More Mini Reviews

Mage Wars

Let me first warn you – your first game is going to take a while.  While the rules aren’t particularly difficult (and in fact, most of it can be skipped as they deal with specific spells / effects); you are going to have to spend some time putting together the decks.  However, once you’re actually playing the game; Mage Wars is a ton of fun.  It’s a 2 person, direct conflict wargame that will have you sitting back at the end of a game going ‘Damn, I should have done that’.  It’s definitely a great game for those who don’t mind putting together spell decks and direct conflict, but it does require some upkeep to get the most out of.

Dungeon Twister 2

Let me first state that I played the original Dungeon Twister, not the updated version.  I’ve also been told to expect ‘Fantasy Chess’ with Dungeon Twister, and while I can see the similarities, I would say that Dungeon Twister is much more than a gussied-up version of chess.  The ability for each room to be turned combined with the planning for setting up characters and items are all vastly important and can make / break a game for each player.  It does have a steep learning curve like Chess though – the rules might be simple enough, but the strategies can get quite deep.  This isn’t a bad 2-player game at all, and I could easily see how a 3-4 player game could get truly chaotic.

Food Fight

Food Fight came highly recommended as a tutorial game for those looking to improve their Magic drafting skills. I can see how that’d work well after playing the game, but for myself; I found Food Fight just a touch too random.  I like the card drafting element in the beginning (much like 7 Wonders); but the lack of control of how those cards would appear during the actual battle portion made many of the strategies work either really well or poorly.    The game itself seemed too random for me, but it seems to work well for casual or lighter groups.

Epic Spell Wars of the Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullfyre

Another game that I was under-whelmed by, even though the group I was with seemed to enjoy it.  I guess I tend towards heavier games, and Epic Spell Wars just isn’t.  You get a hand of cards, you get to play the cards down (up to 3) to deal damage / heal yourself / etc.  If you’re lucky and no one targets you, you might survive.  If you’re not lucky, well… you might not even get a turn in a larger group.  The most fun that was had was reading out the various silly names of the spells being cast and watching the ‘take that’ element of the game.  Still, it’s a very simple game with a theme that works for lighter / casual gamers but I’d rather play something as a filler if I had to.

Mini Review Time!

I’ve not really had a lot of time to play games recently, and many games have had the 1-play and done treatment which means I don’t like writing a long review on them.  On the other hand, it’s been ages so I figure it’s mini-review time!

Bohnanza

Bohnanza‘s a classic card game that is quite good.  It’s a negotiation / set-collection game that has an interesting level of depth to it even though the rules are pretty simple.  It’s a good filler-like game like 7 Wonders with a different series of mechanics.  Unlike 7 Wonders, instead of dealing with the individuals on either side of you, you are negotiating / talking with the entire group.  This makes it both a better group game and worst (increased play-time due to negotiations).

Tammany Hall

Tammany Hall starts off simple, with players kind of doing their own thing in each of their areas.  As the game progresses though, conflict increases as players vie for control in each electorate and along with the conflict comes increased complexity of strategy.  In fact, towards the end Tammany Hall feels like it rivals Louis XIV in terms of brain-burn – there’s just so much to analyse and review that your head starts hurting.  Not a game to play with those prone to analysis paralysis and/or individuals looking for a medium-to-light strategy game.

Suburbia

I haven’t played a lot of these ‘City Building’ themed games so Suburbia was a pleasant surprise.  It’s mostly a tile-laying game like Carcassonne, but tiles may have special abilities that effect or is effected by other player tiles so your tile choice is important.  In addition, managing both your income and reputation levels is very important, with a resource engine being needed to be built to do well.  Unfortunately, this is a game that benefits experienced players significantly (like Race for the Galaxy) due to their familarity with the tiles.  Also, I’d be worried about choosing certain strategies which are dependent on specific tile(s) coming out – if you miss out on those tiles (or have them specifically discarded), you could lose out to another player who manages to get the tiles they require.  S

Clash of Cultures

I explained this game as a streamlined Sid Meier’s Civilization the Board Game to a friend recently and compared it to how Eclipse streamlines Twilight Imperium.  Each are great games in their own ways, with Clash of Cultures playing faster than Civilization, and having a different ‘feel’ than Civilization but missing some of the multiple routes to victory and flexibility Civilization offers.  Overall, a very, very good game and one I’ll definitely add to my own collection for sure.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

I’ve now played most of the major co-operatives and Flash Point is my no.2 so far after Ghost Stories.  Where Ghost Stories does well at both ratcheting up the tension and sudden bursts of ‘oh god’, Flash Point mostly works on the ‘It’s OK, it’s OK, Oh God!’ method of board hate.  The explosions caused by the fire are a bit too random I find to create a good sense of dread, yet you do worry especially when there’s a lot of fire and a low number of damage markers left.  I do like the fact that you can play up to 6 players though, something that Ghost Stories just can’t do.  It’s probably a game to be added to my collection for lighter game groups that I visit.  It also seems to give the entire ‘alpha gamer’ issue a miss by keeping the entire gameplay / choices obvious enough that there really isn’t a huge amount to discuss / fight over – and when there is, the choices can often be equally as good (do I go here to fight these big fires with everyone else or do I stay here to keep control of the minor fire here in case it flares up?)

Mini Board Game Reviews (4)

World of Warcraft the Adventure Game
The World of Warcraft Adventure Game is surprisingly good. It’s a solid game that balances the need to develop your characters with interesting abilties, skills and equipment with the need for fast gameplay very well. You each get an individual character to use, with their own special ability deck. As you gain experience, you gain access to more cards from the deck and new portions of the board to explore. Interaction with the board is quick and intuitive; there’s no major restrictions on movement due to bad die rolls and the game’s quests and monsters are fun take-on. Overall, I’d say it’s probably the best adventure game out there at the moment.

Zooloretto
A board game version of the hit Coloretto; players must slowly ‘stock’ their respective zoos by taking orders from the trucks arriving each turn. Of course, you’ll need to know when to take a truck with some animals that you want and when to push your luck in the hopes of getting just the right mixture. The addition of a game board that limits both the type of animals you can take as well as the number makes Zooloretto a tighter resource management game than Coloretto. Add the cute animals and Zooloretto makes a lightweight Euro strategy game perfect for introducing beginners to.

Glory to Rome
If you liked Race for the Galaxy, you probably will love Glory to Rome. Taking the role choice aspect of Puerto Rico and Race; Glory to Rome makes you cards work triply hard. Each card can be a role, building, client or resource depending on the phase of the gameplay and where it’s situated. This is an advanced strategy game that requires players to think 2 to 3 steps ahead each turn at a minimum and benefits from multiple plays. Even after 10 times playing it, I’m still finding more to this game each time I break it out.

Dungeon Lords
I like this game. As a fan of Dungeon Keeper; I’m tickled pink by the homage to the original PC game; but don’t let the ‘cute’ graphics fool you. There’s a serious game here, with quite a lot of thinking required. It might be a touch too heavy for some players, and a bit too fiddly for others though as you’ve got to control your command cards, the order of your commands, the monsters and traps you’ll purchase as well as the dungeon rooms you place (and where to place them); along with balancing your evilness to ensure the Paladin doesn’t come visiting. There’s a lot going-on; but it’s well worth the playing.

Tanto Cuore
Ooooh, I like this game. My favorite deck-builder thus far; it has just the right mixture of interaction and strategy for my taste. You can get nasty and throw Illnesses and Bad Habits at other players or play purely defensively, attempting to buy up points to win the game. Of course, the art might turn some people off but if you can get past that, Tanto Cuore is an extremely solid game.

The Legend of Drizzt
The Legend of Drizzt is the 3rd D&D Board Game and introduces both team and competitive play scenarios. In addition, there’s even more heroes that you can play with than ever before with new Events and improved (and more interesting) monster AI. Legend of Drizzt is the perfect gateway dungeon crawler and introduction to 4th Edition as well as a great stand-alone board game by itself.

Lords of Vegas : Dust, Dice & Dollars
Lords of Vegas is a family strategy game. There’s too much luck in here for a pure Eurogamer; but if you’re looking for a simpler filler game that you can introduce the family to; this light-hearted game of casino building is a great bet. Fast turns, easy rules and lots of dice makes this a pretty solid family board game.

Revolution
Revolution is a game of area control and blind bidding where players are attempting to gain sufficient influence to ensure it’s their opponents who go to the guillotine; not themseleves. They’ll need to bid for control over a variety of powerful individuals in the game, with each successful bid providing a combination of points, territory and influence for the next round. There are 3 types of influences, with force trumping blackmail which trumps gold. However, certain individuals may be immune to certain forms of influence so deciding where each players goes each turn and what they’ll bid is key to the game. Revolution’s a ton of fun, it’s quite light and with a good group can flow very fast.