The game The Girl and the Robot is currently in the prototype state (although very close to the final version), I offer here a first impression and not a finished review. This seems to me an honest way for you and the publisher.
It all started in 2013 with a successfulKickstarter campaign for the video game The Girl and The Robot. It took three years of development to see the light of day on PC and consoles. A video game based on the puzzle / exploration game that immerses you in a universe that recalls some tales.
The Girl and The Robot follows the adventures of a little girl released from prison by an old man. She then tries to escape and in the process, bind a medallion to a Robot, who will become her bodyguard. This is the beginning of the video game. Of course, in the card game, you learn more about the story.
The little girl is actually the princess of the kingdom (of an unknown name) and the daughter of the king. The king was a good person and concerned about his subjects. Along with his wife, he allowed his people to flourish and be happy. Unfortunately, one day, a strange illness seized the queen. This queens health would deteriorate little by little. Desperate, the king finally accepted a pact with a demonic presence to save the soul of the queen. Once the pact was sealed, the kingdom fell into a strange silence. Several years later, a rumor spread that the kingdom fell into the hands of a demonic queen and an army of robots. In this kingdom, living out of sight, locked in a prison, the princess grows up. One day, the doors that were closed, open. The little girl then undertakes an adventure in order to escape from this cursed kingdom. But the demonic queen does not want her to escape. She will then do everything to recover the little girl (the why is not explained). During her escape, she will make friends with a robot who, strangely, does not obey the Queen's orders. Both will then oppose demonic hordes to regain their freedoms.
As you can see, the universe is not necessarily original and takes a lot of things in what is known. This does not prevent you from enjoying it and it has the merit of existing. Especially that it must be admitted, the presence of the theme is not necessarily the highlight of the game (I'll come back to that).
At the time of writing, the game is currently being running on Kickstarter. It has just reached his funding. A French version is potentially under way too. The volume in terms of text is quite limited. The Girl and the Robot is a little card game drawn from the video game. The game created bySalim Larochelleand illustrated byAyaka Nakamura, is published byFlying Carpets Games.
Depending on the number of players, the game play is slightly different. The two-player mode is a face-to-face clash. At four, it can play in a team of two, head to head. There is also the possibility of playing three, with two against one.
The game system is quite simple. Each player starts by choosing a character. For the two-player mode, the demonic queen will be opposed to the little girl. With three players, this will be the girl with the robot facing the queen. Four players, the girl and her sidekick will be opposed to the queen and a robot of her army. Each player then receives a basic sword card. Everyone starts with a weapon. You then receives a hand of cards and go.
Cards are divided into three categories: actions, objects and abilities. There is a fourth kind of card, the demons, which are not going to be directly used by the players but which will correspond to the permanent threat of the end of the game and thegame over. When your turn comes, you can play as many cards as you want.
Actions are, “one shots”that once used join the discard pile. Actions allow you to anticipate threats, better prepare, avoid drawing cards, recover used cards, go after your opponent directly, help your teammate (in team mode).
The objects will be positioned (face up or not) in front of you. They will serve you to defend against the demons. The objects remain in front of you until they are used, unless another player steals them. These cards are among the most important. Having several guarantees you a lot of advantages against your opponents.
Each character has their own abilities. To activate these abilities, players must use the enabled cards. These cards correspond to numbers: from 1 to 3. Each capacity requires a different cost that must be paid by discarding the correct number (whether in one or more cards). A used capacity at the right time can save your life. It is also true that some are more interesting than others. Unused bonus points are lost at the end of a turn.
In turn, you can play any number of cards and in any combination. Collecting new cards is not a simple thing and can be double-edged. So be careful not to reveal too much at once. At the end of a turn, the active player draws the first card from the deck. If it is not a demon, they keep the card and play continues with the next player. If it's a demon, then there are two possibilities. If the player has a weapon in front of them, they sacrifice it to repel the demon. The demon card is then put back into thedeck,face-up at any position desired by the victim player. If they have no weapons, they are then possessed and the game ends. The player or team that falls victim of the demon, loses the game.
A reading rules, I will not hide that I thought that this was a duplicate ofExploding Kittens. Everything is there or almost. The use of the Russian roulette system, the “take that”, the cards that can protect you ... But are they the same game?
With two players, the two games are relatively close and the sensations are very similar. The durations of games are very variable. It can be played in less than 10 minutes, but it can last around 30 minutes. This time is explained by the speed or not the appearance of demons, the presence of weapons. Because yes, the luck of the draw plays a key role in the game. The strategic side is often put forward. However, with two players, it is the luck factor that occupies an omnipresent place. Basically, if you have the right cards you win. But it's quite inherent to games that use the Russian roulette system. It can easily appear to have a sense of injustice in the face of repeated bad luck. One can also end up just drawing, without playing anything and waiting for the announced death of the other. Even if it is playable at two, this mode is clearly not what gives the charm of the game
The four-player mode is the more interesting version of the game. Players do not play in their corner, but must consult, act together and help each other against the opposing team. The tension is not the same. The possibilities are a little more important and fun is here. Notably because the game may have time to build up. Of course, this is the same game. The importance of luck is always there, but it is lessened by the distribution of the bad luck side. Being able to help each other allows for good combinations. Turns can last a little longer. As a team, the game has a different interest and can keep you indulge a little longer.
The theme is, for its part, is abundantly absent. You end up just playing your cards while trying to escape the card that will end the game for you. Besides, why would demons want the queen to lose? Has not she succumbed to their powers? Yes, I may be pushing the interpretation too far. But when you try to embed a game of this type with a theme that potentially holds the road (without being original), why not stick to it? Moreover if we push the thing even more. What is the relationship between demons and robots? Is it a metaphor that technology is evil? A priori, the video game does not answer these questions either (or no one has looked at them). In short, I’m go astray.
Graphically, the game has a real charm. The cards are clean. The illustrations, while being cartoonie, offer a very pretty pastel tone. The whole thing is trying to plunge you into this magical world and would get there if thegameplayfollowed. For her first work on a game,Ayaka Nakamuramakes you want to follow her future visual productions. In terms of quality, cards are good quality and pleasant to handle. The rules are pretty well presented but not always very clear.
The big highlight of the game and on it, they did not lie to us, is the ease of learning. The game is explained in a very short time. The understanding of how to play is also very fast. From the first part, you know what to do and pray that you do not fall on demons while trying to take on others.
The girl and the Robot is a party game that does not revolutionize the genre. Fans of fast games, Russian roulette and team games can find themselves comfortable here. However, we are clearly in fast play. Quick to learn, quick to play, and unfortunately fast to forget. Replayability is more at the level of the players than at the level of the gameplay. It's a shame. Yet the game has a certain charm, a special atmosphere that could have been put forward. Its average price can be an asset to convince players to help the girl (without a name?) to repel the demonic forces.
If you are convinced by the potential of the game, you can already pre-order the game on Kickstarter (the French version seems to depend on the success of the campaign) or wait for its availability in store in the future.
Language dependent : yes
Written by Barry
The post-apocalyptic, Magic the Gathering card game without the endless years of collecting. That's one way to describe this card game. As you are a hero who is picking through the remains of a destroyed planet, possibly Earth, collecting technologies and other warriors to fight for your cause.
Let me start by saying that the version of the game we played was of the second edition. So some of these comments might not apply to the future installments of the game. Again remember that these are first impression of a “One Time” play, of a two-player game. Therefore different configurations of players may change the overall feel of play
The rules of the game are pretty straightforward, especially if you are familiar with dueling card games. Each player will have a deck of cards and they will be using these cards to attack their opponents. Simple as that. But there are some interesting mechanisms and differences between this game and others of its ilk.
One of those differences is the set-up. For the base game, you'll be randomly constructing your deck and randomly picking your hero. As this is not a collectible card game, we found a very large selection of cards of each type in the game. This randomness in constructing a 24 card deck fits the theme of you picking through the ruins of a destroyed City, finding technologies, and other fighters ready to fight for you. With about 250 cards to choose from, and what looks like only two copies of each card within the deck, everytime you distribute cards you will have a different setup. And therefore play your strategy on the fly, with each card you reveal. This leads to a lot of random gameplay and possibly put off players who have to adapt quickly to what they have. But the alternative is to either give your deck a good looking over before playing or to play the advanced rules and build your own deck.
After our first play, I can admit that I wasn't too enthralled by this prospect, although I see the possibility of multiple plays leading to a better understanding of the game. Again multiple plays would also lead to faster smoother gameplay, less pausing and rule book reading.But my feelings were also tainted by the poor luck that I had. First impression, remember!In the game, your deck is your life points. Burning through your deck is not an option as these cards will go into your graveyard and when you have no more cards to draw or in hand, it's game over for you. Every time you take damage from an opponent, a card from your hand or your deck will have to go into the graveyard. I had the disadvantage of chance when everytime I took damage I discarded a card from the deck. Which all happened to be Unit cards. And every time I drew a card into my hand, it happened to be a Tactics card. What's the difference?
A nice element about the game is, there are these two types of cards. Units will fight for you, while tactics are like one shot effects. Can you now understand my frustration?In hindsight, I should have kept the tactic cards instead of playing them to try and melt my opponent's life points.And then when damage was taken, I would discard these for my hand and instead of blindly drawing from the deck. Not only are there two types of card, each type of card comes in one of three levels. These are to correspond with the level of your hero character. Which again could be a problem for some players who don't level up their hero at the beginning of the game. There's nothing worse than drawing cards that you can use, due to a restriction.
So apart from my quibbles of randomness in the game, there are some interesting and exceptional ideas.Unit cards and the Hero have attacks or powers that, once used will have a cool down period. This is signified by the numbers on each side of the card. A simple colour system will remind you of the duration of the cooldown. Making tapping your card a simple affair, although it took a little while to remember in which direction the card should be turnt at the refresh phase at the beginning of your turn. For some reason we have a natural affinity to turn things clockwise. Where as in this game, it's anticlockwise.
Combat in the game is simple and logical. Some units have weapons that can shoot at a distance while others are hand-to-hand combat only. Leaving way for some interesting decisions that you will make while trying to take out your opponent. Two characters with the same attack is simply a case of the numbers and who has the most highest. Both doing damage to each other as well as exhausting themselves for a round. Where as, someone with a gun going up against a hand to hand expert has different consequences. The gun will always fire first, before the puncher I can punch.Realistic and interesting, as well as refreshingly simple.
When cards go to your graveyard, you have a choice of placing them either on the top or the bottom.This can be an important tactic because you can bring cards back from the dead, if they are on the top of the graveyard. Each card has its own recycle value, which means that you’ll eject that number of cards from your graveyard to bring the top card back into play on the battlefield. Plus there are other ways and power that will allow you to do this.
Now let's talk about the heroes. There are about 20 in this version of the game, each coming in three levels. Each will bring you a certain amount of water at the beginning of your turn. It is this water that is the currency of the game, allowing you to recruit and play cards into the Battlefield. Also this water will permit you to level up your Hero so they can activate more powerful cards from your deck. In fact, you may spend your first 3 to 5 turns doing so, while your opponent starts chiseling at your life points. Not only do they give you access to more powerful cards but also themselves, collect more water or even give the ability to draw a card into your hand each turn.All have the same regular power, of an additional water or card, but each also has their own unique power to discover.We also played with the optional rule all of technology cards. Again, these are dealt out at random. Of the five cards dealt to you, only three of them can be played into the game. These changed the balance of the game as they were introduced, once more leading you to adapt your gameplay to what you have in your hand. Plus giving each player a unique playing style.
The quality of the product is pretty high. The card quality is good, although there is no proper storage solution in the box. The tokens for marking damage or power-ups and power downs are chunky and easy to read. In fact the whole icon system is simplicity itself.The dark apocalyptic art is somewhat lost in the cards, but if you stare at them closely you can appreciate the wonderful details the artist has created. The rule book is nicely spaced out and easy to read. But could still do with some “easy to find” chapter markers and possibly being a bit more profound in its descriptions and definitions. We did run into some questions that we could not answer from the rule book or even the videos that we watched.
This is definitely a Board Game that Everybody Should probably get better at, with time and an understanding of some of the hundreds of cards.A great idea for those who just want to jump in a card battle, without having to collect or trade from blister packs.Plus very little down time to explain the rules. It's theme of scavenging the wastelands of a destroyed utopia is there at the beginning of the game but slowly dissipate into dust as you realise that this is primarily a two player Magic/Yu-Gi-Oh card game. But you can also play as 3 or go up to 4 players team matches, which is a bonus for this type of game.
As I said, these are the thoughts and feelings after one play of the second edition. The complete edition with expansions is currently running on Kickstarter. If this sounds like your type of thing, click on the link below to be zapped to an alternative universe.
Cosmo duck roll & write collection (2019)First Impressions
This project is scheduled to run from October 21 to November 1 2019 only onUlule (a french version of Kickstarter)
Today's review is a bit special. We are not going to dig into one game like every time, but we will explore four! Yes, I said four! Hold on tight.
Originally, I wanted to create four different reviews, each returning to one of the games and creating a kind of countdown that would lead to the beginning of the campaign. But technical problems and a timing problem allowed other reviewers to do it. So, to avoid repetition, I’m putting all this in one go, there, Bahm! Get ready there is text. But ... what am I talking about?
Phil Vizcarro, whom I have already mentioned to you in the review ofDany, has partnered with Alexis Anne to create a concept, I’m not afraid to say, quite innovative. By this meeting, this is also two publishing houses working hand in hand: Phil representsCosmo Duck and Alexis is the worthy representative ofAurora Games. Me, I like stories that start well. These two people have joined forces to offer a new fun experience: " One year of Roll & Write ". This project is scheduled to run from October 21 to November 1, 2019 only onUlule.
" One year of Roll & Write " is as its name suggests, the ability to enjoy for one year a Roll & Write being sent directly to you. One per month, 12 games (with potentially surprises including a bonus game on the first shipment) in all. You will receive the necessary equipment to play at the first delivery and each month you will be entitled to your pad of papers with your new game. I cannot hide it, the sounds great.
or those who do not know, the Roll & Write is a very popular style of games. In France, it would be like "Roll the dice and write the result" (yes it's less glamorous but it immediately puts in the mood). Basically, what characterizes this type of game is most often: a score sheet, dice, things to write or draw, an obligation to note. However, there are many variants.
This style of games is becoming more and more fashionable and we see this system blooming everywhere. One could easily say that the Yahtzee is the most famous representative of this style. But, this system, a priori basic, is in perpetual transformation. Some of the best known include:Roll Through the Ages,Rolling Japan,Very smart,Metro X, the recentOn Tour... It is clear that this is a mechanism that is both simple and interesting as it is easily adaptable. Some even chose to remove the dice, which participated in the charm of the whole thing, to replace them with cards as withWelcome To ... andCartographers: A Roll Player Tale. We can easily say that to try an adventure like this, to offer 12 Roll & Write for a year is a difficult thing, especially now that this style of game is so competitive.
In order to make their idea known and because facts speak better than promises, the two co-creators decided to launch a discovery campaign. Some were fortunate to receive a panel of four of the games, with a few pages of each to better see the beast. I was lucky to be part of this selection, so I'm going to take you on a little tour of the thing.
2+ players 15-20 minutes Ages 10+ Language dependent: no
Written by Guilou
Diggers! is a little game that immerses you in the heart of the Wild West. Here, no cowboy or indians. You are an outlaw and you have just come across a mine with great potential in terms of wealth. Unfortunately, during an attempt to make small holes with dynamite, it creates a huge explosion and you end up deep in a pit. Fortunately, the light of day is still visible, but for how long?
The goal of the game is to get back to the surface as quickly as possible while collecting the most jewels on your path.
First and foremost, each player must have their own game sheet. You will then blacken three boxes on your sheet, then pass it to your neighbor on the left. You redo this operation and again pass to the left. Continuing until twelve boxes are blackened.
Warning: the boxes must not touch each other and they can not be the entry and exit boxes. The blackened boxes then become impassable areas.
Once done, you’ll mix up these sheets and redistribute them to each player. Here we go.
Each box has one or more numbers on it. All players start on the "Start" box. The active player rolls the four dice and each player chooses one of the four results to move. You can very well choose the same. You move by drawing a line from where you are yo where you want to go. You can very well go back, but impossible to return to the box "Start" or to cross into a black space.
If you can not do anything? Well, that's not good luck. But do not panic, take a deep breath. Oops, did not I tell you? The air becomes less accessible ... When you can not move, you must check off one of your Air boxes. At the sixth, if you are still not out, you suffocate. End of the game for you. And when a player is dead, they can not claim victory points.
When you pass over a jewel, it is validated. But it will only count once, even if you traverse the box a second time. As soon as a player is out, they win the bonus associated with their position. In addition, for each player who escapes, a die is removed from the pool.
The survivor with the most points wins the game.
The idea of personalizing your mine with the boxes blacken is a nice touch. Unfortunately, you’ll quickly realize that the variation is quite limited and that after several different choices, the configurations will be similar. But this does not diminish our pleasure, it brings a little replayability.
Of the four I received, Diggers! is perhaps the simplest. It is a race to the exit but with a small dose of risk-taking “stop or go” that is not uninteresting. The lure of gaining gems is sometimes more interesting than trying to escape first. But the risk will also growing.
That can be frustrating and at the same time enjoyable, to find oneself going back and forth gently waiting for death or on the contrary wealth, at the sight of this brilliant stone that is nearby ... so close ... yes. ..
Diggers! is a nice surprise. Finally, quite classic, everything is very clear and allows everyone to have fun without making things too complicated.
Players who absolutely try to finish first without collecting gems, not only will miss the point of the game, but also find too simple and uninteresting.
1+ players 15-20 minutes per level Ages 10+ Language dependent: no
Written by Guilou
Yes, of course you have all recognized the tribute or inspiration of this game. No need to discuss it for hours. Anyway, the whole game is based on it and the theme is ... amazingly well done.
Dice Quest: Tower of Illusion puts you in the shoes of an adventurer. At the beginning of the game, you will all choose by mutual agreement the number of levels you want. The number of levels is the number of floors this tower has. Each floor will correspond to a sheet and each sheet to a dungeon floor (it's well done eh!). The more level you choose, the longer the game is, and vice versa. At the end of each level of the dungeon, your group goes up one floor and you’ll redo a game while keeping your statistics and especially your gold.
Once the duration of the game is chosen, you do a little character creation. Yes, you read that right. We will create a character in a Roll & Write. The idea is very simple. You will first choose your race, at the count of four: human, orc, elf and dwarf.
Once done, you will roll four dice. These results will match your stats: health, speed, strength and intelligence. Each player must place the number of the chosen die in the box. Be careful to take into account the bonuses and penalties related to your race before writing the number.
Now, move on to the creation of the dungeon. Your dungeon is separated into four squares of color. Each colored square corresponds to a part of the floor. The principle is simple. Each player rolls one die. According to the diagrams available, you’ll draw the corresponding area. Each player is in the same dungeon but not in the same reality. This small nuance allows everyone to have their own dungeon. Then, turn the sheet 90 ° and start again, four times. You then have a beautiful dungeon with walls, paths and chests.
But what would a dungeon be without monsters? Each level starts with 4 + L (level value) of monsters. Each dungeon starts with the same monsters. You’ll throw a white dice and a red dice. These values define where the monster will appear. If the box is empty, indicate the monster (an M or a nice drawing as you want), if there is already something, the monster does not appear to be home. Once all the monsters are in play, it’s time to play.
On your turn, you have the choice between several actions.
You can choose to move. For that, according to your speed value, you will draw a line of your path of movement. Of course you can not cross the walls. If a chest is on route, you can choose to stop there. If you cross a living monster, it blocks you and you must stop there.
To open a chest, you will throw two red dice and a white dice. You will add your intelligence to the white dice. If this value is higher than the other two dice, bravo you pick up as much gold as the highest red value. If it's lower, you've failed. Pity. You can then try again, except if the two red dice are identical. In this case, the chest explodes and you lose a life point. What luck …!
Faced with a monster, three choices are available to you.
You can choose to fight. You roll two red dice and a white dice. You add your strength to your white dice. If successful, the monster is dead (it disappears for all players!) And you can tick a cross in the XP box. In case of failure, the monster stays on the spot and inflicts you a point of damage. You will be able to retry your luck the next turn.
The second choice ... is the flight. You roll your three dice, add your speed value to the white. If successful, you can continue to move (be careful the monster is not dead). In case of failure, the monster stops you by hitting you. A point of damage is received and it will retry your luck.
In the worst case, you can also choose to corrupt it. You can corrupt up to five monsters per floor. Each corrupt monster will let you continue your movement ... in exchange for three gold coins. You will need to check a corresponding box for each corruption. Just to say it right away, it's a shame!
At the end of each turn (as soon as everyone has played), dice are rolled to see if there is the appearance of a new monster. The round ends once you exit that floor. The game ends once the desired number of levels have been played. The hero with the most gold wins the game.
But beware, any death is final. You will have to make a new hero with no equipment. When you're dead ...
Finally, between each floor, you can shop in the Grand Bazaar.
Dice Quest is clearly Roll & Write the most surprising of the four. Everything perspires of theme and, at the same time, it is still a racing game. First to kill monsters, first to plunder the most treasure, first to go out, do not die first.
Finally, we find the appearance of the traditional Roll & Write, through the addition of monsters. Moreover, it is in this well realized mechanism that your nerves will be put under pressure. Continue to search at the risk of being overtaken by their numbers or running towards freedom by abandoning all these potential wonders?
The authors managed to make the taste and sensations of a small dungeon crawl with only a sheet of paper and dice. We did find many things that are a homage toHeroQuest, to name just a few games. The game is fluid, the creation of the levels is fun, the movement changes and the concept of risk-taking, "take the money or run" to ensure the thing is really well put together. On the other hand, running with 1 point of movement is a real ordeal! What an idea to equip lead boots.
The addition of the opportunity to equip yourselves better, not spending our precious gold adds to the theme. Dice Quest is a really surprised and we replay it with great pleasure.
It's always nice to see others constantly strive to try to open a chest when you get there the first time. And conversely, when your lamentable failure to take out a small Orc, others will not delay to remind you about it.
One of the flaws however is the number of sheets required to play. Indeed, unlike the other games where a sheet is enough for a game, here, depending on the number of level chosen, you will need much more. It might be wise to think about it when sending this game of the month ...
1+ players 20 minutes Ages 10+ Language dependent: no
Written by Guilou
Do you remember Game & Watch? It was electronic games LCD that was all the rage in the 80s. There was something for everyone and for all budgets (the most famous being those of Nintendo). Get out, Dugland! take again the imagery and the mechanisms of these games.
Dugland is a good guy who comes home after a drunken evening. Without anyone knowing how, the poor man finds himself scantily dressed and strangely locked out of his house. His wife is at the window and begins to throw all his belongings out. Your mission, if you agree, is to help poor Dugland recover as many of his possessions as possible and get the most points. The game system is directly inspired by Game & Watch.
You have four dice available: two white and two red.
After rolling them, you will have to place them. The two white dice will be used to select the row and column where the object will arrive. The two red dice allow you to choose the type of clothing and the space where Dugland will try to catch these things.
Once the dice are chosen, you will draw the object concerned in the selected box. Each box is divided into four mini-boxes. An object occupies a single mini-box.
You then check if Dugland collects something. He can only retrieve objects if he is in the right column of line 6 and there are objects present. Depending on this space, he can recover several items at once. At the beginning of each turn, he returns to the left of the page. When you arrive to retrieve an object, you circle it to indicate that it is saved.
After this phase, Bernard is his first name, definitely has no luck. Indeed, the wind comes to mix things up. The objects will then move on your page according to their own rules. As soon as an object falls out of the screen (no matter if its top, bottom, left or right), you must cross off a box in the lost object table. Lose twelve and the game ends.
At this point, you calculate the points of each according to what we have recovered and if Dugland managed to make bonus points with the combos. (The game can also end if there are no more boxes available on line 6).
Thematically or rather mechanically, the game fits perfectly in the spirit of Game & Watch. We really feel like we’ve traveled back many years to get annoyed at our little screen in the face of our inability to catch up or save the most people or ... The authors have managed to capture and revive this style of game.
Unfortunately, in terms of a board game, this iteration passes less well. The game is unnecessarily complicated. The management of the movements of the objects or the choice of the dice lacks fluidity for this type of games.
Without being complex, the game is sometimes heavy but especially very risky. Next, the whereabouts of the objects and what they are when they appear, it can often be impossible to do anything before it disappears. You are more likely to wait for them to arrive on line 6 and pray that the dice delivers the right number, rather than really to act.
The idea is not bad, far from it. But the game does not take. Instead of having fun, we are little confused, to think not about the way we play but whether we did everything to play. This is clearly for me, the one less convinced out of the four. And it's a shame, because the sensations are really there compared to its video-play model.
1+ players 15 minutes Ages 10+ Language dependent: no
Written by Guilou
Comrade! The Kremlin needs a new architecture. Our leaders want higher, more beautiful towers. This is your honor! Be proud ... but above all, be effective!
It is often said that you have to keep the best for last. So here is my little darling.
Kremlin Konstrukt is a game inspired by the game Tetris. Who does not know this game? Look, even beyond the wall we know how it works!
The principle is simple. You take four dice: two red and two white and throw them. The Active Comrade then chooses one die of each color and the other players will have to do with the other two. Each die symbolizes a predefined Tetris shape. You will need to insert each shape on your diagram. Of course, you will have to follow Tetris rules to the letter.
You can indeed turn the shape in the direction you want, while respecting its original shape. The pieces can not remain alone in the void, but when they touch another piece they are stuck. You can not go through another, but you can make them "slip" if that's possible.
The goal of the game is to make complete lines. The bigger you make (up to four lines at a time), the more points you will earn. Each time a line is closed, you check a location on the scale according to its size. If you reach certain areas, you will also have bonus points.
It's that simple. A real Tetris, pure and hard. The game ends for a player as soon as one of their pieces goes beyond their page. Others can continue to play until the same thing happens to them.
A specific solo version exists. In this version, you only play with two dice. You can also place a die on the “Hold” box of your sheet. It's a way of "saving" a die and being able to reuse it later. But in the meantime, you will only play with one die.
Of the four, this is clearly my favorite. Simple, fun, fluid, fast, clever ...
The game offers us the joys of a Tetris in the form of a game of die. We found all the subtleties (apart from the augmenting speed) and the cunning of this mechanism.
Young and old can understand the game quickly and all rapidly take pleasure.
The difficulty comes from the choice made by your opponent and there, we can try to trap the other in this way while trying to save yourself. The satisfaction of linking the four lines while the others accumulate holes is second to none (and also denotes that Tetris is like cycling, it is not forgotten).
To be honest with you when this idea came up, I was not particularly excited. Perhaps because of the profusion of games of this type lately. Now, my point of view has changed.
Even though I like Roll & Write, there is really something to eat and drink in this style of play. Few are really good to play.
After trying these four demo versions, I must say that I am very pleasantly surprised. Beyond the games themselves, I take my hat off to Phil and his team. Until now, they have been able to offer game experiences that are very different from one copy to another. We have the same game materials but the sensations are totally different. This tell us good for tits future, and we hope that the trend will continue.
It is planned to send 50 sheets for each game. For some, it seems a lot, for others like Dice Quest it can quickly be too little.
In any case, congratulations to both editors for this risk. The four games tried, as you can see, are really nice and pleasant (even if they are not all at the same level). We feel that the passion of the 80s and thematic respect guided the authors. And that, I can only applaud with both hands.
A year of Roll & Write is a fun experience, which if it continues on its way, is likely to make a lot of people talk and want to be part of continuity. Casually, it's gone. The joy of surprise every month, and the pleasure of trying it make you want to abandon yourself. Whether alone or with others, the Roll & Write is always something pleasant. Especially since it is easily transportable (why not a little box as a gift?) And playable everywhere.
Remember, this is happening on Ulule and it's from October 21st to November 1st. In addition, the price announced is far from exorbitant. To watch very closely. If you are a fan of this type of games, it would be a shame to miss out. Nothing but the experience of seeing totally different games with the same material every month at home. In any case, I would not fail to check it out.
The Second World War is a global event that has deeply touched the minds and souls. We find this represented many times in board games. Indeed, many games are released each year on this theme. The vast majority of them propose mechanisms close to Wargames, either with figurines or cardboard elements. Sometimes authors choose this period and decide to think outside the box at the level of mechanisms. This is the case of Clash Of The Ardennes.
First of all, I want to say that the game I had the chance to try is still what we can consider to be a prototype, even if it is already well done. Some things can still change after the Kickstarter. Because yes, this is a future Kickstarter scheduled for September 10.
Clash Of The Ardennes is a game by Elwin Klappe. This is a game based on the battle that took place in the Ardennes. It offers two players to compete for control of the territory. The game is scheduled to go out in stores in 2020. The Kickstarter will offer three different formats. The first is to be able to acquire the game as a deck of cards. For the second and third, during the Kickstarter and only for the quickest of clickers, a classic version and another wooden collector edition will be available. The classic version will be limited to 500 copies, while the Collector at 100 copies. The version we played was a wooden prototype, as you will see in the pictures, which seems to be closer to the classic version.
Clash Of The Ardennes is a game that wants to immerse you in the heart of the famous battle that took place in the Ardennes. Each player embodies one of the two camps: one will take the allies (and more specifically the Americans), while the other will take the Germans. Each player will have the same pieces, each corresponding to divisions of the army on the spot.
The game board is divided into seven rows. Each row is 18 slots long. A player wins the game if he takes three rows. For a row to fall into the hands of an army, the player must have his troops cross the battlefield and one of his divisions must touch the opposite side of the board. But it's not as simple as it seems to be. The fight will be fierce between the two camps.
Like any good war movie, before entering the thick of the battle, we must review the available troops.
There is no war without infantrymen. The soldiers of each army are represented by helmets. They occupy two locations once in play. They are themselves divided according to their rank. Indeed, you will have 6 soldiers and 3 officers. The more helmet on your character, the more the soldier is graded. You also find on the bottom their decoration (not always easy to distinguish especially among Germans).
The infantrymen will be supported by armored units (7 in number). These occupy three locations. Tanks are represented by tanks.
There will also be the possibility of installing mines on the battlefield (5). Mines occupy a single location and have a mine symbol is drawn on it.
But your regular troops will be helped by special divisions specifically dispatched for this battle. Each camp has the same. Special units have a color or symbol that distinguishes them from normal ones.
Your army has a general. This is represented by a pawn of five spaces. You can see a cap and helmets as well as his specific decoration.
You also have at your disposal a special tank. The latter, when it comes into play, will be able to shoot, not only in front of itself but also on the sides. This pawn has arrows to remind you. It occupies three locations like a normal tank.
In order to have effective firepower, your army is also equipped with a mortar. It occupies two locations. It’s ability is marked on it.
Finally, each camp has a spy. Stiletto heels for the American, suit for the Germans, both have a pistol. The spy occupies a location.
You will each have 21 standard and 4 special pieces. This is a totally symmetrical game. At the beginning of the game, both players have the same abilities and the same chances. Now, put on your thinking caps ... uh your weapons.
Each camp starts on its own side of the board. The goal is to bring one of your units to touch the opposite edge. For this, players in turn have four action points. The available actions are very simple.
You can call reinforcements. This is like putting a piece into play. It costs you 1 action point. No matter the size of the unit, it's the same price. The troop must be placed in an unconquered row and in the continuity of your own troops. You never go backward, always forwards. If for any reason there is a space in the back, but you still have troops further along that road, you must place them in front of those. Pay attention to the size of your divisions, to join the battlefield, your company should benefit from enough space to be deployed.
To make room, you can call a troop from the front lines for 2 action points. Attention, it must be a unit installed directly at the front, not between two other pieces. This division is returned to your personal reserve and is available again immediately.
To retreat a troop that is directly in contact with the enemy, in a situation of being, will you cost 3 actions. Yes it's expensive. But hey, to return a troop while it fights is not an innocuous action.
Finally, to save time, launch a lightning attack. It will you cost 2 action points. The lightning attack is simply to take the troop located at the back of a row and bring it in front that row. Being limited in units, this action allows you to delay and try to gain ground without spending too much on resources. But be careful, bring a unit from the back necessarily forms holes. And if you lose your available troops in front of you, you will start that row again.
The actions are pretty clear and everything is quite fluid once they are known. But who says war, battles or clashes. It is true that, for the moment, I have not spoken about it yet. I will not correct the shot.
The attack is a very simple thing in this game. No dice, no cards, no specific abilities. In fact, there is a bit of a “rock-paper-scissors” system. It's not as complicated as that. I reassure you right away, there is no room for randomness and we do not use our hands to do it. In fact, the soldier beats the mine but the mine beats the tank that beats the soldier. If two identical pieces are in contact, then both are destroyed. Exception to the same soldiers rule. As I told you in the troop review, the soldiers are not all identical. If two soldiers of the same ranks meet face to face then yes, they both die. On the other hand, if the two are of different ranks, then the hierarchical man survives and the other dies. When a troop dies, it simply returns to the player's pool and is immediately available again. Thematically this explains the fresh troops from the rear who come into battle.
There is also the case of special pieces that must be seen in detail. Indeed, they are a little special hence their names.
The general functions as a soldier in front of the armor but in front of another soldier it is the highest ranking necessarily. He survives, then.
The special tank acts in the same way as a normal one except that it also touches the infantry located to the left and right of the arrows.
The spy is the most powerful piece of the game. Like any good spy, it has not been unmasked. As a result, it is able to kill any other unit. It can only die by the hands of another spy (except a small exception). This makes it the most crucial piece to play at the right time and try not to get stuck without it.
The exception for the spy is the mortar. The mortar is the most strategic piece to play for it to be really effective. The mortar is activated if a soldier is at least two spaces away. I mean soldiers and not rank. If it is, then the mortar shoots. If on the second space it touches a simple soldier then it destroyed. It then carries on, destroying the pieces which were in front (if there was one of his camp) and that could be a mine or a spy. It's a not-so-easy unit to play but that can save you the day.
The fight is automatic, it does not cost actions. It snaps when a piece is placed in contact with another. But only if this piece is of equal or greater value. The piece destroyed then returns to the players reserve. Pay attention to the placement of your units. Indeed, the fights can become really deadly especially in case you have laid several units of the same type one behind the other. If a piece is destroyed by contact with another of the same value, it does not matter. On the other hand, if a division of superior force destroys a weaker troop, then all those of the same category directly behind are also destroyed. This forces you to pay attention and to vary the shots.
If I put an infantryman against an enemy infantryman both pieces are removed no matter what is behind. But if I put a tank in contact with an enemy infantryman then the soldier dies and the other soldiers placed directly behind him are removed too.
Another case, if I put an infantryman in contact with a tank, then the two pieces remain. This is a situation of blockage.
And blockages, there will be some. It is better to prepare because the game plays a lot on it. Blockages force players to change their strategy or change their way of seeing. These situations are very expensive, especially for those who want to unblock. So, the reflection will be more intense to push the other to make a mistake. The heart of the game will finally end up there. Clash of the Ardennes is a blocking game, an abstract game that is reminiscent of games like Chess. You will soon find yourself in contact and everyone will try to immobilize the other to be more free in their movements on other battlefields. Each line then embarks on a sort of trench warfare (which would have finally corresponded very well to the theme of the First World War). What may be interesting for some, may become frustrating for others.
On some games, we found ourselves launching light attacks, which were countered, then re-encountered, then canceled and then renewed and counterattacked ... These situations are especially true from the moment when the players start to have gained points from roads and that their available units decrease. Sorry ? Oh yes, I did not tell you. When a player seizes a road, all their units remain there until the end of the game. Impossible to recover them. So be careful not to lose your spy early, or spend too many troops just for your first point.
Composant level, it is difficult to give a definitive opinion since it is a first printing. We received what will correspond, in view of the photos, to the classic wooden version. It does not hide anything, playing with such material is very nice. The box is beautiful, the illustrations are directly laser inlaid. Light, the box contains all it takes to play. Everything is in it. We open easily and everything is ready to play. Just remove the pieces from the trenches. The pawns are handled well and everything fits easily and easily removed. The box is easily transportable and the fact that everything fits in offers a chance to play everywhere.
We could still criticize some things that may be improved later.
Already, for the more clumsy, to have small notches or locations within the trenches could be a plus, to prevent the units moving about and remove the fun to remembering where they were.
Then, it is sometimes difficult to pay attention to which road is taken or not. A flag or pawn system to be inserted at the beginning of a road to indicate a players point could be a good idea that would facilitate visibility.
Some might blame the readability of the pieces themselves, but after two games, there are no more worries. You will finally recognize who is who. By cons, for the box version, insert a small clasp on the outside could be a plus, especially for those who take their games with them in their transport. This could prevent premature opening of the box and the release of material in an untimely place.
Finally, having to fold the rule in two to put away the box is a shame. Although this is understandable in view of the fact that everything goes to the millimeter.
At the general graphics level, the game is fairly simple in terms of hardware. The rules, on the contrary, offers illustrations a little like the old American manuals for soldiers. It may be a bit confusing at first but it's pretty good and it works well. The rules are rather well written, even if there are some mistakes (or things forgotten) that will certainly be corrected in the final version.
So hard to talk about the card game version as I do not know at all what it will bring or how it will be played, even if I guess it's the same game. By cons, the wood version is very pleasant. Whether aesthetically or practically, this edition will appeal to fans of this style of game.
Clash of the Ardennes is finally a perfect abstract game for those who like to think and find themselves facing situations of blockage where the only way to win it effectively is to take advantage of an opponent's mistake. I advise you to play with people of the same level as you, at the risk of quickly finding yourself in a situation of imbalance. Not due to the game, but to your way of playing. Clash of the Ardennes is a game without chance. Everything is controllable. Suddenly, from one party to another, there can be no novelty or no surprise. All information is visible and known to all. It is a pure strategy game where everything will be based on the global evaluation in real time of the situation, the laying of the pieces but especially the establishment of long-term action plans. Plans that can sometimes be harmed by expensive blocking, but necessary for the slowdown of the enemy advance.
Easy to play, Clash is not less difficult to master. It is typically the game that will require several plays to begin to make those good decisions. I'm not talking about winning or grabbing lines but doing it the best way. Optimize your costs while taking calculated risks. It is a game that in a simple aspect can finally put off the less patient or those looking for a game that tells a story. Because even if sometimes we can imagine the attacks and counter-attacks of the time, the theme is just an accessory. An accessory that participates in the coating but does not allow for full immersion. I enjoyed playing it but it's not necessarily a game where you come out of a game saying "I had fun." Or in a calculating way (if such a fun can be measured), almost neural.
Clash of the Ardennes is a well-thought-out game that deserves special attention if you like the puzzle genre or blocking abstract game. Each part will put your senses and your capacity for anticipation and reflection to the test. The wood version is a big bonus (pay attention to the delivery date) undeniably. I admit that without this version, I'm not sure that I would have enjoyed it as much. But even if it's not necessarily my style of play, I enjoyed playing and replaying it. Easy to play, explain and carry, for those who like the genre go for it! You will find your pleasure.
Barry's First Impressions :
This is an original idea for an abstract game. The theme carries it in part, as technically it is getting from one side to the other, which is reminiscent of the other abstract game Quoridor. Simple in its idea and and elegant in the mechanisms of simply placing pieces in front of pieces but also having your opponent go head-to-head against you . Tie in the visual aspect of each piece being a different size plus each piece being part of a rock scissors paper system and you have some interesting combinations. Added to that are some unique pieces that can change up the game and immensely.
Although it does fall into the same trappings as other games of this ilk. Which is the stalemate scenario. Weather is a lot of to and fro, while competing for that final road. This is unless you're playing against an inexperienced player. This is a perfectly designed two player abstract game, which will please anyone in terms of its mechanisms. And also in terms of aesthetics, this could be a wonderful item to have on your coffee table.
The first time I playedGravity Superstar, it was on the proto. A game for two, in full festival, a free table, a quick game, never heard of before ... I must admit that the magic did not take at the time. I had retained a memory of the nice mechanism but with some disappointing play or even a little boredom. When I was offered to play again, I thought “yes, why not”, just to see what the game really gives in it’s finished form. So is this article confirmation or a surprise?
Gravity Superstar is the latest Sit Down! Games, first published at Essen 2018. This rests in the family game range. Gravity Superstar is a game by Julian Allain. It offers you to dive, not in an adventure, but in a race to pick stars. Yes, it may seem strange. But the goal of the game is to pick up as many stars as possible. Armed with your spacesuit, you will go through this area of space from where the stardust comes. Do not be fooled, stardust brings points.
The principle of the game is both very simple but also quite original. The boards are constituted of squares. You will have to make travel actions with your little cosmonaut. Once the trip begins, you will not necessarily stay on the chosen square. Your character will be pulled down until they reaches a platform. Gravity does not leave you alone in this strange world. This concept is simple but really solid. It adapts very well to the mechanisms.
The game tiles are six in number, as are the number of players. Next, depending on how many playing, you will create the board with a specific number of tiles. Each tile is unique as well as double sided. The combination and variation of the game is quite important, which greatly promotes replayability. Once the Space tiles are selected, you will draw from a bag, the different coloured stars that you will put into play. For each game, there will not necessarily be the same colors and the same number of stars. Even more replayability. Stars have defined locations on the board. One last manipulation, the "open door" pawn is put on one of the random doors locations (each tile has one drawn) and here you are ready to play. Simple, effective. The installation time is very fast.
The first player takes their little astronaut and places them on the open door. On your turn, you can perform one of three actions available.
Play a card face up. There are four different cards. Each has its own movement. These special movements will allow you to perform complex actions. When you play one of these cards, you have to take the whole movement. If you do not want to do it entirely or if you can only do part of the move then you can not play this card. The cards once used remain in place, in front of you. You can only recover them by doing the specific action or when you have used your whole hand (this recovery will be done automatically and for free). There is also a fifth card that is a joker. It allows you to redo one of four complex movements of your choice. This can be a long jump, a high jump, a fall, or especially a 90 ° or 180 ° rotation to your character.
Play a card face down. Each card can be played face down. You can then perform an identical simple action for each card. This is a lateral displacement of a space. Again, when you play a card, you leave it in front of you.
Recover your cards. You can choose to take all the cards in front of you for an action. This action may seem expensive but can save you the stake.
There you go. Simple no? That is where the game is clever, it is in its system of displacement. As I told you, the gravity is very strong in this remote corner of the galaxy. So, when you move, you will be pulled again by your cosmonauts feet to the nearest platform. Even if it will take you through a good part of the board or sends you off the board and make you reappear on the other side (as PacMan does). Watch out for unexpected shots. The position and orientation of your cosmonaut are essential.
So yes we walk, it's nice ... but what's the point? During the installation, you’ve set up the stars. The goal of the game is to pick up the most. Or more exactly, try to recover pairs of stars of the same color. A star will bring you a point, two stars of the same colors a bonus point. To get these stars, do not worry, it's automatic. When you move or fall (towards the next platform), you will recover all the stars you pass. But that's not all. Sometimes you go through empty space or spaces with a small pink symbol on them. Good when the box is really empty, nothing happens (surprising? Not actually). On the other hand, the small pink symbol corresponds to the big disks that you have prepared next to the board. These discs once in your possession, either will bring you a point at the end of the game, or will allow you to replay a new turn (once a maximum per game). Smart. The end of the game comes according to the number of stars that remain in play at the end of a turn.
The first thing that catches the eye once the game is installed is the components. It's colorful, enjoyable to manipulate, pretty.Gyom's illustrations are in a rather childish style but it works with the rest. The cards are very sober, abstract but it makes the actions defined very clear. One could ask the question about some graphical choices like: why are they creeping plant for the platforms? Or, why medieval doors? But you’ll move on quickly. The rules are well written and the whole iconography is practical and easily understandable.
Once the game begins, the turns follow each other fairly quickly. Depending on the number of players, you will not necessarily think the same way. A three, but especially two, will feel closer to an abstract game. Your choices will be more thoughtful and optimization more important. This is closer to a game like Booo!or Ricochet Robots. On the other hand from four players and up, the game takes another mood. The interaction is stronger and the race is both more tense and more fun. You will then be even more tempted to pursue the others. But why do such a thing? The reason is simple. If on your way you meet another player, you expel them from the board. They will reappear through another open door. Icing on the cake, you can also steal a star. Who said that the race for the stars was something of fairplay?
Adaptation is essential to this game. From one turn to the other, everything can change, especially during games with more than four. You are in a game of atmosphere with a small dose of optimization. But do not imagine that your plans will necessarily unfold without addiction. Oh no. Especially if you play between other adults. But children are not left out. In addition to the pseudo educational aspect that the game can bring (representation in space, left and right, displacement), the game is very accessible and very fun for the younger kids. From 7 years (below there may be the risk of being a little lost with the gravity system), young and old can meet around the table and chain games.
Gravity Superstar is finally a nice surprise. Simple to explain, quick to install, it allows grouping young and old around a table with a good ambiance but with the possibility of having a lot of cunning. It's really a game to advise from four. Below it remains playable, but loses a lot of its initial interest (it becomes more abstract and potentially more computationally). The editing work is very good, the material chooses immediately attracts the eye. With its little PacMan side and super-smart attraction system, the game can entertain you for a multitude of games, especially between or with younger players. Between adults, the game will be fun, it's undeniable, but you may move on quickly. The system of choice of action based on played cards can also serve as a learning to the youngest in the management of their hand and its proper use at the right time.
Gravity Superstar is a surprising game. Very nice to play, it gives a chance to any type of player. Even if there is no real luck in the game, the system is made in such a way that anything can happen. The possibilities of travel are sometimes so unpredictable that one can be led to see their strategy reduced to nothing or to be ejected from the area without realizing it. This aspect is really nice, especially if you play with younger players because it can put the odds on a par and allow everyone to have fun without feeling down or being too frustrated.
At the limit of the party game, this game of atmosphere will offer you your moment of glory following a well placed shot. The strategy will vary depending on the number of players and will gradually be replaced by opportunism and the possibility of a better overview. Chaos can easily grab the game for your greatest joy. It is possible to achieve good combinations of movement if you know how to be patient or that others let us do. The replayability is quite important thanks to the variation of the positioning of the tiles and the arrangement of the stars. Gravity Superstar is a game to put in all hands. Player or not, in the space of one game you will have a lot of pleasure. And maybe you'll be asking for one again without hesitation.
Technical Score 8/10 The material is pretty, pleasant to handle. Visually, it attracts immediately. Cards even if they have very (too) sober illustrations are easily understandable. The illustrations may be too childish or too smooth. For the rest the tiles are good quality.
My BGG Score 7/10 (Very good, fun to play and advise.) Simple in the rules, quick to install, cunning, with a simple mechanics but really well thought out, the game offers a strong replayability and good times of fun especially to many.
Combined Score 7,5/10 And now it's over to you ...
Barry's First Impressions
I was captivated by this game simply by it's design and mechanisms. It had a feeling of a turn based computer game, a bit like Jet Set Willy meets Pac-Man. And with its very quick explanation and simple rules set, I was easily invested in the game. Which was a lost cause because I was playing against Guilou, and he always wins. But unlike him I enjoyed my first playthrough at a festival and found it something that my family could quite easily demand to play again and again. Although I have reservations about the replayability. This would only come from the challenge of the other players. Or maybe from an expansion which will include a jetpack that thrusts your cosmonaut a few spaces further but comes with a limited supply of fuel.
Having not seen the full final version, I could not tell you much about the components, as with all prototypes the quality of cards and the stars were ok for demoing. I am eager to replay this, purely for the reason of having fun with my family and maybe introducing it two friends who don't play board games.
In July 2017, the game publisher CoolMiniOrNot made a surprise announcement by offering on Kickstarter, A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. This is not the first time that this publisher has offered a miniatures game, but the risk is always great, especially when we say that it is a niche market. Here, the risk seems diminished by the use of one of the most loved and prolific licenses of recent years: Game of Thrones.
The game takes place at the beginning of the "War of the Five Kings". The game is not linked to the TV series but directly to the books of G.R.R. Martin (hence the visual of the heroes). Moreover, the author has followed the project closely as a consultant. CMON, for the occasion, is associated with the company Dark Swords Miniature (which already has had experience in this universe) for the creation of the figurines. Many sculptors and artists have contributed to the project. On a rules level, we find Michael Shinall (Rum & Bones) under the supervision of Eric Lang (Rising Sun, Blood Rage, Arcadia Quest). In the basic starter, the players are at the head of one of the big revival houses: either the Starks or the Lannisters. To enlarge their army, they can recruit troops in other houses such as Tully, Bolton, Ombles (especially thanks to expansions). For now, the choice is focused on these two big houses. To see more ... Competition is tough in the world of miniature. So apart from the big names and the license, is it worth the interest?
Let's start with what is certainly the most important element in a game of this type, the miniatures! The starter contains more than a hundred (103). Like many games, they are hard plastic. The big advantage of this range is that they are pre-assembled. No need to know much about the game, or to spend long hours of assembling pieces. You open the box and you can start. There is no need to say that this is a large bonus especially when, without exception, the assembly are well done (no apparent holes, arms not aligned etc.). We feel that behind the scenes a lot of time was taken in preparing this. The miniatures are clean (no traces of casts). Some weapons or spears can be a bit crooked, but pop into hot water and everything becomes normal again. Size wise, they are on the 32mm scale. The level of detail is pretty strong. There is no telling, but there is a feeling of concern to do well. On a table, everything is really good, even unpainted.
Kickstarter campaign are a requirement at CMON, many things were in KS Only, including iconic characters like Ramsay Snow or The High Seneschal (and accessories such as grounds, playmat etc). Nothing essential, but always nice to find in the box.
For example of paintings, you are spoiled by choice on the cards, the illustrations of the rule book and the achievements of other players. In short, you can easily find your happiness with these examples. And again, even unpainted, the stuff is really beautiful. As for gameplay, this is a game for 2 players. The space required to play ideally is 120x120cm (or a big battle 120x180cm). It is a turn-based game with unit-by-unit activation in alternate activation. The duration of a game on a standard format is about 1 and 2 hours. It will depend on the game mode chosen and the number of recruitment points.
We are in war game territory and not skirmishes. Here, you’ll embody not a band of some miniatures, but an army with dozens of figurines. A little like Warhammer Battle or Saga but less complicated. You’ll also find the layout for your troops' plate according to their army corps. A troop does not correspond to a miniature but to a group of miniatures.
Before each game, according to the desired length, you will have a number of points common to each player. With these points, you will have to create your army to prevail over the other. Again, nothing too complicated. Points can be spent to recruit whole troops (who have their own cards with their own ability), captains or heroes (who will be added to your troop to strengthen it), solitary heroes (who serve as a troop alone, as the Mountain), or non-combatants or politicians (who will not directly act on the battlefield).
You can also recruit neutral troops but while keeping to a certain limit (yes, your army belongs above all, to a family, beware of interference!). Everything is well indicated and you’ll never feel lost in front of too much choice. But you can not take everything. Even if the temptation to recruit your favorite heroes is great, you must also take into account the objectives. Moreover, the game offers five game modes (which take the name of the novels): A Game of Thrones, A Clash of King, A Storm of Sword, A Feast for Crows, The Winds of Winter.
A Game Of Thrones is a mode that allows you to play with goals to capture and possess at the end of a turn to score the associated points. Each goal possessed also allows to gain an extra capacity. A Clash of King offers a more realistic side of the war. Even if there are still objectives, you will not start with all your troops. Reinforcements will arrive as the battle progresses. A Storm of Swords offers a mode that changes the most. One of the players is entrenched in a castle and must defend it at all costs. The other must seize it. A Feast for Crows simulates combat fatigue. Your troops will gradually suffer and more their moral decrease, more victory point the other player can win. The Winds of Winter adds secret missions that will have to be completed to score points.
Despite the variety of scenarios (very pleasant), the goal often remains the same. Be the first to win a certain number of victory points (depending on the size of the chosen army). You must not deceive yourselves, you are facing a war game between two armies. Beware of devastating or frustrating dice rolls.
You can also find the possibility of trying heroic charges, desperate attempts or even genius shots. To help you, each faction also has a deck of clean cards: tactics (basic cards with special cards depending on your captain). These cards used at the right time can change the course of a battle and hurt for those who do not pay attention.
I also talked about the possibility of recruiting non-combatant characters. We thus find the political aspect and scheming, very dear to novels. Indeed, these characters will not participate in the battle itself but will influence the policy of the King’s Council. Depending on where you choose to position yourself (and where the other will not go), you will get immediate tangible benefits or play cards that match the symbol.
The basic rules are really simple for those who have a dabbled, and a little more complex rules for neophytes. It's a placement and combo game that brings a lot of richness to the gameplay. The choice of possible actions is easy to remember but without falling into the ease. Once the rule are read, we did not return. On the other hand, each unit has its own characteristics. This may require some time to control them and not forget anything without touching the fluidity. Because yes, the game is very fluid. The towers are linked quickly. However, despite an apparent simplicity, the game is rich. Many aspects of a real battle are taken into account such as morale, injuries, displacement that can vary, type of terrain, speed ...
A Song of Ice and Fire is a complete game but not necessarily complex to take in hand. CMON has managed to create a simple game of figurines to make you want and allow neophytes to navigate, while at the same time being rich and deep enough to allow seasoned players to dig their teeth into and have fun there. I admit that when the game was announced, I was very skeptical. And I was wrong. At the end of my game, we just want to start again. Even if the different game modes are finally quite close, the small variations of gameplay allow a lot of replayability. But make no mistake, the heart of the game lies in the choice of your army. And here we have something to do. Especially that CMON seems to want to continue to live this range. The Night's watch faction and the Free Folk faction were recently released. And that's a great news. All factions are very different to play. It is really very pleasant and very thematic.
CMON continues to develop this game while respecting the license. We feel that there is a real love for the universe of the world created by G.R.R. Martin whether in the aspect of figurines, illustrations, but also in the choice of abilities. Everything transpires the theme and mood of the books. A very good surprise and a big crush for me. If you like the universe, it's clearly a game not to miss. One of the best games 2018 simply.
Difficult to make a real review of this type of games without first having tried all the factions or units available (unfortunately finances are lacking for me). I will therefore limit myself to this first impression which will bring you already a good content and a good idea of what it returns with this game. If I had to score it, here is what I could have put:
I'm not usually a fan of narrative games. Basically things can go bad.
The first thing that completely captivated me is the graphics of Greenville 1989. The works of David Sitbon is exemplary on this game. All images have many readings and have references from all the movies or series of horror (Friday the 13th, Freddy, It, ...). That's wonderful. It is a real pleasure to see the work done and especially to be able to escape fairy worlds. Here, forget the cute and the colorful. What a breath of fresh air! It's really good to see that a publisher dares to think outside the box and propose an adult universe. Congratulations!
To pass the discovery of the images, one passes to the discovery of the game. The theme helps, and I must say that I was really taken by the atmosphere of the game. To save the group is not so easy. But what it is is, horrifically pleasant to plunge into this dark universe. Florian Fay, the author, managed to offer a theme and a real story to a narrative game. The central mechanism, which seems simple, is a great idea and works wonders. The addition of the cooperative side brings the unit a unity and a tension that is well present.
Of course the game is not for everyone. If you do not like movies or horror series, or if you do not like to release images and tell stories then go on your way, this game is not for you. Yes, it is not enough to know Stranger Thing (the reference that you find in all reviews when it is not really THE reference of all cards) to find it all the time and allow the game to offer its potential. The importance of the atmosphere and getting out of the cards are almost essential. We are not in a Dixit or a Mysterium. We must go further. In terms of mechanical sensation, we are much closer to aFabula, for example. But more intense and more immersive.
Greenville 1989 offers an intense immersive experience, both fun and scary. But to make the most of it, you have to play with the right people. And here, the game makes sense. A success ! I have only one desire ... to return it and yet I can tell you that the places are far from fairy tales. Thank you for this very good game!
If you like storytelling, and you have a little bit of experience role-playing, you will gonna like this.
This is not co-op Dixit, which I’m sure you will hear a lot, but more an RPG. Teenagers trying to get through a lovecraftian utopia which is taking over their small town. And all you need to do is tell the story of how you got from point “A” to point “B”.
One of the first things that you will be impressed and blown away by is the graphical presentation that is depicted on all the cards. This surreal art that has elements of Pop Culture horror films as well as some Cthulhu-esque elements, all screaming at you from every lavishly caressed paint brush stroke. Putting your own twist into what you see, will help the one player that is the guide for the round. It is their job to determine the next part of your adventure. After everyone has told their story of what is depicted on their card, which is their current location, the guide will have to draw a number of random cards and say, “ok this is where you're going.”
Giving your guide enough information, not only what is pictured in your card but also what your character might do. May they be terrified and mesmerised on the spot? Will they want to uncover what that thing is in the distance? Are they scared and they wish to run away through that exit over there? All these things will help guide the Guide, to choose the correct card for each player. Because all players have to do is correctly guess which card the Guide has picked out for them. Do this 4 times and everybody wins.
This is a fantastic and quick, role-playing game that put players into horror films. Of a sort. The more imagination you have, the more fun you will have and probably win easily. But this game may struggle with those players who may be stuck in a location because they haven't guessed where the Guide has placed them next. Therefore they will have to repeat everything that they have said previously, which can be dull to some. You’ll need to elaborate a bit more and put some feeling and thought into your story. And when I say that, I literally mean tell the guide what your feelings are and what your thoughts are have your character. As they may easily be able to choose your path because there is an element in the current location of a player which matches exactly the next image they have drawn. This is an easy way out, for example, if there were balloons in the location of the player and the next cards that are revealed have one image with balloons in it... This is probably where that character is going to go.
I would recommend this for players that like a storytelling challenge, as it this will bring out the creativity in players in a way that I have never seen in any other game apart from RPG’s. Inevitably players may get familiar with this cards and will be longing for more locations and more scary creatures to tell stories about. As this small game fits into a large box which has a little uninspiring player board that the players are trying not to fall off of. And some fairly simplistic tokens that characters can collect and use to help them out on this nightmare of a game.
All in all, I had a very good time exploring my imagination, as did the other players. I would definitely recommend playing with 4 or 5 other creative minds and see where these stories will go.
On this Saturday, March 9, 2019, your mission, if you accept, will be to go to Epinal to discover the fun festival and come back with game reviews. Confident in our abilities, proud to receive this quest, we set out on a fun adventure. For the first time, I went to the festival Jeux et Cie d'Epinal, in France. Fortunately, to help me and support me in this heavy task, Barry (second time at Epinal) accompanied me and guided me in the pouring rain (as well as play the role of chauffeur).
After several hours of driving, we arrived at the site: the Congress Center. Easily found, rather well located when you come from far away and with plenty of available parking spaces, the mission seemed to be starting on a good track.
This is a free festival, which offers you the chance to discover new or old games in a good atmosphere and for all tastes. That's what the poster promised us. Once inside the room, we actually find ourselves in a family atmosphere, dare I say zen. The stands were quite spaced out, a lot of tables available, people were smiling, even very welcoming. On site, besides the games we found some service in terms of restoration (although I found the thing a bit expensive), games to bring back (wide choice in the local game stores). As for the types of games, the target audience is still family and children even if, here and there we did find games a little more focused on the expert public. The demonstrators and volunteers present were very good, friendly and quick to explain the rules with joy and good humor. A nice surprise for a festival this size. It is regrettable that some publishers did not make the trip or bring protos to test, while others were just not present. Overall it's really nice. Too bad it is a bit far, (a 3 hour plus car journey) if not with pleasure I would go back (especially in such a charming company). Especially since the festival only lasted for three days! Wow.
As for our original mission ... So we tried no less than thirteen games. Here are these titles with a (very) short summary and opinion. Plus we pick out our top 3 gaming experiences of the event.
Attention, these opinions are first impressions within the framework of a festival (noise/fighting for a table/rules not explained correctly/fatigue from continuous playing), as always in this type of events. These opinions can change by playing the game in other configurations, like at home or different player counts or after watching a Rodney Smith video =).
Being a big Splendor fan, this game is the next evolutionary step in this genre. From each player taking their individual roles which will grant them a bonus resource every round to the large array of options for things you can acquire, this game does everything in big steps. You are mages each with your own small deck of cards that you will cycle through and either use to protect yourself against attacks or spend resources to put these items in your persons. Not only are they resources but there is also gold which is hard to get hold of. This makes the game a little bit more interesting in the fact that everyone will find different ways to get to different things. Whether it be monuments, creating items, or becoming the lord of the places of power. There is a lot of choices and decisions to be made in this resource fest. There is also a lot to get your head around and many different combinations of items to collect and build. This is definitely a game that I want to reply now that I have a little bit of knowledge on how everything fits together.
A game by Thomas Lehmann never goes unnoticed. For the occasion, we had the pleasure of playing with a third person, whose name I unfortunately forgot (sorry). The theme makes you incarnate magi in duels without mercy. This is a point-based points race game based on resource and card purchases. The big originality is that we play with a hand of cards, defined at the beginning of the game and we do not receive others during the game. Simple, fast, little thematic, clever. Clearly the type of games to deepen.
I’ve already done a first impressions article for Space Gate Odyssey which you can find here. But after a second play, I still want to play this again. And with a larger play count. The game is still a nice brain puzzle of efficiency, where you’re creating a maze for your ants to run around in. And then hopefully give you the points that you need when they arrive on planets. Even playing a slightly altered strategy, I’ve found other things that I want to try afterwards. Although surprisingly light in mechanisms, this game is enjoyable and a little head scratchy as players try to complete actions without giving the other players benefits.
I finally got my hands on this new game by Cédric Lefebvre (designer that I appreciate a lot, humanly and playfully). This space game invites you to build your station to be able to send your settlers to take possession of untapped planets. A mixture of several mechanisms that work. It's simple, the material is nice (even if the icons are too small). Thematically, I did not feel the basic construction and spatial exploitation side. It stays in a semi-light game world but with some subtleties.
This is a kid friendly game about balancing and sliding. Inside the box is a specially built platform that is held in place by four levers, each of the four edges of the base box. It is these levers that players will be lifting and dropping to make the main board tilt. There are a variety of maps that are put onto this platform which depicts a route, a start and finish space, and some obstacles, which are inserted into holes to give a 3-D effect. From then on, the players place a hero and the starting zone and use the levers to make him roll (he has a ball bearing inside) along the path and complete different objectives. Like push bandit into holes or move dynamite next to a monster. All very simple, just like in Loony Quest. But it did not hold my interest. Possibly because there were no kids playing with us. Definitely a family game, but not one I found myself having fun with.
I liked Loony Quest ... but this new title is clearly for the even younger ones. The materials are interesting, the basic idea is nice but the game is much less. No real challenge, the look is very childish, replayability seems limited. I am disappointed.
A two player, out thinking, abstract a two player game. Where one player will have seven ronin to protect a village. While another player has a horde of ninjas ready and waiting to attack the village. Players will place their heroes and warriors on locations behind a screen before revealing to see which zones they attack and defend. Each Ronan has their own special power which they will used to try to illuminate the ninjas. Before any unhampered ninjas get to perform special actions depending on the area of the map that they approach the village from. It takes a little while to get use to colours, powers and actions, but it surely worth replaying to get into the theme and strategy layed out in the rules. An elegant to play, back-and-forth abstract game that requires lots of coffee and some ESP to win, but not necessarily to have fun.
A game of bluffing and tactics in the Japanese feudal world. Very minimalist in its material (and yet really beautiful), the game is very pleasant and offers a good challenge. It will take a good blow of bluffing, but also a lot of luck to prevail in this asymmetrical game that works really well.
Soon to be reprinted by Super Meeple, this is a racing game based on the American Queen Steamboats that were used to transport passengers along the Mississippi. Each player’s boat has an engine which can change up and down gears, which adjust the speed and number of spaces it can move. And each has X amount of coal, that can be used to change the speed a little bit quicker. Mechanically interesting as the random generated river winds left and right, with passengers to collect en route. It felt like a light racing game for the family and is lacking something to make it a bit more intriguing. Hopefully this is something that will be added in the (probably deluxifier) reprint.
This is the proto of the reissue of Mississippi Queen. Racing motorboat game where you have to juggle speed and use of coal to take passengers and arrive at the destination first. Difficult to issue a final opinion especially that the two-player configuration. A small novelty, not necessarily the most interesting. The game is nice but the advanced tiles will soon be indispensable.
I fell in love with this puzzle game that uses Tetris pieces as it’s core. Player all have the same playing board, which has scarabs depicted on random spaces that when collected give you points. And rocks that block the placement of your Tetris pieces. This is a synchronized puzzle game to see who can best manipulate their pieces to divided their board to get the most points. As one by one each player will take the same piece and lay it to enlarge their camp, leaving the scarabs uncovered in groups of two. With very simple rules (even though I messed them up several times), this was a simple pleasure where the replayability comes from the challenge against the other players. Something my family will love to play but may quickly be forgotten due to it being the same repetitive game.
barry's #1 game of the festival
A little game by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc. We are on a tetris tile set with a handicap. We’ll pass on the theme that is not present, and we end up with a simple and fast game. The goal is to surround scarabs in spaces up to four squares. The scarab still need to visible in this space and will bring you as many points. The tile to be laid is defined by a map. All players play at the same time. It's a solitary game in a group. Family style, replayability can be quite important as long as you adore the concept.
Exploring a temple Indiana Jones style is what this game promises. But it doesn’t deliver this experience due to the fact that the main mechanic is an auction. Yes, you’re going to be bidding for tiles to add to your player board. These tiles have paths that you can follow to take you to treasure that is allocated at the edge of your player board. Your cards, which have two functions that include, values of sticks (that are like dice) for the auction and powers that you can use if these stick like dice roll blank. This stick dice is a great idea but a little lost in this game. Again the construction of paths to take you to treasure is a nice idea but is lost entirely in this bidding war that you and another player will have. Some nice ideas, some fantastic artwork, but it didn’t convey the theme I thought the game was implying.
Another game by Bruno Cathala but this time with Théo Rivière. We recognized immediately the graphics of Vincent Dutrait. A game for two players (again a forgetfully theme). The objective is to be the first to recover 25 victory points with the help of treasures or relics that you will be able to unlock, thanks to tiles in your temple. The material is nice but the game is pretty average. It moves, but it is clearly missing the little slice that makes me want to come back. Yet there are good ideas inside.
A polar bear race where they will be swimming, running and surfing on floating ice. For something that looks like a young child’s game, Ice Team has a lot of depth and strategy to it. Cleverly eliminating parts of the track may hinder your opponent in this two player, for polar bears per player race can help you. Or it may help your opponent, as swimming can make traversal of large open areas a rapid way to catch up. With a random course set up to the change the layout of icebergs, players will have a handful of replayable experiences. As it’s not about being the first across the line but it is also about how many fish you can pick up. Or steal. With some really nice ideas like freezing fish to stop players stealing them and sliding ice blocks, plus disintegrating ice all add up to a fun experience. Although only for two players.
barry's #2 game of the festival
I'm not necessarily a fan of this range, which I find a little too young for me. Once again, a game from ... Bruno Cathala (he is everywhere) but this time with Matthew Dunstan. I must say that I was really pleasantly surprised. Besides the really nice look (they have class polar bears), the game has very good ideas (surfing on the ice or frozen fish). Young and old can find this enjoyable. A good game, light but nice. And in addition presented very beautifully with a giant version is very nice! (not retail)
An interesting bag building game and the first of its kind that I have played. Drawing different ingredients at random from your bag to add to your cauldron to create the most powerful potions. With a high push your luck factor, as you do not wish to make your potion explode with the wrong ingredient, but also make it the largest potion possible. This benefits you in points as well as being able to buy better ingredients to add to your bag. Lots of choice and replayability in the ingredients that you can collect and I believe it adapt well to all types of playing styles. I can see how this won the Kennerspiel des Jahres, but I found it a tad repetitive, as I longed for the last round. I want to play it again, but with a shorter playing time and maybe 3D ingredients…!
The First game I had to read the rule (it was late at night and the demonstrators had gone, but not their games). Well we must say that we could not miss the chance to play this Kennerspiel. Especially since I had heard a lot of good things about it. You are healers who have to find Potions recipes to sell on a market. But finally what a cold shower. Yes the game works, it moves, but ... that’s all? It's a mix of bag-building with some original and well-found ideas. A family game at it’s base, to which one has artificially added mechanisms to become more for player. Too much manipulation, a lot of chances, not really smooth when discovering it, little choice, very repetitive, very little interaction, each player plays in their corner without looking at the other cauldrons. A real disappointment (and yet we were in very good company).
Many moons ago I played this game as a Prototype. At that time it felt like a roll and write game as it was rolling dice and writing on paper. You’ll allocate at least one of your results to one of three charts to try to get superiority there. This final version has rune tokens and dice, with some exquisite Viking card art. The mechanisms have not changed but there are more ways to gain points in this version of the game as you collect cards. Whether you have had the highest value of saved dice or the highest collection of the same number, these will give you the first choice from a selection of cards in the zone. So, more of a set collection game where you will be collecting cards for the color or their panoramic view that you can complete. As well as individual scores for each card and special powers on some. This is a nice medium white dice rolling set collection game that will have you pondering for a while but never leaving you swimming for options.
barry's #3 game of the festival
A game that immerses you in the Viking universe. The goal is to plunder Europe and bring back wealth. A collectible game where you will have to try to win on several tracks to recover fresco cards or objectives to fill. Several ways to score, a lot of replayability, a strong interaction, the presence of chance (but can be lessened), fun and deceitful. I really have the desire to play it again. My favorite of the show! (and in addition the large version on the demo table was awesome).
Yahtzee for kids who are into zombies. That’s all I can say about zombie bus. It is a simple game for a family audience, where on the players turn they reveal a Zombie and roll some dice. The dice have various body parts depicted on them as well as the zombie cards. Having results that are the same as the zombie card means that you can damage that zombie. If you managed to tick all the boxes, that zombie is dead and you score points for them. But also at the same time, in the middle of the table is the bus that the game is talking about. And on it is a group of cheerleaders that everyone has to rescue. The dice also have other results, like the star and joker. Collecting a certain amount of stars on your turn can be used to rescue a cheerleader. Rescue all the cheerleaders will deplete the deck of zombie cards the game will end. Yes this is a cooperative game we are a family can work together to kick some ass before the zombie kick yours. Or eat the cheerleaders.
I love zombie games and I am generally good bate. But that did not take. Still, the atmosphere is there. Cheerleaders, special zombies, the second degree, the presence of dice ... But we are faced with a game where ultimately the choice is obvious. We did not feel like doing things, we let ourselves walk through the game. The zombies for, the vast majority are almost all the same. There was not really any epic or fun moments. We threw our dice without really thinking. And we watched the time pass. Too bad.
Keeping your pet satisfied while doing your errands can be a handful. That’s what Honga is about. A very stunning looking have a game where players will draw cards at random and then play them on to the board at a certain angle that will allow them to one stroke the sabertooth tiger and to collect a resource or perform an action. A simple mechanic that will make younger children very happy and very angry when the sabertooth gets no affection and eats their resources. With plenty of paths to scoring points and some beautiful cartoon art components, this game is sure to please the young family and teach responsibility as well as management skills.
Hard to do better than Karuba (which I like a lot in style). Honga offers nice material, and the idea of Honga that comes to attack you if you forget it, adds a constant pressure. And yet, the game struggles to convince. The chance of the cards dictates the way you play and the most profitable actions appear on their own. Really not convinced. Children can find their account but for how long? To try again can be …
A basic “roll and write” game, which means that a player will roll some dice and then players can write down the results on their sheet to tick some boxes. As simple as that. Although each color die has its own area to be ticked. Some of these areas just accumulate into points. And some areas create columns, that when once filled will allow you to tick another box somewhere else. I simple idea about taking boxes like playing bingo. But proving you are best at it by either rolling well or checking off the right areas at the right time, is not much of a game. For me it’s a little something and nothing.
Another game by Wolfgang Warsh. This time we are dealing with a little game dice super clever. The thing is very simple, we have a grid to fill, we throw dice, we choose and next where we check if we can unlock bonuses. The game offers good ideas with different scoring areas. Fast, simple, clever and can be deceitful. The choice of the dice for the first player will determine the choice for the following. A success.
guilou's #3 game of the festival
And there you have it. All the discoveries we made and fun we had playing. Plus it was a good laugh in our company and those we encountered. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comment, write them below.
This is a first impressions of a game that a friend owns. Therefore, I have never read the rules and will not be using the correct terms of Space Gate Odyssey in this article. But this is the impression that I got from playing it. A game where you will be building a space station from a control center somewhere on another planet. And your goal is to populate other planets with your colonists, using a Stargate system. Beam em up, move em about and zap them out there. A worker placement, construction, puzzle, go forth and multiply game.
The games main mechanic is worker displacement. There will be a control room board depicting five rooms, each with a 3D table in it. Each room has its own action and each player has a number of scientists in each of these rooms. On the players turn they will take one of their scientists and move into another room to perform the action they wish to take. Each scientist in that room, of the same players color will be able to perform the action. Move a third scientist into the teleport room and you can teleport three groups of colonists onto your space station. Which can be great for you. It's a party in the teleport room. Woopie! But what the bummer will be is moving a scientist into a room where they are alone, meaning you perform the action only once.
And to add a downer to the bummer is if another player has three or four of their scientists in that room, they can perform the action on your turn as well. Three or four times, depending on their number of scientists. So you are basically allowing the other players a free pass to do what they want as well. This means you’ll have to plan your actions carefully and either space out to your scientists or group them together for powerful actions. At the same time you’ll need to think about if you want to help out the other players or not. This lends itself to a nice back-and-forth between the players and also lots of interaction in the game even when it’s not your turn.
Each player will have their own individual space station in front of them made up of a number of tiles. A teleport room will provide you with some colonists that will help build the station and colonize other planets. You’ll be expanding this space station with the help of your scientists in the control room, as one of the actions will allow you to draw tiles. Think of it as building an ant farm or creating a route for the lovable Lemmings (Oh No! pop). These tiles come in three different colors and have three different functions.
The functions include Teleporting rooms, where your colonists will arrive at your space station. Corridors, that when constructed will allow you to recruit more scientists in the control room, or robots (which are non-moving scientists) or upgraded scientists (which have the power of doing an action twice). And finally for lack of a better turn, the Stargate tiles, which when half full of colonists will zap them to one of the planets chosen at random at the beginning of the game. The color of the tiles is very important as you build your labyrinth of a space station. As three of the control rooms match those three colors. Moving a scientist into the green control room will allow one of your colonists to move from an adjacent tile into a green tile. Whether it be Corredor, Stargate or Teleport room. Again the more of your scientists in that room the more colonist can move about the space station.
The game seems to be about efficiently constructing a maze for your colonists to run around in and then finally get out of, to score you points on planets. And it does this, and I have found it interestingly enjoyable. But then you have the planets. Each of the planets are chosen at random at the beginning of the game and only a certain amount of planets are used per game. Each planet has its own way of being scored once they’ve been colonized. Some score you points just for the number of colonist you have on that planet. While others will score points for majorities on separate islands or sectors or if you were the first to reach a certain space on the planet.
There is an intriguing balancing system to the game, to stop runaway leaders. As your score goes up, the amount of colonists and scientists at your disposal goes down. You’ll be using these meeples to keep track of the tens of units of your score. This hurts a little when you have to use a colonist. But it hurts a great deal more if you have to remove a scientist from the control room.
There is also an added scoring section at the end of the game which can be adjusted by certain spaces on the planets. Placing a colonist on this special space will allow you to change two tiles on a track on the home planet. This track is the end of game scoring and you will score points on whether you have the most tiles on your space station of a certain color or if you have sets of colored tiles. And obviously each position on this track will have a different amount of points. Moving the green tile to the furthest right space will give the player with the most green tiles on their station, a large chunk of points. Building your entire station of green tiles might be great for those points, but will it be effective moving your colonists around?
Once a planet has its complement of colonists it is removed from the game and scored. And the Stargate moves on to another planet. If there are no more chosen planets left, the Stargate moves on to the home world and colonists which go through that Stargate will score points directly. When there are no more planets to explore and all the Stargates have been placed on the home world the game ends. You’ll do the final scoring which also includes a penalty for any open doors on your space station, a little like Galaxy Trucker (in space, everyone knows who left the door open). So constructing this in an adequate manner is important, not only to be efficient but also to be complete.
The game is small and cute but still takes up a lot of space. Control room, planets, piles of tiles, everybody's space stations sprawling everywhere. With mini meeple colonists which can be a little finicky and meeple sized scientists that have suits that they slip in and out of accidentally. It’s sad to say but it’s all a little bit too miniaturized. Yes the game takes up a lot of table space and fits nicely in a ticket to ride size box but it suffers with the finicky components. Plus there are very small icons on the space station tiles. This can sometimes lead to forgetting that you have a teleporter or a Stargate portal on the tile. And in a game where there is this much player into action, it would be useful to look across the table to see your opponents station and easily discover what they have built.
But apart from my slight component dislike, I really enjoyed puzzling this game out. As I have said the interaction between players keeps you fully engaged in the game. You are always constantly planning or doing something even when it is not your turn. There are different planets to use each time you play, and they work differently for the different number of players. You’ll hardly notice the art of Vincent Dutrait’s handy work, but you will notice the robots resemble Dr Who’s foes. It’s enjoyable to see your labyrinth space station, live and work how it’s supposed to work. A little bit like watching Simcity and seeing where the traffic jams are and where the freeways make traversal of the station fluid. This is a game that merits replaying, just to see the different types of planets and to try out different combinations of a space station.
* Warning : all the components presented in the photos of this review come from the KS version, the retail version may be slightly different. *
Who hasn't dreamed of being able to manage a park of living dinosaurs? To be able to play with DNA while offering its visitors an intense and magical experience ? Dinosaurs were for dreamers, then Spielberg pushed the concept even further with his movie Jurassic Park. Since then, there has always been this desire to find a game with a gameplay equivalent that could take us back to this wonderful adventure. Strangely, few games with this theme have emerged. There was an old MB game that came out many moons ago, but we were far from the possibility of managing a Jurrasic style park. License costs are certainly very high, fear of attacking this well loved monument, or simply a lack of interest ... The reasons are certainly varied to why a game like this never came to market. Since the release of Jurassic World, licensed games have emerged. Aimed at the family audience and not necessarily the gamer, who wanted to control the management of the park itself. In 2017, an "expert" game came to Kickstarter and surprised us, with this thematic flavor:Dinosaur Island from Pandasaurus Games.
The first thing that was surprising in this game was the art. Everything is very flashy (maybe too much?) Illustrators Kwanchai Moriya (Catacombs), Peter Wocken (Dead of Winter) and Anthony Wocken, had free rein to their madness and offered us unique and surprising visuals. A breath of fresh air in a world where production tends to be more and more standardized. This art gave a unique cachet to this game. Clearly, from its aesthetics, it can be cutting.
The designers Jonathan Gilmour (Dead of Winter) and Brian Lewis (Titan of Industry) offer us with their game, the opportunity to be at the head of a company that embarks on the exploitation of dinosaurs to attract tourists into their amusement park. Does it remind you of anything?
Everything is there. Creation of dinosaurs (thanks to the recovered DNA), creation of enclosures, levels of security, booths of goodies, food stands, attractions, specialists, dinosaurs, ... Even the rules offer a lot of tributes and funny references. We are in a game as faithful as possible to the monument that is Jurassic Park without having the film footage and stepping on any rights.
In Dinosaur Island, the goal is to make your park lively as possible. Playable for 2 to 4 players (you have also a solo mode), each is the head of a scientific corporation. Your park is represented by an individual player board, on one side is the possible locations, on a kind of grid and on the other the actions that your workers can do. The game is played in several phases.
The first is the specific resource search. You are going to send your scientists to bring back DNA, to find dinosaur "recipes" (yes I do not know what else to call it), or to transform them into mundain workers.
We are in a fairly conventional job placement. The choices are represented either by dice or by locations, as is the case for dinosaurs. Moreover, there are two types of dinosaur"recipes": Herbivores and Carnivores. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Herbivores are easier to create and generate fewer problems but they attract less visitors. On the other hand, Carnivores are the opposite.
The taste of danger brings back more people. With Carnivores, you have two types : small and large (which are more difficult to create). I take the lead and I answer you right away ... Yes, there is the Tyrannosaurs. Each species of dinosaurs is represented only once. So if you like this one especially, buy it immediately!
During the second phase, you will be able to recover equipment, build buildings and recruiter specialists to improve your park. No, you can't find John Hammond, Dr. Grant or Ian Malcom ... Though, if you look a little closer, maybe...
So you can get goodies, attractions or food stalls, each of which yield different benefits. The equipment offer you new actions for your workers. Specialists are there to give you bonuses during the game. Be careful, all places are limited and it costs money. If nothing interests you, it is possible to recover DNA instead. Each player will have the right to two purchases. Apart from taking the tile that interested the other players, the interaction is low.
Here in the third phase, each player will use their workers to develop their park. It is at this moment that we will create our dinosaurs for example. What's the point of a park without dinosaurs? To come into the world, these charming creatures need a type of DNA according to their "recipe". They will bring you victory points at the end of the game but especially points of interest, that's what makes the audience come. They will also need a large enough enclosure. Apart from the joyous aspect of genetic transformation, it is at this stage that you will be able to improve your security, your money (advertising costs) and your paddocks. Here, everyone plays at the same time.
The fourth phase is the fastest. We check each park one by one and the doors open. We draw a number of tourists equal to our fame. But beware, some tourists are not there to just visit. But pose more problems, than profits. In front of all that are the crowds and is your security sufficient to protect them? Because if you have been too greedy or unscrupulous, your dinosaurs can, for a very short moment, break out of their paddock and have fun with your visitors. Nothing serious. After all, some deaths do increase the fame of a park, no! ... No? Ah! ... So you will lose a few victory points based on these unexplained disappearances. But rest assured, they had still paid their entry before their death. Also, since the world has a short memory, the next turn, your park will reopen. You'll adjust your score and start again.
The end of the game will come when all public objective have been won. These randomly chosen goals at the beginning of a game can be modulated to increase or shorten the game. There is also a “first come first serve” race between the players.
Dinosaur Island is a game with simple rules. You explain and understand everything quickly, without having to go back to the rule book. Games can be more or less long and none are really alike. I'll admit it, I love this game. And yet, let's be honest, it's not perfect. Besides its design (pink dinosaurs!), one of my first critiques is that it appears to be a solitary game. Indeed, apart from a little pressure on the objectives or which dice to choose in phase 1, the interaction is very weak or non-existent. Players create their park in their own corner and then occasionally look at where other players are. Usually, this is something that bothers me.
But, I admit that I let myself be so transported by my imagination in this game that it does not remove my pleasure. And, it always makes you smile to see another player forget the importance of security. In general, game does not offer a very difficult challenge. It is rare to be really stuck and we always end up doing what we want... almost. For players looking for complexity, you will be disappointed. Another point more anecdotal, the customization of the park is also a little limited especially by meeples dinosaurs that closely resemble the others (but hey, it would have been much more expensive to have different meeple dinosaurs for each species). There is no such thing as a specialty or a specific thing to watch depending on the dinosaur taken. It's pretty generic.
In spite of all that, I continue to love this game. I dreamlike feeling transports me into the game. Its simplicity makes it easy to take out and play. No need to go back to the rules at every game.
The replayability is present by the choice of public goals, the choices during the game and what the dice offer ... The material is very nice and quite neat. I see myself at the head of an entertainment company, choosing my dinosaurs carefully, develop my park, protect (or not) my visitors ... This game really has a magical aura. I think the relation to Jurassic Park is not insignificant. If the game was talking about something else, with the same mechanisms, I'm not sure it would please me as much. The theme and the nostalgia therefore occupy very important places in my appreciation of the game. The first player token, a visitor's bracelet for the KS version, puts you directly in the mood.
Dinosaur Island is a particular game. The choice of graphics, the choice of the gameplay, the choice of theme, everything has been carefully worked for our greatest pleasure. We can of course expect more. After all, with such a theme, our imagination is racing very quickly. More customization, more differentiation, more challenge, more choice ... But then we would have a different type of game. Finally, is not it the will of the authors to have created a simple game but not too simplistic. A game open to all and playable by the vast majority, while keeping a strong identity and an ounce of difficulty? In any case, I can only recommend this game, which even if it does not invent anything and remains fairly traditional (a mix of mechanisms), makes you plunge into of your childhood dreams . A success simply.
Note that following the success of the game, an expansion has been realised. Totally Liquid offers the possibility to play up to five, new types of dinosaurs (sailors), new paddocks, new specialists ... A new experience that I will review soon. At the same time as this expansion, they released a special version for two players, Duelosaur Island. If you are interested, I could also review that for you?
Technical Score 9/10 The components of the game are very good quality. The boards are hard cardboard, very resistant. The meeples are funny. The rules are well written and everything is installed quickly. The graphics and the choice of colors can disorientate or even run away. Yet this daring choice brings a breath of fresh air into the current production.
BGG Score 9/10 (Excellent game. Always want play it.) A game with simple, catchy rules that makes you relive the adventure Jurassic Park. An excellent game to spend a good moment of reflection between players or with you family.
Combined Score 9/10 Great Score for very good game. And now it's over to you...
Barry's first impressions
The game does capture the essence of building a theme park. With so many tiles to buy, cards to collect and different Dinosaurs to play with, there is a lot of replayability. But with that come a big load of boards. A board for each phase, is a little too much for a coffee shop to play with, but everything is thematic and interesting. I did enjoy playing the game although I felt it was unbalance with this “short term memory” world. If a visitor died tragically at a theme park, there would be a bit of bad press and the loss of income or point. This game captures that. But a massacre at a park should be devastating to a park owners score...not here.