Phone bomb (2019) Review
Today we are going to talk about Phone Bomb. Bomb, not Game. No, I'm not going to give you a review of Joel Schumacher's film with Colin Farrell. Here, no phone booth. However, you will need your phone. One is enough for the entire player group. And no, it is not supplied in the box. Here it is ...
David Cicurel, the author of Chronicles of Crime, continues to explore the mix between board game and digital through the use of the telephone. Indeed, to play Phone Bomb, you will need to download an application, in addition of course to the material included in the box. First thing to know, the application is not greedy and can work very well with any smartphone (for example), as long as it has a touch screen (yes the 3310 will not work .. at the same time it's not a smartphone ...).
Without further ado, we will learn together to become a real minesweeper (raising this flag will be useless). But for that, here are some rules to respect, before accepting your mission.
1. You will have to be thoroughly prepared
Ah! yes. ... I reassure you, you will not need that much preparation. You can remove all that ... Finally, to play it, come as you are.
So to be able to play Phone Bomb, you will need a table, chairs, a telephone, a copy of the game and ... that's it. Originally, the publisher seemed to have wanted to include real bombs in the box, but the ephemeral side of a part and the final potential cost dissuaded them. It is for this reason that the application takes over. A decision certainly more classic but oh so much more logical.
The game application is easily found. Come on, because I'm nice, I leave you the link to it. You just have to click there. That's it? Okay while it's downloading, I'm going to take this opportunity to present the game to you. Note that once on your phone, the internet connection is no longer mandatory.
On its launch, you’ll arrive in a very classic menu. You then have the choice between the level of difficulty (Discovery or normal), take a look at the options (to adjust language, music, sounds ...), and you can even click on the credits to discover the designers, authors ... But this is for the most curious. Last but not least, you can start a game. Attention, once you click on play, the game and the timer starts directly (there is no loading count as indicated in the rule). Click only when you are ready to play, otherwise you will have to go back.
An ultimately sober application, but one that goes to the essentials. What is most important. No fuss (or Goku), we know immediately what to do and we don't waste time.
2. Read the rule beforehand and explain it to everyone
Now that the application is installed and loaded, it's time to move on to the rules explanations. It's actually easier with the app in front of you, even if you can start without it.
The rules of Phone Bomb are very clear and above all very simple. Each player has a hand of four cards. On their turn, when the phone is in front of them, they become the active player and must play two cards and only two cards. Depending on what is played, they will have to interact on the application then pass the phone to the next player.
The possible actions will depend on the icons on the cards. When the active player plays two cards with matching icons, then they can perform that action on the phone. If they do not want to or cannot play cards where the icons do not match, they must then pass. Whatever the players do, they must indicate it by clicking on the right space on the screen and then pass the phone on.
Once these two actions are done, the player draws two new cards. And that's all. Simple, right?
3. You will have to pay attention to the other players
Phone Bomb is a semi-cooperative game. You will have to face crisis situations together: in other words prevent the bomb from exploding before the end of time.
Cooperating is therefore a great way to survive, or rather to deactivate as many bombs as possible before they go off. But there will only be one winner at the end of the game. It will therefore sometimes be necessary to be opportunistic in order to get ahead or leave before it is too late. Pay attention to others. At any time, they may seek to pull the blanket towards them, at the risk of wasting your time. Beware of the most smiling colleagues ... they are sometimes the worst. Opportunism and a sense of timing will sometimes be necessary.
4. You will learn to master time management
At the start of a game, you have one minute to defuse the bomb. Yes, very little time. As much to tell you right away, time will pass at a crazy speed. You will have to watch it because you'd be lost in what you want to do, sometimes forgeting it ... and there is the drama. Phone Bomb, and especially its application, offers a very pleasant timing system. The real-time aspect is something that I really appreciate. This helps build up welcome pressure and sometimes increased stress which can lead to situations of tension or unexpected error. The chronometer is like a sword of Damocles, merciless and continuous.
Of course, depending on the actions chosen, it will be possible to influence the time. For example, it will be possible to add time, but also to waste it. In order to prevent a system which could become too calculating, and therefore less fun, these gains or losses will not always be the same in terms of quantity. This unpredictable side adds a little tension and an uncontrollable variable which enhances the fun of the game.
5. Add time to breathe
It is therefore time to see the actions in detail. We will start by adding time.
As I mentioned to you just before, time management is a very important concept in the game. But a minute goes by very quickly. To allow you to breathe and because you are pros, you can add time. For that, it is enough that the active player plays two cards representing a watch. Once done, the player must click on the "watch" icon on the control panel. This will add about thirty seconds to the group.
6. Think before you act
The bomb control panel has fifteen wires, five of each color (blue, yellow and red). The object of the game is to cut the three good wires among these fifteen. Of course, you can go head down and cut at random ... at the risk of losing precious seconds. Or think and reduce chance.
To do this, you can play two cards with an eye symbol. Once done, you will need to select an eye from one of the three colors on the application. Just below, once you have clicked, symbols will appear which will guide you in your search. These symbols will correspond to the chosen color and only to this color. Thus, you will be able to learn if among these wires there are any: trapped (skull), defusing (pliers) or neutral (which are useless).
The little welcome subtlety corresponds to updating this info. This information corresponds to the moment when you press the eye. They are only updated when you perform this action.
7. Wire cutting
After a while, it is certain that time is running out and that we will have to act. Courageous as you are, you therefore decide to choose a wire to cut. To do this, simply play two cards with the same color.
If I play two blue wires, I can cut one of the five blue wires still available. If I have found a good wire, a green light will come on. If it is a neutral wire, nothing happens. If it is a bad wire, the bomb approaches the explosion and a red light comes on.
Three green lights, the bomb is defused; three red, it explodes.
8. Do not forget to do forward planning
It is well known, it is thanks to you, and only to you, that the operation is a success. If you play two cards with the microphone symbol, then you will have the opportunity to take the time to think about your future interview in front of the cameras.
These cards played, in this case, remain in front of you. If the operation is a success, the player who has prepared their intervention best will win 1 additional point at the end of the round. Yes, it's as much a part of the job as putting yourself forward. But beware, nothing is free. Indeed, when you take time to think about what you will say, you will actually take time. In other words, the group will lose between 5 to 15 seconds over the final time. Be careful it goes quickly ... You will have to choose the right timing to embark on this type of action.
9. Courage to run away!
The life of a bomb disposal technician is a high risk job. Sometimes, time flies too fast and the bomb eventually explodes. If this is the case, nobody wins points (even for the interviews, don't dream either, losers are not worth interviewing ... though).
To overcome this small inconvenience, by taking your courage in both hands and burying it deep within yourself, you can choose to flee. But flee bravely.
Yes fleeing is not glorious, but it can allow you to get out of a difficult situation alive and victorious. When you play two cards with the symbol flee, you exit the round (click of course on the corresponding button). You no longer have an impact on the current round. You have technically left the place of the bomb. Potential interview cards played before no longer count for you. When you choose to flee, this gives some time back to your colleagues still in play.
If the bomb is defused, no luck, you left too early, suddenly nothing for you except bullying and mocking. On the other hand, if the bomb explodes, well done. Not only have you survived, but above all you will gain 1 point (and not those who stayed).
10. To do nothing sometimes is to do something ...
While the active player chooses to do an action or simply pass, the other players are not outdone.
Phone Bomb wants to be a communication game. For this, during the active player's turn, the others can freely exchange cards with each other. Of course in order to respect the altruistic nature of the game, the cards must be exchanged face down, without being shown beforehand and the agreements relate only to those who believe them (therefore in no way be obligatorily respected).
Even if it is true that during the first games, you do not necessarily think about it, this notion is quite well seen and occupies the players during the rounds. This occupation contributes to the fact of adding a bit of deception but also to distract the players from the current objective. This distraction can waste precious seconds without anyone realizing it. It is important to communicate well and find the right balance.
And now you know all there is to know to become a good minesweeper at Phone Bomb. At the end of a round, we count the points. 2 points for those who stayed and who defused the bomb, 1 point for the one who most prepared the best interview and 1 only for those who fled when there was an explosion.
A full game is played over five rounds. At the end, you’ll proceed to the calculation of all the points, whoever has the most wins the game.
The game offers a few variations including bonus cards. Very quickly, you will find yourself playing with this to spice up your games. These are simple goals that will allow you to earn an additional point on success. This adds a little more and even more distrust without weighing down the game.
Phone Bomb is a success in its genre. The components are simple, but everything is clear and easily readable. The rules are well written, and easily readable. The iconography is well thought out. Once the game started, no more feedback on how to play is required.
The rounds are linked quickly, the game is fluid and there is no time to be bored on the contrary. Without upsetting the codes, Phone Bomb offers a very pleasant experience for short games. The mixture of real time, cooperative pressure with the tension of betrayal that can occur at any time works perfectly.
There is mistrust and bursts of laughter are not long in accompanying the game, especially once the players are chaining blows. The game is very dynamic and there is no real downtime.
The application is simple but relatively well thought out. No superfluous, the symbols of the cards correspond perfectly to those present on the control panel. You don't waste time figuring out what to do. Everything is instinctive and above all it responds well to touch. No latency. Playable on many supports, the application adds a playful side to the defusing touch as in the movies. There are some sensations of video games like Keep Talking Nobody Explodes or Them Bombs! (in less pushed of course). In addition, the publisher has announced that the application will experience future improvements such as the appearance of missions. Interesting thing that deserves to be followed.
Bonus cards offer a little extra and renew interest after several games.
The game is nevertheless not without flaws.
It remains a party game. This means that the more players, the better. Playing it at two (variant included) has no interest, and even if it is appreciated by three, it in no way delivers its potential.
However, the application has certain limits. In terms of pure use, it is a shame to see small things appear which certainly do not prevent the pleasure of play but which slightly increase the handling.
Again, this doesn't take away from the fun of the game. In the end, these are just small details, but things that can be easily improved to increase the fun and ease of use.
If you play in good company (it is possible to see some playing anti-games by taking more time voluntarily to win), the game is a real nice surprise. An ideal aperitif game, simple, fun and lively. A tasty blend of flavors that works perfectly. Knowing how to juggle between saving the team or putting themselves forward is a relatively tasty thing. Not to be hated by others while trying to get out of the game puts you in a place not so obvious but oh so enjoyable especially that must be added to that the pressure of time. Not only does the game work well, it also offers a really well-thought-out hybrid experience with good quality hardware. Phone Bomb is a game that I can only advise you to play with friends, family, with younger children, between adults, between people you do not know .... in short with anyone, play there! After locating the sympathetic Topiary, waiting for the very good Rescue Polar Bears, Aurora offers us with Phone Bomb a very good aperitif game. It would be a shame to deprive yourself, especially since it is at an explosive price.
Technical score 9/10
Compared to its category, Phone Bomb is doing really well. Very easily recognizable iconography, clear rules, simple but effective application. The cards are solid and pleasant to handle.
A little further application adjustments would have been a plus.
My BGG score 7/10
The game is very pleasant. The mix of genres works really well. It's always a pleasure to play it. It's dynamic, deceitful, fluid, fun, accessible and fast. Besides this last point makes it possible to prevent repetitivity from settling down. We can't wait to see how the thing can be developed even more thanks to the app to vary the pleasures. A very nice surprise for a game that works really well.
Combined score of 8/10
And now it's your turn to play ...
Marvel Champions: The Card Game
Technical note 9.5 / 10
The material is very good except the individual trays (even if finally it is used very little). The rules are clear and the game is very fluid. The rules are very readable and everything works fine.
My score BGG 10/10
(Exceptional - will always enjoy playing)
More than a racing game, a fun nugget. Fun, catchy, fluid, surprising, tense, original, thematic ... A game that you should not miss, especially if you like racing games.
Combined score of 9.75 / 10
And now, it's up to you to play ...
wacky Races (2019) Review
Do you remember this old cartoon Wacky Races. No ? Ah, but that does not have to stay that way. You must rush out and discover this. So many childhood memories. And this is not new. Indeed, Wacky Races is an American cartoon created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The cartoon was born in 1968! It even had a sequel / reboot in 2017.
If the title of the cartoon does not necessarily speak to you, the two main protagonists will be known to you. Dick Dastardly and his dog Muttley, during each episode, try to win the race by preparing traps to make the others racers lose. And like the Coyote, these attempts are constantly turning against them. But in Wacky Races, all shots are allowed for the eleven participants, all more colorful than the other.
What was a surprise to see was a game adapted from this license. And from CMON Limited in addition. So that's something that could potentially make us happy, or on the contrary, make us run away. The theme is not necessarily the easiest to adapt.
Wacky Races: The Board Game is a game by Andrea Chiarvesio and Fabio Tola. They created two versions of the game. The normal version is the one you find most easy to access. CMON made pre-orders for a deluxe version with pre-painted figures. This one (rather successful) is scheduled for the end of 2019. The version I got is a normal retail version.
To be honest, what made me crack was clearly the license. Being able to find all the drivers of my childhood and being able to play with them in a board game, it seemed very nice. The illustrations of Giovanna BC Guimarães are very faithful. They put you directly in the arena.
The principle of Wacky Races: The board game is very simple. Each player chooses a driver and takes their model and individual board. Also taking the four "abilities" cards that are placed on that board.
For the drivers, we have the joy of finding the eleven from the series:
- Vehicle # 0: Dick Dastardly & Muttley in the The Mean Machine
- Vehicle # 1: Prehistoric Men: Slag Brothers: Rock Slag & Gravel Slag in The Boulder Mobile
- Vehicle # 2: The Gruesome Twosome inThe Creepy Cup
- Vehicle # 3: Professor Pat Pending in The Ring-A-Ding Convert-a-Car
- Vehicle # 4: Red Max in The Crimson Haybailer
- Vehicle # 5: Penelope Pitstop in The Compact Pussycat
- Vehicle # 6: Sergeant Blast & Private Meekly in The Army Surplus Special
- Vehicle # 7: The Ant Hill Mob in The Bullet-Proof Bomb
- Vehicle # 8: Luke & Blubber in The Arkansas Chug-a-Boom
- Vehicle # 9: Peter Perfect in The Turbo Terrific, a dragster
- Vehicle # 10: Rufus Ruffcut & Sawtooth in The Buzz Wagon
Then you’ll create the circuit. This one is composed of map / tiles laid more or less randomly. More or less because the tiles are separated into two halves. At the end of the first half of the circuit (after 8 tiles), there’ll always be the gas station. Then, continue laying the remaining 8 tiles, being careful to add one special tile (choice of four). The number of spaces to finish the race is theoretically always the same (there is nothing prevents you from playing with everything). The normal circuit is composed of 18 tiles.
Each race participant is randomly placed on one of the starting locations. One character per tile, only six in each race (seven if you count the Mean Machine). The goal is to arrive first on the finish line. Logical, this is a racing game. The game announces a 10 to 15 minute per game and it does not lie. We are clearly in the game very fast.
The normal tiles are each a different landscape. Landscape that you’ll find repeated several times. They range from the desert, the forest, the meadow and the farm. Added to this are special tiles with obligatory gas station and another one to choose between either the marshes, the crossroads, the railway crossing and the ACME factory. Of course you’ll always finish at the finish line. Special tiles act as a joker for moving. It is important to know this because all the movement of the racers will depend on the type of tile which they are on.
Each player has three cards in their hand. Each card represents one of the landscapes mentioned. The first action of a player is mandatory. They must discard a card (any one) to move a tile. After this move, they can then discard another card that corresponding to the terrain they are now located on, to advance a second time. This can be repeated a third time (after inevitably the player has no more cards in hand, so their turn is over). The cards played must match (except the first one played) the driver's location to allow them to move one space. Each tile has two spaces, which can accommodate up to two drivers. If a third wants to move onto that space, it is automatically placed on the next free box ( not counting the tile full). Then the player draws back up to three cards.
Finally, at the end of the player's turn, Dick Dastardly and the Mean Machine are moved. This car participates in the race but in a particular way. Indeed, as in the cartoon,Dastardly and Muttly try to trap their competitors to win. Their car is placed on the tiles and not on one side or the other, like the players. It does not count in the limit of two cars and is not played by a player. For his move, look at the discard pile. The last card played indicates where the Mean Machine will go.
For example: a desert is on top of the discard pile. The Mean Machine goes to the next desert tile no matter the distance. If a wild tile is on the way, Dastardly must stop there (except for the Station Service tile because "refueling is for losers"). If there is no movement possible, then the Mean Machine runs out of gas and must give up (because without fuel "you may not be a loser but you can not win").
Fun little detail, if Dick Dastardly & Muttley lead the race, they take the opportunity to place a trap card. You then take the first card of the associated deck and put it on the tile. Thereafter, if the two cheaters must go through this tile, if there is still a trap, it does not count as a movement space. After placing a card, as it takes time, they fall back to last place.
With less than six players, there remains a last step. Indeed, all drivers who do not belong to a player, are considered neutral. They have their own way of moving forward. At the end of a round and just before the first player starts playing again, all neutrals advance one space. Then, you reveal the first card of the deck. If the terrain matches, the drivers involved advance one space. Again a second, then a third time. If a neutral racer reaches the finish line first, they win. In a game with two players, after the neutral stage, Dastardly plays again.
And there you go. Now to finish with the details ... When a player reaches a space with a trap card, the card is revealed and the trap activates. There are eight different types of traps: falling rocks, log, oil slick, false tunnel, broken bridges, sabotage, mud pool, false signam. There is also the possibility of falling on a plan that has failed (which is good for racers).
During the installation, I told you about cards abilities. Each racer (neutrals do not have one) has four cards. These cards can be used at any time of their turn. Just flip your card once used. There are ways to avoid certain pitfalls, the ability to pick or renew his hand, to advance faster, to invert tiles ... These cards can sometimes give you a good boost and sometimes counterbalance a capricious chance. To know that once the last driver has passed the gas station, all the players can reactivate all exhausted cards again.
So what about this Wacky Races: the board game? From the start, we know what to expect. The game is not meant to be a complicated game. Its duration for one, its short rules, the possibilities of gameplay, it is a family game, easy and quickly. Wacky Races is a driving game for the family, very simple and possibly too simple. Compared to its price, one wonders if the publisher has paid too much on the license. Still, the game has good ideas.
Already, the respect of the series is a very appreciable thing. Thematically, visually, we are there.
It's a good thing to have eliminated Dick Dastardly & Muttley and made them an aggressive neutral player. The idea of traps is interesting, but quickly finds its limits. Already, this does not necessarily happen much in one game and can disadvantage the same player several times. The number of traps available is quite small, it does not allow for big surprises when discovering the cards and created a lack of variety which is heavily missed.
The game system is pretty good, but relies far too much on the luck of the draw. If you have the right combos at the right time, you will advance much faster than your competitors. It also plays on neutral management. Very good idea, but unique to each game, this system will create tension ... or nothing if the cards do not really allow them to move forward. We understand that the idea of making a simple family game was paramount, but the trouble is that in this state, it is limited like if we had rolled a dice, and that on the right number we advance (and again the die would be more fun). Cards can become very frustrating and very unfair. And it's not really the idea of abilities that will save things. On paper, that's fine. This allows for a slightly different and personalized drivers. In fact, the powers are very similar and with little variety.
The duration of the game, quite short, allows to reduce some feelings evoked without removing them. Rules for a championship mode (rather anecdotic) are included.
The miniatures are rather successful. A lot of details and we are plunged into this crazy world. On the other hand, the rest of the material is quite surprisingly poor. It is true that the publisher has accustomed us to good or very good. And there, see the cards / tiles very thin and not detailed, it surprises. The trap cards are very simple and do not have their own illustrations. The decor of the tiles is quite hollow, without relief and flavors. The cards capacities are at their limits ... The players boards are also very thin and their machine construction plans, which look strongly reminiscent of Victorian Masterminds (also a CMON title) could have been a little more worked. Except the miniatures, the rest leaves me really doubtful.
Moreover to return on the racers. It's a pleasure to know that there are eleven of them. But ... why are we so limited to only six players (so seven cars in play at the same time)? Why could they not have proposed more tiles to make longer circuits and thus incorporate additional drivers and make it more like the cartoon ??? No ... here you will only have the right to only have six drivers at the same time. What a disappointment. A few more tiles, a few more special tiles, that would clearly not have been luxury.
I am very annoyed with this game. I would like to love it, I would like to advise it, I would like to share with you my joy to play it ... But ... I can not. Deception would be a fairer word. I expected maybe too much. It happens sometimes. And yet, when the game starts and you are the required number, it turns out well. With children or family, it works. But between players, spent the discovery ... the atmosphere starts on a flat calm. Where is the fun? Where is the madness of the series?
The game is clearly not bad. But it really lacks something to make a good game. As it stands, the thing that can make you come back is the nostalgia side. The desire to plunge you back into this crazy world. To face Dick Dastardly & Muttley, to drive the The Army Surplus Special or the Compact Pussycat ... Finally, it did not need much more. More varieties in the powers, more variety in the traps, more varieties on the special terrain, more tiles, the possibility to play with all the drivers, more devious tricks to play, the possibility may be to lessen chance with a small side risk taking (and again it can pass thematically) ...
That's it, you know what to expect. To be honest, despite its many faults, I enjoy playing it. Even if I can not convince others to play another round. The game is still quite pleasant. Without necessarily leaving a playful imprint, it will satisfy you during this short period of time.
If you are a fan of this cartoon, you can even find your child's soul. The actions, the atmosphere stick thematically. But if you are big players and looking for a challenge, I can only advise you to think twice. A family run game, very well with children even as a game for an appetizer. But who misses the finish line because of road exits a little too frequent. Too bad, it really had potential.
Technical note 7/10
Apart from the cars that are very successful and the illustrations, the rest leaves something to be desired. Tiles too thin, not very detailed and varied. Fine cards and offering little variety. Player boards with little interest ... The rules read well.
My score BGG 6/10
(Ok game, only with the right audience)
My love of the cartoon stands out on my note. A family game that will not go down in history, despite interesting ideas and a very pleasant background. A disappointment compared to expectations. Quick and easy to play. To advise with children or with family.
Combined score of 6.5 / 10
And now, it's up to you to play ...
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