Bastille (2018) Review
The French Revolution is a period rich in events of the History of France. Yet, quite surprisingly, this is a subject that has not been too emphasized in the board game realm. Worse, the majority of the games dealing with this period come from foreign authors. A lack of interest or imagination for it ? Not enough good mechanisms to approach the best of this atmosphere? A lack of interest in this period? A difficulty to treat this event playfully? I admit that when I saw that the theme of the game Bastille was about this period, neither one nor two my curiosity was peaked.
Bastille therefore offers to dive a few weeks before the events of the capture of the famous French prison (and the shift from a society led by royalists to a society led by the bourgeoisie). Each player embodies a revolutionary faction that is preparing for this famous day. But for that, you will need support, weapons, money, recognition of the land. Bastille is a game released in 2018 by Christoph Behre published by Queen Games. The arts are by David Cochard. He shows us that he can have a fairly wide range of art styles.
The game's turns are played in two stages.
At first, each player has four influences tiles. Everyone will play their tiles on the different places available. Each location can only accommodate a certain number of tiles on the locations indicated above. Once the spaces are filled, no one can no longer settle in this area. Each slot can only receive one tile. As soon as all the players have played their tiles, you’ll move on to the second phase.
The second phase corresponds to the resolution of the actions. This is done in the order of the spaces. Then, depending on the power of the tiles influences present and in case of a tie, it’s the leftmost tile, the players will perform the actions indicated on the different places. Queen Game takes the opportunity to make you travel through a revolutionary Paris.
You’ll start with the Bank of Paris. This allows you to make money based on the power of your played influence tile. The first player to resolve the action receives the right to become the first player.
Continue with the Notre Dame de Paris. This area helps to improve a tiles influence for the players. The tile played on it is replaced by a tile of higher level. This action is essential and knowing how to use it at the right time without spending too much time can tip the game. The bonus for the highest token is a victory point.
Heading this time Versailles. Here, at each turn will appear tiles offering two possible bonuses to the players who have settled there. The first player will choose first, the second will take what is left. Each bonus varies depending on the tile revealed.
To infiltrate the capital, nothing better than to prepare for an invasion from below. The "visit" continues therefore through a forced passage of the Catacombs. There are only two slots available. The first player to perform the action will put two henchmen in a bag, the second will put only one. These goons occupy a special place in the game and will be used during the scoring. Neglecting them can make you lose the game.
Place Louis (named after the french "good king") is a zone of perpetual conflict between the various factions. It is here that you will recruit influential characters found in the form of cards. The characters are divided into three groups: peasants, soldiers and nobles. Each card has different characteristics but also a purchase cost which is more or less important. To recover a card, you have to pay for it in gold. This value is lowered depending on the influence tile played. Example: You play a tile worth 3 to buy a soldier with a gold cost of 7. You will then pay only 4 gold to acquire him.
In addition to the number of flags, diamonds, crowns and victory points, the characters have a weapon box. If it is white, the character is already armed. If the box is red, you must acquire a corresponding weapon before the end of the game at the risk of losing points. There are also monks who will serve as a joker in the composition of groups. The choice of characters is important especially to best resolve the objectives on mission cards. Recovering the right cards before others can quickly becoming crucial.
To finish the visit of the Paris of the time, we propose to you come to the main location and recover weapons within the Bastille itself. Capital building but mostly symbolic, this royal prison is full of ways to arm your faction. But the places are expensive. The first to resolve the action will move their marker the same number of its influence tile plus a bonus space. The second will advance only the amount of the influence expended. The further a player is on the track, the more victory points they will score. Giving them the priority on the choice of weapons available. Apart from the last player (who will collect only one), the others will win two weapons among those visible. The positioning on the track of the Bastille is very important. Neglecting can cost you the game.
But that's not all. There remains a last place to visit. Center of power after the king, the States General where the wealthiest members of the three orders of the Kingdom gather. This place allows players to collect mission cards. These objectives resolved at the end of the game will more or less guide you during the game, especially in the choice of recruitment of character cards. Fulfilling its objectives brings you a lot of non-negligible points. But it's not so easy. Each mission is in duplicate. Thus, the competition will be even more enraged between the players, especially in the choice of buying characters.
At the end of a turn, players check who has the most flags. These are present on the character cards. The player with the most number of flags will win the end-of-round bonus. The second player with the most flag wins the second prize. Without changing the course of the game, the flags are absolutely not to neglect. If you let a player recover all the bonuses alone, it will give them a significant advantage. Always be careful not to get too far behind.
The game is played over eight rounds. Half way through the game, so at the end of the fourth round, you’ll proceed to a first scoring round according to the characters and their icons on your possession. Five henchmen will also be taken from the bag. The player, whose color matches, has the right to choose a bonus from those still available. Players also collect weapons based on their position on the Bastille track. A second count will take place at the end of the game, ie at the end of the eighth round.
To be honest, I was really pleasantly surprised by this game. Mixed between the game of influence and placement of workers, Bastille is a surprising game that hits the mark. When you read the rules, you have the impression of being faced with a basic game. And yet, once inside, one quickly realizes the constant tension. Every decision is important and the timing to achieve it is paramount.
It is necessary to know how to moderate each action, without necessarily arriving too late, because speed is a key notion in the game. For example, Notre Dame is an important zone in order to increase the value of your tokens of influence. But if you perform this action too often, you will only waste time. You need to know how to juggle the need to increase your capacity for action without unnecessarily losing action in other places on the board. Having the biggest is not always the best way to win.
As you can see, a lot of actions are needed. But of course, you can not do everything. You will try to balance your choices to achieve as close a possible to a perfect route.
The choice of your recruitment is one of the most important mechanisms of the game. Guided by your mission cards but also the desire not to distance themselves from the flags, not to mention the fact of winning victory points, the choice of cards will be done drastically. Choosing first becomes the important thing, but it will not be so easy. Places will quickly become expensive. Do not forget to equip your characters well. Getting into the Revolution without being armed can be very costly. Indeed, you will lose points based on the number of unarmed characters you have at the end of the game. And the negative amount increases very quickly.
Bastille is not a game that invents or reinvents its style of play. However, it works particularly well. The game has easy-to-understand rules that read very quickly. Once read, do not go back. The iconography is extremely clear. Everything is indicated on the board precisely and efficiently. Everything is fluid and the rounds are linked precisely.
The game manages to create a special atmosphere, a constant tension between the players but also between themselves. The choice of actions seems simple but is rather complex in the sense that everything is important. Players must not leave large margins for others, try to respect your initial plan while adapting constantly to the evolution of the game. The interaction is ubiquitous. At any time, a place where one thought to be immune in the choice of its action can switch following the choice of an adversary having a stronger value of influence.
One can regret finally, as often in this type of game, the absence of a strong theme. The illustrations, and the way the game unfolds, try to get as close as possible to this period and get us into it. Unfortunately, we are still a bit too close to the German style gameplay. However, this does not spoil the fun. This is thanks to a dynamic and steady pace from the beginning to the end of the game. The number of players also limits the possibility of the release but for the more adventurous, a variant two players exist on Boardgamegeek.
Bastille offers a non complicated game at the level of rules but with a hidden depth that is strongly pleasant. There are several ways to score points, several ways to play, ensuring strong replayability. The game does not seem to script and varies a lot from one game to another depending on the situation. It mixes well known mechanisms while managing to keep the players in suspense. More than a nice surprise, a real success for its category that I can only advise you.
Technical note 9/10
Everything is legible and everything is clearly indicated on the board making everything extremely fluid. The rules are short but well written. The material without being exceptional, fulfills its role well. However, we regret the lack of plastic bags or efficient storage in the box.
My score BGG 8/10
(Very good, enjoy playing and suggest it)
A very nice surprise. A game that despite a classic coating offers constant tension. The interaction is ubiquitous. The game manages to provide an effective mix of mechanisms while remaining fluid and simple. A family / family+ game more than deserved to benefit from more exposure. We can regret the fact that the theme passes a little in the background despite an obvious willingness and high level illustrations.
Combined Rating 8.5 / 10
And now it's up to you to play.
Camp Grizzly (2013) Review
We are in 1979. As every year, the Grizzly Camp opens its doors. You do not know the famous Grizzly holiday camp? It’s picturesque wooden cabins, lake, fun activities, Jody and his guitar, the serial killer, ... wait what? But that's not on the brochure? Ah yes anyway, I will have to look out for that next time I want to send my children on vacation ... Good ... Good luck children. Dad believe in you!
Camp Grizzly immerses you right in the heart of the most famous Slasher and the ubiquitous references of Friday the 13th. The game was financed by Kickstarter in 2013. It was created by Jason Topolski and published by Ameritrash Games. Because of the theme and the general atmosphere of the game, this is not a title directed towards the youngest ones.
Camp Grizzly allows you to embody monitors of the famous colony. While everything seems to be going well, a mysterious teddy bear killer (yes, you read that right) is here. Nobody seems to be able to compete with him and no one is safe. He kills his victims indiscriminately, whether they are monitors, visitors or charming children. Fortunately, you will be able to try to fight against him thanks to ingenious plans, straight out of your imagination (horror films you know, no?). During the game, you will have to make some choices to try to survive as much as possible. In the face of a relentless killer the best survival is often to think of your own survival. But will you sacrifice the others for this?
This is a cooperative game. You win together or you lose together. You will have to act in harmony to succeed, at best, in repelling the incessant attacks. If unfortunately some of you disappear (it's sad ... but you must see the bright side of things), it will open up more spaces and with luck, Otis (the name of the killer) will be slowed down.
The installation of the game is done fairly quickly. Each player chooses a monitor. Each monitor has the same number of health points but different abilities. Camp Grizzly is proud of its instructors. Let me introduce you to our team: the beautiful Jody and his guitar, C.J. our local sports champion, the beautiful Tracy who is ... Tracy, Kevin the lifeguard, the nature specialist Sherry and the talented Karen. With them, your children will have a summer they will not forget. Here, there are no figurines. The characters are represented by standees. Each player also starts with Survival cards.
The principle of the game is simple. Four ideas are available to you. To survive, one must succeed in bringing one of these to fruition. Final cards represent the plans of the ideas.You can choose to escape to a Van, take the boat, call for help at the Ranger Tower or hide in the barn. Each plan consists in first finding specific objects that are scattered throughout the camp. Of course, you do not know exactly where they are. You have only a vague idea but there is always the possibility that it is something else. It's up to you to find them.
Once you have found the three required tiles, you start the second phase of the game: the final step. Just like in a movie of the genre, you thought you won but the evil is everywhere. Once the objectives are in hand, you then return the chosen card. The finale gives new activities to complete in order to really survive this night. It is only at the end of these new goals that you will know whether you have won or not. Not so easy to escape the horror.
The game starts with the monitor. Starting with the first player, each instructor performs their turn normally before moving on to the next. The first thing you can do is move yourself. The number of possible spaces is indicated on your profile. You can of course move where you want if you can. For example, you can only go to a locked bungalow if you have the key. Or if you go through a box with Otis, he takes the opportunity to try to hit you. Not nice the ugly sir. But movement points are also used for actions. You can also, during your turn, pay a travel point to pick up objects, equip weapons, save campers (if it is possible), move you in the side roads (faster but it is at the risk of your losing).
Once your movement point / action quota has been spent, you will need to draw the first Cabin card. Sometimes it's good things like weapons, objective pieces or objects to better heal or defend yourself. Other times, these are not always favorable events. Otis can sometimes take the opportunity to break in and eat you (uh!) or attack you. Once the card is resolved, we move to the end of your turn. You may be able to equip items or weapons that are in your backpack, pick up things on your space, or trade with other monitors.
Then, once all the heroes have played, comes the turn of Otis. Otis is a good guy. Very resistant, very sporty, very muscular, very many things but he is clearly not nice. Nobody really knows who he is, but he is not there to butter the sandwiches. Otis has only one goal: to make a massacre and exterminate you. Of course, his primary target is the animators of the colony. But if by the way, some children slide on his blade, it will not disturb him too much. He's like that Otis. A good guy who does not speak much but who acts quickly and well. Otis moves the number indicated on his reference card. Sometimes he will be hidden in the woods and may come to a place where no one is waiting for him.
Otis still has some ethics. He primarily targets spaces with the fewest people. Then, in case of a tie, the space with the monitor who is most scared (which happens ... often). Still equal? He then heads for the most wounded. After that it's random. He does not waste time scratching his head. If by chance, he goes through another players space, he stops and tries an attack (sacrificing a child or a cameo to slow him down and all that ...). Once he has played, you'll start again a turn, if there are any players surviving. Otis does not worry about locked doors, he smashes everything if necessary.
I often told you that Otis was trying to make an attack. Indeed, it is not necessarily automatic. If the killer stops on a box of a cameo, well there no contest, he goes directly there. By cons, if a monitor is in the corner he can try to protect everyone in the household. A monitor has the choice to fight Otis or run away while panicked. If the facilitator has a weapon they can try to push Otis while fighting. For this he rolls a die, and another player rolls a die for the teddy bear killer. If the defender's number is higher, the attacker is pushed back. Otis disappears in the woods. If not, all the characters in that cabin take damage. If a monitor becomes panicked, not only do they take as much damage as Otis's strength, but they also have to run as many squares as their panic value. The teddy bear is invincible and immortal, you have no hope to kill him.
There is another thing to note about this surprise guest, Otis. The more people he kills, the more powerful he becomes. The sight of blood seems to have an invigorating effect on him. As the number of dead on the corpse trail increases, Otis will become powerful. He can increase his movement and his attacks with more and more effective dice (d4-d10). If the number of victims reaches thirteen, you have no hope. The game ends with a beautiful defeat.
The game components are not consistent. On the other hand, everything breathes the theme. Cards, ambient black humor, illustrations, texts, abilities. Camp Grizzly plunges us with pleasure directly into a Slasher style films. This is also one of the reasons why the game should not be put in all hands. Violence and sexual allusion may be present throughout the game.
Otis is relentless. You can not kill him, just run away. And again only if you can do that. Weapons are scarce and time is running out. This constant pressure is really well transcribed. At every moment the fear of failure invades us. The play area is ultimately quite small. Nobody is safe and there is no hiding place. Otis can also arise at any time. As a result, your decisions will have an impact on the future. And at the same time, this desperate atmosphere allows players to embark on heroic actions. Sacrifice for the common cause or play individually and increase the risk of dying faster. There too, you can make groups of one and separate yourself with each new death.
The ability to choose between the different plans is a good thing in terms of replayability. Even if in the first part of the game it comes down to not necessarily finding the identical objects, in the second part the final stage changes completely from one mission to another. And of course, you'll find all the "ingenious" plans that young victims try, as a last resort. A treat for those fans, with references and winks dissimilated everywhere in the game.
The game is very heavily based on its theme. You have an allergy to randomness? Flee right away. Dice, cards,tokens face down, luck is everywhere.
The game is however clearly enjoyable in its mechanics. Simple, there is no need to return to the rules, the explanation is done quickly like the immersion. The idea, for example of the choice between moving on longer safe roads or trying the adventurous shortcuts at the risk of getting lost is excellent and adds to the pleasure of the theme.
Even if Otis is not played by a player, his performance is really well done. Simple, not superfluous. But it allows to feel the tension related to the chance of his appearance or his destructive force. You can very well say that you have time to spare, letting him move slowly and kill some NPCs on the way, thinking that it gives
you time. However, remember that the more he kills, the more powerful he becomes. And the more powerful he becomes, the more he becomes unmanageable.
Of course, do not expect a game with a huge dose of strategy. We are clearly in the Ameritrash style of play. Replayability is quite important as the game is hard to win. By cons, for those who are less fan of the theme, a certain repetitiveness can be felt once the main missions tried. For fans, you will enjoy playing and replaying.
Camp Grizzly is above all a tribute to films of its genre. And with it, it's a success. Everything is there. Finally, one of the biggest faults is that it is very hard to find. I do not even speak of expansions. It's a shame because in the genre, it ranks among the best.
Technical Score 8/10
The material of the game is functionable but nothing extraordinary. The atmosphere is well transcribed and there is a lot of winks or references to the genre. Everything has clear iconographie, despite a rule a little vague at times.
My BGG Score 8.5 / 10
(Very good, enjoy play and would suggest it)
The theme is omnipresent. Otis puts pressure on players who are constantly trying to escape death. The game is simple to play, easy to explain. Replayability is important if you love the theme. The difficulty is present, which is even more pleasant for a cooperative.
Combined Score 8.25 / 10
Now it's your turn...
a song of ice & fire miniatures game
Technical score 9.5/10
Solid whimsical components compiled into a elegantly packed box. A well composed rulebook which tell a simple story of how to play.
My BGG score 8/10
(Very good - enjoy playing and would suggest it.)
It's no stairway to heaven or to making me like dexterity games. But it is light and fluffy with some nice twists in this genera. Easy to get anyone to play to pass a happy 5-10 minutes
Combined score 8.75/10
Now it’s over to you...
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