to a host of players who submit a card from their hand as a punchline, and a judge declares who's is best. Joking Hazard is more than CaH's one trick pony though (shock and awe). Because every panel can be placed anywhere in the comic (with the exception of red borders which can only go last), game-play is opened up exponentially. Cards aren't just a "question" or "answer", they all become available to become part of a narrative as you see fit. According to the publishers the base game of 250 cards has 15.4 million combinations (before you even add expansions).ComponentsIf you are familiar with the comic then you'll be familiar with the simplistic artwork already. It's stick figures all the way, but that's always been part of the charm of the comic. The box is nice and sturdy and doesn't take up more room than necessary on the shelf. There is a little room left over for some small expansions when they inevitably come. If you were lucky enough to get the Kickstarter edition, you might have chosen the red box variant which comes with gold foil inlays (Ooo. Shiny!). The creators have also thrown in a couple of cards with blank speech sections for you to add y[...]

Review: Joking Hazard:: Joking Hazard Review after five games in a row

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 09:48:26 +0000

by IMCarnochan My nephew loves Cards Against Humanity and in his defense I will say he is a freshman in high school. So I keep current with the boxed expansions and every now and again he slams it on the table, the adults have some bourbon and we play for a half hour. That is the enforced time limit. Much like Monopoly being highly maligned due to house rules making it excruciatingly longer than it needs to be I find Cards Against Humanity to be insufferable for more than a half hour. We play to five points and start over if there is time. My nephew liked to play for hours and once you are recycling through cards you have seen before the bloom not only comes off the rose it tramples it in to the ground and sets it on fire. In small doses I find it to be a fun activity every now and again but I will never bring it out to play.Now on to Joking Hazard whose similarities to Cards Against Humanity are many with a few subtle but kind of interesting differences that have a chance of making it a better activity. One more thing is that this is based on the comic strips of Cyanide and Happiness which is a very funny and oftentimes disturbing web comic. If you are easily offended, avoid, but I find them highly amusing. Here is how you "play" the "game": The Judge draws a random card off the top of the deck and plays it face up on the table, this becomes a single panel of a three panel comic. The Judge then plays a card from their hand either to the right or left of the card on the table, these become the first two panels of a comic strip.[...]

Review: Tamps:: @Boardgaming_FTW takes a look at TAMPS!

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 09:48:15 +0000

by anime_guru Let me introduce you to the fast paced game of TAMPS. TAMPS is a game designed by Jesse van den Berg, Salko Joost Kattenberg, & Rens Kattenberg.TAMPS is designed to be played in a larger social setting as it can play four to nine players, ages eight years to adult, & it can take five or so minutes to play. Teams depend on how many players are involved in the game. I have added an example below:tamps-1The concept of TAMPS is to test players dexterity, mental acuity, awareness. In tempo players will be continuously be playing & collecting cards from the table. This will ultimately be accomplished by players preparing a sign that they will recognize.tamps-3Players will be looking to collect a "Tamps". This is a set of five cards of the same figure but of five different colors. Once a player is able to collect a set of Tamps then that player will signal his teammate to call out "Tamps". A player has to make sure that their hand consists of exactly five cards before they signal. Once a player calls Tamps the game stops & points are scored. If they happen to miss call then the other team score.tamps-2At the beginning of the game a dealer will be decided. The dealer will then shuffle the deck of eighty cards. Once shuffled, the dealer will deal out five cards to each player & one or more cards face-down to each player. Then the dealer will show the bottom card of the deck, this card will more than likely never be in play. As players check their hands they will flip, face-up, the cards on the ta[...]

Review: Travel Blog:: A GFBR Review: Proof that Educational Games aren't Universally Abysmal

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 09:01:28 +0000

by MyParadox The players are travel bloggers ready to move from place to place and report their sightings. Despite being designed by the awesome Vlaada Chvatil, I had my doubts that a geography game would be any good. But, you know what? Travel Blog is pretty god. For a geography game.The Basics. The game is played over seven rounds and can use either a map of the United States or a map of Europe. In the first round, players get a small stipend. Then six cards are dealt out face up. These represent possible destinations. Then a seventh and final card is dealt representing the starting point. The goal is to pick the closest destination from the starting point that does not share a border.And players don’t simply make their selections in turn. Instead, it’s a free-for-all as anyone can place their marker at any time. But if someone places their marker, it’s down for good. And if you want to place in the same spot, you’ll have to pay a penalty fee. Once placed, you grab the relevant map and count the fewest border crossings to get from the starting place to your chosen ending space. Every border crossing costs you money. And if you pick a place that shares a border, you pay a penalty.After two rounds of that, you get another stipend and now must choose two destinations. You’ll go from the start space to each of your two destinations. Once again, you want to avoid paying for extra border crossings, but will be penalized if you choose neighboring countries. Rounds five[...]

Review: Scrawl:: Scrawl Review & Comparison

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 17:07:36 +0000

by Pyrofrog916 For as far back as I can remember, nearly all holiday family gatherings involved the adults playing some kind of art/guessing game or charades-esque activity. I always looked forward to the days when I was old enough to join in the fun, and have since had an affinity for this style of game with a large group of friends or family.-Fast forward to the Present-Before I left GenCon this year, I visited the combined Bananagrams & Big Potato Games booth where I was introduced to a number of their games recently picked up by Target stores. Today, we'll be discussing Scrawl, an adult party game for up to 8 players.Scrawl, by Big Potato Games, invites the best (and especially the worst) artists to play a game of Artistic Telephone that everyone can enjoy.Scrawl is a game that takes the familiar gameplay of sketching games such as “Pictionary" or “Win, Lose or Draw” and combines it with a game that harkens back even further in time from most of our childhoods: Telephone. The game requires absolutely no artistic talent, and in fact, advertises that "a bad drawer makes a great Scrawler."GameplayOne gamer's depiction of a "Bad Babysitter" left some room for interpretation...The idea here is that players choose a color: Pink, Black, Green or White, and each take a Scenario card which has 4 different words or phrases on it and sketches the one that matches the chosen color. After everyone has finished their sketches (or the timer has gone of[...]

Review: Puerto Rico:: For the Meeple, by the Meeple (Review of Puerto Rico)

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 12:53:18 +0000

by MariettaTennis BOX ARTYour city of colonists will help you cultivate your island of Puerto Rico and ship goods back to the main land. QUICK FACTS:Style of Game: Strategy Play Time: 90 to 150 minutesTheme: Developing and shipping goods. Number of Players: 3-5 (2 player variant)Main Mechanics: Variable Phase Order, Role Selection Components: GoodWeight: Heavy*Special Note: I am by no means one of those gamers that have played Puerto Rico 100+ times. I am have played the game 9 times and I think if I am being honest, I am not that great at it. Please don't consider this to be expert analysis and an in-depth strategy break down. Instead, consider this a look at very famous game from an average Joe's perspective. THEME AND MECHANISMS: The theme in Puerto Rico isn't exactly gushing from this game, but lets face it, even an average player of this game likely knows few, if any, are playing this game for the theme. The game revolves around a role selection mechanism that creates a variable phase order. I wouldn't say that really meshes with the theme but the tasks you must complete such as, planting different types of resources, building buildings, shipping goods,and bringing colonists to your island do create a world on the table. You may have to use your imagination a tad to get a feel of the theme but I don't think it is too dry. Where I think people lose admiration for the theme in this game is the fact because of the way [...]

Review: Empires: Galactic Rebellion:: Board Game Review - Empires: Galactic Rebellion

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 12:01:44 +0000

by mike6423 A long time ago, in a galaxy...hold on wrong IP. But based off this game, you'd think it was a Star Wars game! We're actually talking about Glenn Drover's Empires: Galactic Rebellion! A sequel, or in my mind, a spiritual successor to Glenn Drovers Empires ... oh hell, I'm talking about Age of Empires III.Number of players: 2-5 (6 with expansion)Age: 14+Playing Time: 90-180 minutes +What's the game about: A description from Eagle-Gryphon's, web site...Empires: Galactic Rebellion hands you the reins in an interstellar clash for control of the Galaxy. Take ownership over one of five factions and assert your supremacy in this exciting new board game from designer Glenn Drover.As the leader of a rebel front, you must manage your personnel wisely to discredit the Empire, lobby the Senate, build up your military strength, and develop new technology all while maintaining relations with your civilian supporters.Take care, however, as the Galactic Empire's elite Sentinel units will be watching for any chance to destroy you, and at any time another faction could stab you in the back. When all is said and done only victors take the spoils. Will historians name your battle a failed rebellion, or will it be the start of a new and better empire?Topple the empire, join the Galactic Rebellion today!Basic idea in my own words:Empires: Galactic Rebellion pits you, one of the factions of the rebellion[...]

Review: Perdition's Mouth: Abyssal Rift:: First Impressions - Abysmal Rift it is not

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 12:01:00 +0000

by AnimalMkIV I got my friend to pick this up from Essen for me and it arrived in my hands on Wednesday. Wow, the box weighs a tonne and is packed full of top quality components. I unpacked everything on Thursday, read the set up pages of the manual, bagging all the different tokens and card sets.I have all my paints at work and paint minis during my lunch hour so I painted the hero shield tokens before applying the stickers. I also managed to get 2 creatures painted (the pic doesn't do it justice)The rule book is very comprehensive and well laid out. Bold red titles make scanning for a particular rule quite easy and there are sidebars on each page with quick hints and references. Certainly a lot easier to use than FFG books. I have set up and played the intro scenario, losing to a lucky defence draw and a lack of boost cards.Really liking this so far, the rondel mechanism really raises this game above the rest of the dungeon crawlers. The hero rondel has you planning more as you can't just run around smiting things, you need to work together to make the best use of your actions. The enemy rondel adds another element of tension. You draw a card from the resolution deck and the number on it dictates hoe many actions through enemies take.There are no dice in this game - everything is done and resolved using cards in a couple of different decks. Each hero has their ow[...]