Mini Reviews

Lots of board games have been played recently, unfortunately I’ve not had time to write full reviews for them or I’ve not had enough experience / plays to give a full review.  So here’s a ton of mini-reviews for the games.

Parade: Light card game that has players drawing and playing cards down onto a line of cards (the Parade).  Cards that aren’t protected by the card played must be taken by the player if they are either lower than the card’s number or the same colour suit.   Points on the cards are negative points, though players only receive -1 point for each card that they have a colour majoirty in  Parade’s an interesting take on the set collection game that takes a game or two for you to get an idea how it plays, but it’s fun even if it is light on theme.

Hansa Teutonica: Supposedly about developing a network of trade merchants in Germany, however, truthfully the theme is extremely low.  Mostly, it’s a game about route building and area control, where players build routes on the board to unlock additional abilities (workers,additional points, increase refreshed, etc.) and score points.  It’s actually quite a fun game that is highly conflict oriented in the Euro-game way.

Terra Prime: A science fiction, exploration and colonisation game; Terra Prime’s an interesting game.  It’s very much a Euro take on an AmeriTrash game, with somewhat simplified rules and quick gameplay.  It’s not a bad space exploration game, though I’m going to have to play it a couple more times to make a full judgment.  Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the game is the quality of the pieces – we had cardboard tokens literally coming apart on us as we punched it.

Zombie State – Diplomacy of the Dead : Okay, let’s get my biggest grouse out of the way – the graphics are horrendous.  Seriously – the board uses a ton of non-primary colours that contrast very badly on the world map.  This game desperately required a graphic designer.  Note however that while it uses a world map, this is not a Risk-clone.  In Zombie State, players are fighting the Zombies; not each other.  In addition, you are limited to your own regions (which are hard enough frankly to keep populated).  However, there is some minor conflict by careful planning by sending the Zombie hordes into other player regions or via foreign aid.  There’s also a tech tree and lots and lots of zombies.  It’s actually quite fun, though gameplay takes a lot of time – figure about 4 hours for a first game with 3 players only.

Castle Ravenloft:  Now in sharp contrast – this is a game that got the visual presentation right.  Actually, more than right – this game’s miniatures is absolutely gorgeous.  Now, not having played D&D since Basic, I can’t say anything about how simplified or not this is compared to D&D 4.0 but compared to Descent, it’s incredibly simplified to make gameplay fast.   There are only a few characters and the dungeon is all randomly generated.  It’s a great light adventure game for those looking for something that sets-up and teaches faster than Descent, but there is rather a lot of randomness in the game (dice rolling for combat, random dungeon creation, random monsters per dungeon, random events, etc.)

Anima: the Shadow of the Omega: In contrast to all the great games we’ve played and discussed, this isn’t a good game.  No, seriously it’s a bad, bad game.  The game is entirely too random, with almost no real control over what characters you get, what events you face and what quests you are required to complete.  Other than pretty pictures on the cards, the game just doesn’t play well and takes too long anyway.