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Subject: Introducing a new game to the parents rss

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Andrew Goenner
United States
St. Cloud
Minnesota
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Intro

My fiancee and I headed over to my parents' house for supper on Friday night. It was a great meal, followed by relaxation in the hot tub. After all of that, I asked if my parents wanted to try a game I picked up at the Park Point Rummage sales (a huge yearly rummage sale here in Duluth Minnesota). They said sure, but my fiancee decided to sit out and just watch/kibitz with my mom.

The reason I chose this game to try is because of my mother. She enjoys games that are simple to figure out, but she has trouble understanding things that get too complicated, due to an accident she had as a little girl. Anyway, now that I have the time, I thought I would try my hand at my first review based on that playing of the game.

Theme and Audience
There isn't much to the theme of this game. The items you have to pick up in order to win range from ghosts to bugs to pieces of armor. If anything, I suppose the theme would be that it's "cute," which is more than fine by me. In regards to audience, based on the art design of the game, it is obviously geared towards younger children. The ghosts aren't remotely scary, many of the pictures have a "cartoony" feel to them. A note here, while the intended audience is obviously children, don't let that influence whether or not you will give this game a try. Once you actually sit down to play it, you will find yourself racking your brain when your turn comes around.

Basic Info
Number of Players--2-4
Difficulty/Time to learn--None/a few minutes.
Time to play--Depends on starting layout but probably 30-60 minutes
Theme--Not much of one, although technically fantasy I suppose as most of the items to be collected seem to fall in that vein.
Mechanics--Modular, constantly shifting board; player movement
Strategy/Luck--These occur at two different times in the game. The inital placement of the pieces is pure luck as the board is randomly built, and then your cards indicating what you need to pick up are dealt to you. Once the game actually starts, however, it is almost entirely strategy.

Components
Playing Pieces--There are four wooden playing pieces colored red, blue, yellow, and green. They are well made, but art-wise no better than pawns in a game of trouble. Just small, solid, wooden cylinders.

Board--Is well-made for a childrens game. It's your standard board that folds in half, with several pieces of the map permanently affixed. Nothing terribly exciting here.

Map Tiles--The art on these are very well-done as far as I'm concerned. Each piece has a piece of the labyrinth on it. The walls are made of bricks in various shades of red, and not just one solid color. Each of the items that appears on the tiles is done in a cute cartoony manner, while still managing to make you feel perfectly ok playing the game without any kids around.

Cards--These are small cards. For anyone familiar with Arkham Horror, they are about the size of the item cards from that game, but not quite as sturdily made. Definitely still ok. The only concern in regards to children is that they are small and may easily be lost.

Rulebook

There really isn't anything to say about the rule book. It's small, four pages long, and extremely simple to understand.

Set-Up

Set-up only takes a couple of minutes, as it only consists of placing the map tiles and dealing out all of the cards. Once that is done, play is ready to begin.

Gameplay

This is where things can get confusing from reading the rulebook to actually playing the game. When I read the rules, I thought it would be a simple, quick, somewhat thoughtless game. I was right for two out of the three. This game is extremely easy to play and understand. So simple that I'll list out the basic rules here.

1.There is one extra map tile once the board has been built. On each players turn, they must slide the extra map tile onto the board anywhere that the board allows.
2.The player whose just placed the tile then moves their piece towards the first item on their list. There is no movement restriction other than that you can't go through walls. If there's a path, you can get there.
3.Once that player finished movement, the next player takes the map tile that was pushed off the board and uses THAT tile somewhere on the board.
4.Once a player has gone through and collected their entire deck of items, they must return to where they started to win the game.

That's it, those are pretty much the rules. There is one other side-rule that states that if a player is on the tile that is pushed off the board, they reappear on the other end of the board where the new tile was placed (think Pac Man).

In reading the rulebook, one might think "That's it? This definitely is a kid's game." That was my first reaction as well, until I sat down to play it on Friday. One you start playing it, you find that strategy abounds. If you can't get to the item you need on your turn no matter where you slide in the new tile, you have to weigh giving you a slightly closer ending point with that new tile against using that tile to mess up another player getting their item (or what you suspect is your item, as no one knows what each player is going after for sure until it has been collected). On top of this, the being pushed off the side and coming back on the other side also adds to the strategy. We found ourselves sitting and staring at the board, usually for a couple minutes, when our turn came around, trying to figure out what the perfect move was. A couple of times during the game, I felt like I was playing chess. This, to me, is definitely a "easy to learn, more difficult to master" type of a game. As stated earlier, other than during setup, there isn't a whole lot of random to the game. Once the game actually starts, every move is strategic.

My Rating
These will all be rated out of 10.

Components--Playing pieces:5 (gets the job done, nothing fancy)
Board/Map Tiles:9
Cards:7

Average: 7
Luck--2
Strategy--9
Fun Factor--9.5
Gameplay--10
Theme--5
Replay Value--9

Overall--9.5 (Note, this is not an average of the above scores, as I personally place less importance on several of the issues I rated than on others. This is just overall how much I enjoyed this game).

Conclusion
If anyone is looking to play an extremely easy-to learn, fun-to-play, light-hearted game that still requires strategy to become truly good at, I would recommend this game. And due to the simplicity of the rules, it could definitely be an amazing gateway game to introduce to non-gamers.

Well, that's it for my first review! I hope it wasn't too terrible, and if there's anything I should have touched on, or was confusing, please let me know so that I can improve on my next. Thanks for reading and game on!
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Joseph
United States
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Great review. You basically summed up what I've felt since first playing this game. Easy to learn - difficult to master. Lots of potential for indirect player interaction.

Well done!
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Andrew Goenner
United States
St. Cloud
Minnesota
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Yup, changed the Avatar for self-promotion.
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Thanks for that. I've posted to a few threads here, but was quite nervous at posting my first review. Going into the game, I thought it would be ok. I couldn't believe how much I actually enjoyed it once we started playing, though! I definitely consider this game a good time, and IMHO, it's the perfect game when you don't have time to play something heavy, but still want to feel like luck didn't play a major part in victory.
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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
Costa Rica
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Really great review, I want to get this game now thanks to it!

That may not be saying much since I want at least half the games I read about, but you made this one really sound like it is worth having in my collection

Great 1st Review!!!
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