Having someone knock at your door, which you foolishly open, only to get stuck listening to that someone go on and on about something or other, is a memory that I am not fond of. And I couldn't just slam the door in their face or say "get the fudge off my land," with my Dorset accent. In fact, it's more that "a" bad memory. It's many bad memory's.
That's why I'd like to live in Small Town. If someone knocks on your door there, it's normally just a quick call to check who is there or what weapons you have. And normally, it's a detective. Some very Small Detectives.
Small Detectives is exactly that...Small. It's a mini Cluedo. It comes in a mini box. It has some mini decision for you to make. And a mini memory aspect too.
In this 2 to 5 player game, each players is trying to get to the root of a murder that has happened in Small Town. As the Police can't handle such a thing, they have contacted you and many other detectives (1 to 4 others, if your keeping count) to get this mystery solved. Doing some footwork, going from door to door, you will be collecting evidence that will eliminate the four suspects and four possible murder weapons. Being careful not to step on the toes of the other detective going around town, as this will reveal nothing. Occasionally, popping into the local bar for a swift pint and pick up some rumors as well. And finally, going to the Police Station to make your accusation.
The game uses a card drafting mechanic to move you around the town, getting you from door to door. Every turn, players will simultaneously place a card in front of themselves and then when everyone has concluded this action, they reveal this card, that dictates your action this round. These cards are also numbered, starting with the lowest, each player will preform their action. They may move the detective around town a number of spaces. The may send them straight to the pub (I need a card like that). They may make the houses in the street, swap places.
Each house in Small Town hides a secret. The backside of each house tile has either a person or murder weapon marked on it. At the beginning of the game, one of each of these categories is removed and placed under the Police Station. These are the murderer's identity and the weapon they used. By visiting the other house's in play, our detective players will deduce which of these two tiles have been removed.
The problem come (but also the fun of this game) from the possibility of another detective knocking on the same door as you. When all action are carried out, detectives that are alone at the door to a house, get the chance to see whats inside. Or technically, whats on the other side. Having two or more detectives on the same tile means no one get's a peak at the evidence, leaving a bitter taste as you walk away this round, empty handed. And then, when you are alone on a house, you look on the underside of the tile, only to see that it is a clue you've already seen! Somebody switched the tiles...GRrrrrr!!!
A point of interest is the local bar. There, you will have the chance to question one of the other detective about what they have seen. You present them with 1, 2,or 3 items that relate to the crime and they will respond with a "yes" or "no" response. Being careful about who you ask and what you ask is important in narrowing your search for the truth. But also a reliable way to get lots of answer, quickly.
And after a hard days work, in this case, the end of the round, players collect the card that the player to their left have just played. Meaning, if you were stuck with some un-useful cards in the last round, you may pick up better ones later, as you pass your ones on. Do you play you powerful 'Go Go Go' card now, allowing you to move wherever you want. Leaving this card to another to use or not, on their turn. Or do you save it for when you need to be the first player at the Station, catching the murderer.
This is a light, family style affair that will probably replace that space in your heart that was called Cluedo. It's speed of play will have you tense at the table for about 20 minutes. Just long enough for your tea to arrive at a drinkable temperature. You drink. Then you start you revenge rematch.
It's simple to learn, making it great for a family sit down. The memory aspect is not to large as there are only a total of six things to remember that you seen. Although, remembering where you saw them as them dance around the place could make your head scratch. The light iconography is quick to pick up and within a game, you'll know it all.
Playing with more players introduces more card with more specialize actions, such as; being able to look a two tiles or switch two played cards around, so you can collect a useful card for the next round. And more players means more chaos. More houses get shuffled around and there are more feet to step on as you walk your beat and knock on doors. Getting no response, of course. As the other players block your progress. This is a race against the others. Being efficient and retaining information is the key.
The box is small and portable. The components a small and solid. And the game is small, not taking up much of your time.
Technical Score 9/10
My BGG Score 6/10
(It's OK - will play if in the mood)
Combined Score 7.5/10
next time someone asks if your a god, you say "yes!"
The Geek Gods are various and powerful and love playing games. As do we. But the only difference is that "we" are their game. They manipulate and transform us into mighty heroes or villainous monsters, making us walk the path that "They" want us to go down.
But now we have the upper hand as we can control those "all powerful" Gods to our hearts and whims delight. Mythic Battles: Pantheon is the evolution of an early Iello edition of Mythic Battles by Benoit Vogt. Although, this edition is pumped full of miniatures and additional characters and creature. Unlike it's predecessor, which was cards played on a grid. But the game is mostly the same. You will be choosing a God from the many livable (depending on the number of add-ons that you purchase) then draft an army around that God, consisting of Heroes, Monsters, Troops and maybe a Titan. Then combat starts...
Fortune is ally to the brave
The game is a combat game that takes element from games that we already know and meshes them into a simple to understand and play instantly game (minus the time to set up). Much like chess and it's learning curve, but also like a collectible card game that uses a deck to active characters. Plus some traditional and slightly tweaked dice combat with degrading player characters that wither away, the more injured they become. A game that the Gods would say, "this is walk in the park."
You will start with picking a God to be your avatar. Then create an army that benefits and complements that God. Whether it be Zeus, Ares or Hades, having the right combination is an essential key to your success when playing. Although, you could just experiment and mix and match to your hearts content, as there are enough units in the base game to keep you amused for months. Each unit has a wide variety of statistics, from life points, special powers to unique ability. So choosing the right ally that compensate another can take a little time to get your head around, as well as take a little real world time. And not only that, there is the battlefield to take into consideration. For example, having a team of flying creatures that are not hindered by the different levels of the terrain, will have a hard time dealing damage to your opponent's forces, if they are hiding in one of the many forests.
There are many type of terrain that will help or hinder movement, ranged attacks as well as hand to hand combat. Some of this terrain comes with physical trees and rocks, that not only make a picturesque playing field but make a difference to the game as it can be destroyed to remove, along with their penalty's and benefits. Because we all know the frustration of losing a game on the count of one small obstruction that prevented you taking a shot at a very weak God, who you'd like to kill before they have a chance to absorbs an Omphalos, winning the game.
Find, and fulfill your destiny!
Skirmish mode is the common way to play this game, two, three or four players. But there are also some campaign's and scenarios that will hold your attention. Where you'll race to find healing plants or rescue a princess. Even the possibility of cooperatively playing to prevent the Hydra from entering the local, defenseless village is available to play. You may play an all Vs all or team up in pairs. With a system that allocates points accordingly to the number of player and the side that they are on. A one verses three player game is also a viable. But no solo mode...Boo-Hoo!
But you'll probably play more skirmish's than anything. They are simple to set up from the scenario book and allow you the freedom to create your army's from the mutilated of units and characters. With a simple end game of either destroying the opponents God or getting your God to absorb more Omphalos than the others. As well as an easy way to get into the game, they also serve as useful way to see the potential in your warriors for future battles. This game is one massive and mythical learning experience.
Getting your head around all the powers and ability as well as accustoming yourself to the terrain can be a bit tricky if you are not into heavy, epic, strategic warfare. As there is hand management, card counting, spatial perception of the board and taking note of all your characters statistic that change with the damage they take. Even so, the game play mechanisms will sink in quite quickly, making it an enjoyable, flowing experience. Especially with the big reference cards available.
Call no man happy who is not dead!
Most games have your hero preforming dice combat to show their impressive sword skills or other ability for mowing down the opposing minis. Even when your character is on their last legs and final drop of blood, they are still swinging their weapon high, rolling the same amount of dice as they did at the beginning of the game. Not here...
Going back to my HeroClix's days, I remember the sensation of having a hero weaken in combat, struggling to survive. And they needed help from the my other character, just to stay in the game. And the win that I accomplished, even with this Achilles Heel was a gratifying one. The same is here. Each character has a life point bar that, when damaged, depletes. On it's way down to death, their strength of their attracts get weaker as you roll less dice. Also, their defense may go down, or their movement will be reduced. All leading to the demise of that character. Some may have powers that only unlock when reduced to one point of life, like the Phoenix. Making it a more realistic, down to earth system that is reflected in it's combat. If a Phoenix really excised, that is.
the bigger they are...
Talking of combat, what would an epic game like this be, without epic dice rolling. There is plenty of that in this game. Fortuna may not be your chosen Goddess, but that is no bad thing. You can manipulate your dice in an exploding fashion or sacrifice them.
Technically, five sided dice, even though they have six faces, only five of which have the possibility of doing damage. The blank face is an immediately remove dice when rolled. Any other number can be sacrificed and remove to make the value of another rise by one. Transforming a die from a three to a five by removing two other dice is a good way to hit those powerful Gods with a defense that is higher than the values marked on the dice themselves. I hear you saying, "how can I damage a God that has eight in defense but the highest value on a die is five?" The importance of have a five on your dice is they can be rolled again, adding it's new value to it's previous. Giving you those higher results with this exploding dice mechanic.
It leaves players feeling that they have some way to negate their dice rolls and manipulate the result to what they want, which many games don't give you. Unless you have a power. Added to that, the fact that when you remembered to add the bonus from the terrain and that characters special ability, will have your fist punching in the area when you achieve massive (maybe mythic level) damage.
titan against titan. it's all in the cards
If Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh! is your thing, you may take solace in the fact that you will have the same power in your hands as in those games. Your deck of cards are made up of the characters you drafted and some special Act Of War cards. Every turn, you'll add one card from your deck to you existing hand and then play one or many cards that will summon minis to the board, or move that minis if already placed. With no text, these cards are easy to read, activating the depicted character leaving you with the hard choise. Which simple or complex actions to take. Using them wisely can bring a level of complexity to your plans as each character has a different amount of cards assigned to them. Leaving you card counting your opponents deck and second guessing who they will activate the next turn.
Burning the Act Of War cards or later in the game, Omphalos cards, are a way to preform other actions. Like playing and activating a second character or drawing more cards into your hand. You can even search the deck for that valuable card that you need right now. Hand management is key element in the fight to victory. Use your cards sparingly and your army is reduced to nothing. And running through your deck too quickly may not be advisable either, as your opponent will get to place their whole remaining deck in their hand. Giving them the upper hand (excuse the pun) in the vast number of cards to pick from.
this is how epic it is...
Release the Krakken!
This is a massive game. Not only massive in scope and game play but also as massive as some of it's mini's. In particular, the Titans that are very impressive figure with a great amount of detail. In fact, every single mini, carved die, character board and other component has been magnificently produced for this game. I can not state the amount of fantastically beautiful attention to detail has gone into producing this game. Of course the art work stands out, by far. This is a game that, if I could have on the wall, I would. But I would probably have to construct a few more walls to have sufficient space to place everything. As would you, if you were to back this project at it's highest level.
If your looking for a very deep warfare experience with high production values, I could not recommend a better one. This game has teeth, like a Krakken. Battles a satisfyingly profound after the placement of you army start to amass. And many expansions that need a Krakken size hole on your gaming shelf. With deep and thoughtful decisions to made every turn, players may play as quick a someone who has looked into the eyes of Medusa. Every battle is a real fight, even struggle between the players to become the victory. If this game is missing something, it's the word "EPIC" from the title. This is the EPIC miniature combat game to end then all.
my original KS videos
Technical Score 10/10
My BGG Score 7/10
Combined Score 8.5/10
Can't Stop is a game that is almost as old as my wife. 38 years ago, this game hit the store thanks to Parker Brothers. A game driven by the luck of dice but leaves you feeling that you have control...until you literary "CAN'T STOP!!!"
Players can climb up to ten mountains. Each Mountain has a value that you can get by adding two dice together. Players roll four dice and pair them up. They can move three mountaineering teams on three of the ten mountains but will need the results of the dice to correspond with the number of the mountain they are climbing. If with the dice you have the same value as the mountain your team is climbing, you can advance them. If you can not advance any of them, the fall off the mountain and restart from their last camp.
Ending your turn is your choice. If you stop before your teams fall off, they will set up camp. Therefore saving their progress.
A very simple concept that evolved in the days when Yahtzee was the only other dice game. And unlike it's predecessor, is still a great deal of fun. Although the Yahtzee mechanism has
been implemented into many game since King Of Tokyo hit the market, there are none that have this addictive dice rolling. Making Can't Stop unique and great fun for all.
have a look for your self
"This is the voice"
Yes, Chaps and Chapettes, welcome to the finals of THE VOICE. Where we are searching the finalists for that one perfect, loudest song in all of the forest. And all we have to do is coach them, hinder their rivals and bet on them to win, to win yourself!
So, will it be the Red Robin? The Mountain Bluebird? The Green-Finch? Or the Long-Tailed Tit?
It's you that decides in Songbirds ...
Songbirds is a small, compact classical style card game that can play up to four players or even solo. With a premises so simple, anybody can understand. Back the bird that sings the loudest.
But even with this simple game, players stumble over the first obstacle...How do I play to win?
The game is simply playing a card from your hand into a five by five grid. Your card needs to be adjacent the starting card in the middle or another played card. On the outskirts of this grid (the forest) are some randomly placed score tokens. There is one for each line horizontally and vertically. These you are trying to win for your bird by having the values of that coloured bird being higher than the other birds in that column.
It's simplicity in game play, a math game where each suit of card is added together to see how has the highest score, is actually quite difficult in a few aspects. Difficult to teach so players see the objective and difficult for players to see a strategy that will win them the game.
But coming from a card playing background and when I say that, I mean of the 52 deck variety, players should find it a walk in the park. Your dealt a hand of cards and you play them to the best of your ability's, in competition with the other players. Same as a trick taking game. There is card counting and math...
There are many things you can do with your cards. Playing a card that will help one of the suits have a higher total in a column is one. In the image above, Red win 12 points with a total of "8".
But also playing a card that make the totals of the highest suit equal the same, will cancel these two suits out of the chance of scoring. Imagine the Red "1" was Blue. Blue and Red would be eliminated from the running's of winning the 12 points, so it falls to the next highest suit. Which in this case is a number "2". But both Green and Grey have a total of "2" meaning that no suit wins the 12 points. As I said, mathematical. And done on a 2D grid, so your not just effecting one column with your card, but two.
On top of that, you need to be calculating which suit is in the running's to win lots of points, keeping a card of that suit in your hand. But do you keep a high number, giving you more points or do you play the high number which gives a better chance of winning points.
Decisions, decisions...and all in a small little card game.
With some cute, but non essential art and a few variants for solo play and team play, this is a board game for all those who like small little classical style card games. Not really my "cup of tea," but a game I don't mind playing.
Technical score 8/10
My BGG score 6/10
Combined score 7/10
This is a simple game of moving your coloured tokens from one tile, on the Tic-Tac-Toe grid to another, to create a stack of three tokens. Hopefully with yours on top and with a bonus of scoring a point marked below on that space...That's all!
But there are many benefits that make this game stand out from the dullness of that previous paragraph. Take the the amazing playing pieces:
Your playing pieces, apart from being big, chunky and cute are thematic Tiki's. These Tiki's are used to create Totem Poles. As a God, you are trying to influence the villagers on the tiles by making them worship you and give you the fruits of their labors in a offering. And when I say fruits, I mean "fruits." Pineapples are your fruit of choice, and the first to collect four of them will win.
Each village/tile has a different number of pineapple that you collect if you manage to influence them. From 0 to 2. There is even a village that has a -1, which means that one pineapple will go sour and rotten. If you manage to make the tribe there go wild for you and you have already collected a fruit, it goes bad and you have to flip the token over to show it. That's one less point in the game for you and your opponent. As if you didn't have any, one pineapple from the reserve spoils.
Like all classic abstract games, the rules are simple and not complex. The complexity of the game comes from what you do with these actions. Tiki, is no different. You can either place one of your coloured Tiki's into an empty village or more a Tiki of your colour one village adjacent. Or if there is another Tiki under your own, you can move to two other villages, dropping off the lower Tiki in the first before resting your own in the second.
This is how you stack the Tiki's into a Totem. Every stack of two, with your Tiki on top is one that you control. So it is possible in a round that you have the only movable pieces on the board. But if after moving, a stack of three is in a village, that tribe is active and makes an offering to the God who has the influence. This meaning, if your Tiki is on top...you win some fruit (or maybe not!)
This Totem is remove and the game continues until a winner is found.
The game is about cold calculating your actions, forcing your opponent into a corner and make them move where you need them to, giving you the win you need. Two expert player will go head to head for a good 10 to 20 minutes, until someone slips up. While people like my self, who play fast and loose can knock out two or three games in the same time. So if your looking for either of those in a, this is for you.
It's colorful nature and sweet tactile feel gives the game a family vibe. And kids will pick up the rules easily while twiddling the Tiki's between their fingers like a professional poker player.
If your thinking that this is just a one shot game, a thing to remember is that these villages are tiles and can be moved around. Creating a slightly different lay out that will give you a slightly different way of playing. On top of that, there is a variant in the box that changes some of the villages into a swamp. Where the Shaman lives.
Getting influence in the swamp mean that you can place the Shaman between two villages, blocking the route. No movement can take place between these villages and you will have to make your way around.
If you are lucky enough to grab a Kickstarter version of the game, you will find four (technically three) more variants in the box. Two sets of different village tiles that let you move villages or swap Tiki's around. Plus a BAD Tiki that acts like your own, if you have control over it. And then the forth variant is to mix the villages as you wish. Quite a bit of reputability if you own this edition.
All in all, a very simple, two player, abstract game. A quick playing, light, fun puzzle with great production values. Although it is in a box that is slightly bigger than you'd like to pack in your holiday bag, so you can play it on that golden beach you are heading too. But well worth it when it is too hot to do anything else.
Technical score 10/10 (although missing the KS variants rule book)
My BGG score 8/10
Combined score 9/10
Check out the video for more