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Everything Board Games Kingdomino Review

Dane Trimble
United States
Payson
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Quick Look:
Designer: Bruno Cathala
Artist: Cyril Bouquet
Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 15-20 Minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Your kingdom is grand but not grand enough, you are now seeking new lands to increase your wealth and stature but so are the rival kingdoms. Can you out maneuver your opponents claim the the best parcels of land and make your subjects happy? If so you will become Kingdomino!

Overview:
To setup Kingdomino each player will take a castle, matching start tile and matching king tokens placing them in front of them—castle on top of the starting tile with space around it. Players will then shuffle the land tiles and place them back in the box so the number side is facing out towards the players. Four tiles are drawn from the front of the row of shuffled tiles and placed in numeric order starting at the box and working outward. Once the tiles are laid out they are flipped over revealing what they are. Then the player's king tokens are collected and held in a player's hand who mixes them up and drops one out randomly. The player who's token it is then places it on a tile of their choice. This continues until each player has placed their king token. Four new tiles are now drawn and placed in numeric order (like previously) to the side of the first set tiles and flipped over. Players are now ready to begin play. Note: there are some variations on the number of king tokens used and tiles drawn based on the number of players.


Four player set up. Sorry for the overexposure. Also it is easier to use the box to hold the tiles and I should have laid out the next set of four tiles.


The order of play is determined by which player's king token is closest to the box. That player then takes the tile her king token is on and places it into her kingdom. She then takes her king token and places it on the land tile of her choice in the new line of tiles. This will determine the next tile she will claim to add to her kingdom.

When placing a new tile into her kingdom she must follow a couple of connection rules:

1) Either connect to the starting tile, which is considered a wild landscape type, or to at least one matching landscape type of a tile already in play. For example forest to forest or water to water.

2) Each kingdom is limited to five squares by five squares so the tiles played must fit within that constraint.

If a player is unable to place a tile according to the above rules that tile is discarded.

Once a player is done choosing her new tile play moves to the next player who is closest to the box, who takes the same actions as the first player. This repeats until each player has had a turn. Four new tiles are then drawn and placed per the rules above and the next round begins. Play continues like this until all the tiles have been placed or discarded.

Players will now score their kingdoms. Points are scored by taking the number of like landscape types that are continuously connected and multiplying that times the number of crowns in that area. For example in the image below the player will score the following: 0 points for the lone water tile in the upper left corner, 36 points (9 tiles X 4 crowns) for the field tiles on the left hand side, 3 points for the single mine area, 0 for the lone march area, 0 for the forest area in the lower right, 4 points for the water area in the upper right (4 tiles X 1 crown), and lastly 0 for the lone field tile in the upper right. For a grand total of 43 points.




The player who has the highest score wins!

There are a few additional rules like playing over three games and adding up all your scores, scoring an additional 10 points for having your castle in the center of the 5x5 grid, scoring an additional 5 points for being able to use all your tiles making a perfect 5x5 grid, and a supped up two player game with a 7x7 grid. We personally enjoy the 5 and 10 point bonus rules.

And that's how you play Kingdomino!

Review:
No big secret here considering Kingdomino won the 2017 Spiel des Jahres, but this game is freaking awesome! So simple yet so much fun. Blue Orange nailed another one out of the park.

As you can see above the set up and game play is super simple and straight forward. Games are fast typically lasting 15 to 20 minutes so it is easy to get multiple games in on a single night. And yet with the simplicity and quickness of the game there is some unique strategy at work here. Players have many decisions to make each turn that can really effect future rounds and the end of the game.

First on a players turn they must decide where to best fit the newly chosen tile into their kingdom. Do they go for a large landscape area and hope for crowns later or do they create smaller areas with the current crowns they have? Next a player must decide which tile to claim. One closer to the box so they get a better choice the following round or a tile with three crowns but on a landscape type that isn't common?

Even with the choices available play does not get bogged down. There is enough time during other player's turns to make decisions and keep the game rolling. You can tell this game has been vetted well as there are no strange quirks or hiccups that hinder play.

The artwork is so fantastic and fun, it suits the theme, mechanics and playful game style so well. On top of that there are many hidden Easter eggs throughout the tiles which my kids really enjoy looking through and trying to find all the fun monsters and characters. As usual the components are stellar and up to par with what Blue Orange typically puts out.
















The Good:
Kingdomino is a fast paced strategic games that is easy to learn and play. It is fun for experienced gamers as well as new gamers and is great for all age ranges.

The Bad:
The only bad thing I can think of is the game ends at some point. Many times I would like to keep the game going and continue to add to my kingdom, but I guess that is what the 7x7 rule is for.

Final Thoughts:
Kingdomino is a must have for your gaming shelf. It is quick and works well as a filler game but also scratches that strategic itch. As I have mentioned a few times the mechanics are very easy to pick up so it works well as a gateway game and the artwork is too hard to resist!

Players Who Like:
Players who like tile laying games, dominoes, and puzzley games will surely love Kingdomino!

See more reviews from Everything Board Games at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/p/reviews.html
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Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:10 pm
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Everything Board Games Crazier Eights:Camelot Review

Dane Trimble
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Quick Look:
Designer: James Wallace Gray
Artist: Various
Publisher: Recoculous
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 10-30 minutes

Review:
Rules and Setup:

Crazier Eights:Camelot is a hand-management game, in which the object of the game is to be the first player to have no cards in hand. Each turn, you will draw a card, play a card, and discard a card matching either the color or number of the top card on the discard pile.



Game setup is very simple. At the start of the game, shuffle the cards together, and deal each player 7 cards. The remaining cards now become the draw pile, and you will create a discard pile next to it by turning over the top card of the draw pile. Play begins clockwise based off of the starting player, who can be determined randomly.



Within the deck are two types of cards: Asset and Event cards. Asset cards are cards that have an on-going effect, and can impact any or all players in the game. Event cards are single-use cards that allow you as the player to change parts of the game, whether it is allowing you to discard an additional card on your turn, or manipulate any assets that are in play. Once you play an Event card, it will be discarded to the Discard Pile, and placed at the bottom of that pile.

Play continues until a player has zero cards in hand. If, during play, there are no cards to draw from, the top card of the discard pile is set aside, and the remaining cards are shuffled and made into the new Draw Pile.



In addition to the base game of Crazier Eights: Camelot, an expansion of 33 additional cards is also available, called Crazier Eights: Avalon, adding a larger variety of Assets and Events to the game.

Theme and Mechanics:
The theme of Crazier Eights: Camelot and Avalon is heavily based on the King Arthur mythos of the early 6th Century, where the fabled King Arthur, King of Britain, led the defense against the Saxon invasion. The artwork and text on the cards relies on the characters and items from that time.

Mechanically, the game is based on a solid premise of playing cards that allow you to discard cards while attempting to manipulate your opponent’s hands and future actions. To discard a card, you will need to match either the color or number of the top card on the discard pile. The base game comes with four colors (or suits) of Orange, Blue, Purple, and Green. To help for players who may be color-blind, each color also has a symbol representing it (Orange is the Sun, Green an Ankh, Blue the Moon, and Purple an Eye). The cards are numbered A-10, J, Q, K. The Camelot expansion continues this by adding cards numbered 11-15. In the base set, the 8 card of each color is considered a wild card for any color. With the Camelot expansion, it introduces color-specific wild cards, so you may see a wild-card for Orange-Green or Purple-Blue that can only be used on those colors. Each wild-card can be used either a wild-card or to trigger the event printed on it. It cannot be used for both.



The majority of the event cards focus on either deck or asset manipulation, while the assets focus more on the draw manipulation or hand management. Striking a balance between the two types of cards is key in working towards a victory.



Game Play:
Game play for Crazier Eights: Avalon and Camelot consists of doing the following on your turn: Determine and resolve any on-going effects from cards in play (those specifically that start with ‘At the beginning of your turn’. Draw a card, play a card, discard a card, then determine and resolve any on-going effects from cards in play (those specifically that start with ‘At the end of your turn’). You can chose not to play a card on your turn, or may find that you do not have a card to discard.



Artwork and Components:
The artwork on the cards is very reminiscence of the renaissance, using a number of muted colors appropriate for the age they represent. Each card has a unique drawing on it, and goes along with the theme and name of the card.



The cards are a standard 63x88mm (2.5 x 3.5 inches) card, and have a satin finish on them, making them easy to read in bright lights. You’ll need to shuffle them a few times to make them easier to handle, as they seemed to have a slightly curved edge based on the cutting, and cling to each other a bit. As this is a card game with lots of shuffling is involved, you’ll possibly want to look into protecting the cards with sleeves.



The Good:
The game is very easy to learn and play, and has the simple goal of being the first to have zero cards in hand. Artwork and theme is very clear on the cards, and with only two types of cards (Asset and Event), very easy to remember which type does what action. A game of Crazy Eights: Camelot won’t take long, with a 4 player game taking around 25-30 minutes to finish. The inclusion of the wild-cards from the Avalon expansion help speed up the game, and limit the number of times someone doesn’t have a card to play.

The Bad:
With each card having a special ability, some players can have a difficult time selecting how they should play the card, and can slow down the game. Some of the cards can come across a bit text-heavy, and take a bit to read and remember. For those players who like to build up an engine, it can be frustrating for the other players to wait as they select the order the cards would trigger and effect the game state.

Final Thoughts:
When I originally opened the box, and started looking through the cards, I was concerned that with all the text visible, this game would be a slow plod as you tried to rid yourself of the cards. But, after the 3rd play through, gameplay was moving along at a rapid pace for those familiar with the cards and engine building. While you have to have a plan going into each game, and be able to adjust as cards may change what is visible or happening each round, Crazy Eights was a great romp, somewhere between an engine-builder with a hand-management style. Some games you’ll be able to have 3-5 Assets running each turn, letting you search through the top of the draw pile and eliminating cards while having your opponent draw more cards. Other times, you may have cards that keep putting cards in your opponent’s hands, while you keep taking their Assets away from the board. Then there are the times where you are just going with a speed set, where you only have assets that allow you to discard more than 1 card a turn. With a sweet spot of 3 players, though it supports from 2-4, Crazy Eights: Camelot and the Avalon Expansion fall into that fun area between game sessions where you want some strategy game without having to give up a lot of time.

Players Who Like:
If you’re looking for a game that can be done in around 15-20 minutes and have some strategy and take-that mechanics involved, then Crazier Eights: Camelot is right there for you.

I am giving 6.5 out of 10 super meeples.

See more of Delton's review at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/p/reviews.html
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Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:39 pm
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Everything Board Games Cast the Ritual Kickstarter Preview

Dane Trimble
United States
Payson
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Quick Look:
Designer: Cliff Stornel
Artist: N/A
Publisher: Cliffside Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-5
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 20-60 minutes

WARNING: This is a preview of Cast the Ritual. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Review:
Rules and Setup:

If you're in the mood for a quick, strategic game you can take on the go, settle in for the fantastical Cast the Ritual. Setup is a snap with only card components. Start by shuffling the character, market, and ritual component decks separately. Have each player choose a character, then deal everyone five cards from the market deck. These cards are now their Lab, the hand from which they play cards during their turn and eventually (hopefully) cast the ritual. Cards in the Lab MUST be left in the order they are dealt in.

Next, deal out the ritual component cards. For the first round there are three ritual components, four for the second round, and five for the third. Once the ritual components are laid out, take the shuffled market deck, flip the top card over to form the trash, and begin the round.

Sabotage opponents and fend off attacks to insure you are the first player with all the ritual cards in the correct order in your hand. The round ends once a player successfully casts the ritual, and the game ends after the completion of three rounds. Order is key in this card game, the first one to cast the ritual gains the most points each round.


Theme and Mechanics:

With a name like Cast the Ritual the theme is apparent from the get-go. Fantasy and occult imagery and lore are incorporated throughout the game. References to pop culture fantasy can also be found within the market deck. The two mechanics the game focuses in on are set collection in order to cast the ritual, and hand management as players have limited space in their Lab and must have components in the correct order to play them.


Cast the Ritual Components, photo by Sarah Johnson


Game Play:

Basic game play begins with a player drawing a card from the top of the market deck, moving a card one place to either side in their Lab, and then choosing one of the following: to draw or buy extra cards, play cards, move another card in their lab, or cast the ritual. All of these options are outlined on a guide card for each player. Once they have finished their elective action, the player must discard their Lab cards down to five plus the number of ritual components in the round (8 for the first, 9 for the second, 10 for the third). After the discard the next player clockwise begins their turn.


A cast ritual, photo by Sarah Johnson


Overall game play is quick, particularly in games with fewer players. Using sabotages is vital to slow down your opponents or boost yourself ahead. In larger games, it's best to try to maximize the amount of players you can effect with your attacks by chaining spells or using character abilities for bonus effects. Once a ritual component card hits the trash, it's a free-for-all. Due to the interesting rule that the trash isn't shuffled at the beginning of each new round, you may begin a round with a ritual component card right on the top of the trash. Grab it fast, even if you already have a copy in hand, to prevent other players from completing the ritual by hoarding resources. Strategy is important, as without taking action the rounds melt away quickly and it is difficult to catch up in points after you fall behind. Beware!


Artwork and Components:
Artwork for the game is simple, yet whimsical. Several cards reference pop culture fantasy, such as the iconic Peter Pan scene being reenacted on the pixie dust card. As this is a preview, only one character card has art, but the rest are sure to follow the same fantastical style as the Artificer. The rest of the market deck and rituals have completed art on sturdy cards.


Cast the Ritual card art, photo by Sarah Johnson


The Good:
Easy to pick up, great to take on the go, the theme of occult and fantasy runs throughout the entire game. This game also has great potential for expansions in the future, working off the mechanics and rule set to cover specific mythos like Lovecraft or Greek mythology.

The Bad:
There are two character cards that have the exact same mechanics. The rules are also extremely vague when it comes to responding to an opponents block of your attack. Can the block be blocked? Can the player attack again or counter the block? These questions need to be resolved for game play to become richer and complex.

Final Thoughts:
A good game that will be made great by a minimal amount of tweaking to the cards and rules. Easy to learn, fun to play, you can take it anywhere.

Players Who Like:
Players who enjoy other set collection games, such as Fluxx, will enjoy Cast the Ritual's take on the age-old card game mechanic.

I am giving Cast the Ritual 7 out of 10 super meeples.

See more Sarah's Game Reviews at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/p/reviews.html
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Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:33 pm
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Everything Board Games Gearworks Kickstarter Preview

Dane Trimble
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When it came to fixing clocks, Silas was the best around. That is, until an accident upended his life and he couldn’t work for months. Finally able to function properly again thanks to a newly installed prosthetic limb—full of moving parts that clicked and clacked with each finger movement—he found a job with a local workshop.

Before his accident, Silas only needed to make a subtle clue that he needed a particular part for his contraption. At his new place of work, however, those parts were in high demand, and it wasn’t uncommon for other tinkerers to sabotage their colleagues’ work and steal the parts for their own projects.


As a former master of the trade, Silas wanted to impress the workshop owner by what his hands could do, not by how few repairs his fellow tinkerers could make in a day. But, without another source of income, Silas stepped into the workshop on his second day of work, gritted his teeth, and plotted ways to take the spare parts his coworkers had stashed around and use it for his own contraptions. And if by so doing he also found favor with the workshop owner and his colleagues let go, then so be it.

Quick Look:
Designer: Kirk Dennison
Artists: Sheryl Chieng, Yorgo Tsalamanis, Jason Flack
Publisher: PieceKeeper Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 45 minutes

WARNING: This is a preview of Gearworks. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.





Review:
As tinkerers in a workshop, players vie for the favor of the workshop owner by fixing a mysterious clockwork machine. Through clever use of hand management, card placement, and a unique twist on area control, players gain Parts by fixing components on the clock and use those Parts to create imaginative contraptions to be used as victory points at the end of the game.

Because knowing how to play is a key part of knowing if you will like it, the following section describes setup and gameplay. If you would prefer to read my thoughts on Gearworks without a description of gameplay, feel free to jump towards the bottom of this review for thoughts, insights, and my overall rating of the game.

Rules and Setup:

Setup:

To create the play area, place the nine Gear tokens (back side up) to form a grid with four rows (gear tokens 1-4) and five columns (gear tokens A-E). This forms the grid on which players will play their cards. Note: Leave room enough for a card to be played on each space on the grid.

Using your new grid, take the top four cards of the shuffled Gear cards and place them on the grid in the following locations: B1, A2, D4, and E3. These cards are what players will be working with (and around) from the very first turn.



The grid should look like this after the four cards are placed.

Each Part has a number or a letter on it. Place each Part next to its corresponding Gear token on the outside of the grid. Each player takes a Spark (the fourth or last player in a four-player game receives two Sparks), 5 Gear cards, and a Contraption card, along with a reference card. Each reference card has a unique color in the upper corner to denote that player’s color.

Note: In a two-player game, remove Gear cards 8 and 9, remove Contraption cards with the “E” part, and remove Gear Token “E”, along with its corresponding Parts (this gives a 4X4 grid instead of the 4X5 grid used in a 3-4 player game). Lastly, place 4 Gear Cards on the following spaces on the grid: A2, B1, C4, and D3. All other rules apply.


Rules:

Players take turns playing, and each turn requires the player to take one of two actions: Play a Gear Card, or Pass.

Play a Gear Card
Playing Gear cards is the route to victory. Doing so can give the player extra Sparks, as well as necessary Parts for the various Contraptions. However, there are placement rules, and this is where the brainpower comes in.

Placement Rule #1: There can never be more than one type (color) of Gear card in the same Column (A-E).

Placement Rule #2: Gear cards in each row (1-4) must either be in ascending or descending numeric order, or be equal to the number on the card next to it once played.

Once a card is successfully played on the grid, the player who played that card rotates the Gear tokens of the row and column where that card is located until that player’s color is pointing down the column and across the row to where the newly placed card resides. At the end of the round, players receive Parts for every Gear Token that has their player color pointing into the grid (down the column or across the row).


If the green player plays the "3" in row 1, column A, then the Gear Tokens 1 and A would be rotated so that the green color is facing in towards the grid. This shows that the green player now controls row 1 and column A.


Pass
Sometimes, your hand size is small and there’s just not much to do with the cards currently sprawled out on the table. That’s where passing comes into play. If you can’t play—or choose not to—you may pass. Passing essentially forfeits a player’s turn, but as long as at least one of the other players doesn’t pass before it becomes the passing player’s turn again, that player may opt to pay one Spark to jump back in the round and play a card. This can be useful when all of a player’s cards are unplayable in the current setting, but another player played a new card which changed up the layout, making it possible to play again.

If, however, all players pass in a row, then the round ends.

Optional Actions
At any time during a player’s turn, that player may choose to gain and spend Sparks. Sparks can be a game changer, so it’s always nice to have a few on hand. The easiest way to gain Sparks is by discarding two Gear cards for one Spark.

Another way to gain Sparks is by how a player places his or her Gear card, which also includes a little math. (Stay with me, non-math types. It’s not as scary as it sounds). After placing a Gear card, look at two of the nearest adjacent (not diagonal) grid spaces. If both of those cards either add or subtract together to equal the number on the card just played, voila! That player is rewarded with a fancy new Spark.


Using the same example as above with the green player playing the "3" Gear Card, take the nearest two gear cards (in this case the "8" and "5") and either add or subtract their values to equal the value of the card just played. Since the card just played was a "3," then 8-5=3. Huzzah! You get a spark!


Likewise, players may spend Sparks on their turn to further their advantage. Here are what players may spend Sparks on, along with their cost:

Draw one Gear card: one Spark
Replace Gear: two Sparks (This allows the player to play a Gear card over top of one already in play, following all placement rules)
Draw Contraption: two Sparks
Reenter Play: one Spark (Once a player has passed and it is once again that player’s turn, he may spend one Spark to reenter play, thus allowing him to play another card)

Once all players have passed in succession, the round ends.

End of Round
When the round ends, players take one Part for each Gear token they control (i.e. that Gear token shows their color pointing into the grid). These Parts are used to complete Contraptions, which will grant players lots of points if completed. Once all the Parts have been taken, the grid is cleared and all Gear cards (not including those in the players’ hands) are shuffled together. Then, each player receives a new Contraption card, 4 new Gear cards are placed on the grid in the same manner as in the original setup, and each player receives five more Gear cards (up to a maximum of 8 Gear cards per player). Extra Sparks are then handed out according to how far behind the players are. This is based off the player who has the most Parts in their possession (i.e. the "Leader"). This player receives no extra Sparks, as do any players with one fewer Part than the Leader. Players with two fewer Parts receive one Spark each, those with three fewer Parts receive two Sparks each, and finally, those who have four or less Parts than the Leader receive three Sparks. Players may have a maximum of five Sparks in their possession at any time.

The game ends after three rounds, following which players score their Contraptions (four points for only one Part on their Contraption or nine points for two Parts on their Contraption), unused parts (two points per Part not on a contraption), and Sparks (one point each). The player with the most points is crowned victorious and receives the illustrious title of Master Tinkerer. Congrats!

Theme and Mechanics:

The steampunk theme in Gearworks comes across well in the artwork and components, which certainly helps add to the gameplay, but it’s the actual mechanics that are what set this game apart.

I’m a fan of area control games, but I’ve never seen one like this. Every time a card is played, it triggers a new controller of an area (or in this case, Gear token). Players must manage their hands and resources (Sparks) well enough so that they can sabotage someone else’s efforts to control a certain Gear token, thus rewarding them with the highly useful Part attached to it at the end of the round.

The catch-up mechanic is a helpful incorporation, in which players are rewarded extra Sparks depending on how far behind they are at the end of a round. I’ve seen this comeback mechanic breathe fresh life into a player who thought she was going to lose miserably (she ended up winning by more than a few points), but I’ve also seen it snuff out all hopes and dreams of players who were in the lead before the extra Sparks were awarded. That being said, there is a lot of thought that goes into playing this game, and while players may use their newfound Sparks to pull ahead, finding that perfect spot on the grid for your card can be even more important than one or two extra Sparks. Winning in Gearworks takes careful consideration of not just which card to play on your turn, but to try and out-guess and out-maneuver your opponents so you’re not left high and dry when the rewards are given out at the end of a round.



Gameplay:
One of the things I like about Gearworks is that every turn feels important. There are times I need to earn a Spark, thwart my opponents' plans to regain control of a Gear token, and play a card that will make it more difficult for them to play on a particular row or column. Sometimes, I can do all at once; other times, it's one or the other.

Because each decision feels so important—a card could win me the game if played right or see me end with embarrassing defeat if played poorly—there will be times when a player's turn will take longer than you're willing to wait. That, of course, is the nature of many a board game and can be solved with a little prodding.

I felt engaged during everyone's turn, because I needed to focus on what was happening so I would know how to counter their move and turn it into something good for me. Games took anywhere from 30-45 minutes, and none of them ever felt like they took too long. I'd say it's a good length for the game.


Artwork and Components:

From the box art to the Gear cards themselves, the artwork in Gearworks helps set the tone for the game. The detail in the art looks to have been taken seriously; for example, the little smudges of grease on the Gear cards are a nice touch for the aesthetic.


Gear cards (top) and Contraptions (bottom)


The components, too, are quite nice. While I was given a pre-production copy, the components are made of thick cardboard, the cards are sturdy, and everything looks very well made. Even if no improvements are made following the Kickstarter, I wouldn’t be disappointed with these components.


These Sparks are made of good, solid wood.


The Good:
Explaining Gearworks to new players is easy and straightforward, yet there’s a depth to the strategy one might not expect at the outset. I found each game I played to be quite engaging, and since there are so many different cards and combinations to play, no session—or round, for that matter—felt the same.

Gearworks has a Sudoku-esque feel to it, of which I most highly approve. That’s not to say, however, that one must enjoy Sudoku to enjoy it. Rather, Gearworks takes the brain-burning of Sudoku and mixes it with the strategy of area-control games to create a hybrid that’s a great fit for both math enthusiasts and those, like me, who suffer from arithmophobia.

Even when your hand doesn't have any playable cards in it, there are still ways to stay in the game, either by paying a Spark in order to draw another (hopefully more useful) card, or by paying two Sparks to overwrite another card already on the table. This can completely turn the game around when all seemed lost just a turn previously.

The Bad:
Without a play mat, the grid can be a little difficult to put together, as there’s nothing keeping the rows and columns straight. This is more of a problem during the beginning of a round when there are relatively few cards on the table. Still, it’s a minor concern, and one that doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the game.

Final Thoughts:
Gearworks brings new flavor to the world of area control games, and it’s one that will stand the tests of time. I’m a fan, and the more I play, the more I appreciate the unique gameplay it brings to the table. Gearworks not a re-skin or an old idea made new, but rather a fresh take on an common mechanic that gamers of all preferences will enjoy.

Players Who Like:
Folks who are a fan of sudoku, card games, and area control games may find Gearworks to be right up their alley. (One might also say, this game would "tick" for them.)


I am giving Gearworks 8 out of 10 super meeples.

See more EBG game reviews at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/p/reviews.html
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Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:28 am
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Everything Board Games Iron Curtain Review

Dane Trimble
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Quick Look:
Designer: Asger Harding Granerud, Daniel Skjold Pederen
Artists: Jessica R Tyler, David Prieto
Publisher: Jolly Roger Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 20-30 minutes

Want to make nail biting decisions that might cost victory of the Cold War? Iron Curtain is a game where you make political decisions for either the US or USSR. Will you lead your country to sweet victory, or bitter defeat?

Review:



Rules and Setup:
Each player will get their color of cubes. Blue being US and red being USSR. The starter card will be used to start the game and each player places 1 influence cube on top of it. The score track is set up by placing it near by with the marker on the middle yellow area. If a player makes it to the end, or 8 points over the other player, they win. If a player never is ahead by 8 points, the game ends when all cards are played and final scoring will take place.







There are 18 cards used in the game, each player starts with 5 cards each (you will play 4 and the leftover card will be left for the ‘aftermath’ when final scoring. There are 2 rounds with 4 turns each. The USSR team will decide who starts the beginning of the game, in the second round, whoever is behind will decide who starts.



On your turn you will place a card from your hand expanding an active region, or if it’s the first card of its region, anywhere adjacent to an already placed card. You will do a quick check to see if that was the last card played for that country. If it is, you will do regional scoring. This step will occur more in the second half of the game than the first. Regional scoring will give points to whoever has the most influence on each country, and whoever has the most countries in the finished region.

You can then do your action from the card you played. If it’s a card with your flag on it, you can choose to do either the event text, or the command action. The event text are all different on each card, and you will execute what it says. The command action will let you add the number of cubes shown on the card to any card you are either already on or any card you are adjacent to. You gain control of a card by having 2 cubes more than your opponent. If your opponent has control and you want to place a cube, you will have to pay an extra cube to do so. If you play a card that doesn’t have your flag on it, the opponent will do the event text action, and you will then do the command action. When all cards are played aftermath scoring and final regional scoring is done. Whoever has the most points wins.




Theme and Mechanics:
The theme is made rich in the game. It’s a 2 player game of 1 vs 1 resembling a war. Each card has an action on it that connects to the country and connects to the history of the Cold War. The mechanic used is heavy on area control as you can only place cubes on cards that you are on already or adjacent to. A big part of strategy is blocking your opponent with area control. hand management is used as you need to know which card to play for the best result at the best time.




Artwork and Components:
It's hard to tell you it the art and components are bad or good as this is a micro game and there isn't much of either. The art for the game is straight to the point as the cards just show the information you might need. It's cool how they show the region and then magnify the country on the card. Components are standard card stock and wood cubes.






The Good:
High strategy game for a fast small game. You might think you have a strategy down, but next game your cards are different and are placed on the map differently. You will have to adapt strategies with what cards you are dealt.

The Bad:
The theme is war, and the mechanics don't really make it a true war game feel, as you don't feel like your killing anyone or anything. Though it's more of a political game as you need to influence certain countries to get good actions.

Final Thoughts:
For the size of the game, you might be surprised how much text I have included in this review, but it just means that the game is more complex than just playing a card. Also, this game is the best micro game I have played. Each time you play it changes because you will be building the board as you go and playing cards in different orders. You have to weigh options of giving your opponent and extra action by playing their card, or deciding to play it early because it might not affect the game at that point.

Players Who Like:
If you need a game that is complex, fast, and simple then this is a great game for you. This would be a great game to have when waiting for others to arrive to play games, or when the wives are talking and not playing games anymore, you can get this out to play it while they talk. If you are interested in Cold War, or historical games, this game would be a great addition to your collection.


I am giving Iron Curtain an 7 out of 10 super meeples.

See more reviews from Everything Board Games at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/p/reviews.html
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Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:16 pm
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Everything Board Games Runes of Ragnarok Kickstarter Preview

Dane Trimble
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Quick Look:
Designer: Christopher Davis
Artist: Seta Triandi, Christopher Davis
Publisher: Windborn Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 40-80 minutes

WARNING: This is a preview of Runes of Ragnarok. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Ragnarok is upon us! Yggdrasil is failing, and Odin Allfather cannot be found! To save Asgard and the Nine Realms, you, truly the only one who is worthy, have decided to take the mantle of Allfather and sit on the throne to bring order. But what is this? Others dare challenge you for that role? Time to teach them a lesson! Summon an army based on the minions who are breaking through the barrier, level yourself up, and teach the upstarts who is worthy of the throne!

Review:
Rules and Setup:

In Runes of Ragnarok, you play as one of the four heroes (Heimdall, Sif, Thor, Freya) who are claiming the seat of power, and using custom dice, you will be working towards defeating your opponents.



Setup of the game is really quite simple. Depending on the number of players, you will draw between 4-6 unique Minion cards, place them in the middle of the play area, and put the dice indicated on their cards next to them. The game comes with eight sets of minion dice, each with a specific color and design, matching the cards (more about the dice below). You will take the number of dice listed on the card that match the color scheme and place them below the card. Though the side of each die may be different than the other sides, it does not matter which way they are facing at this time.



Once the minions and their dice are placed in the playing area, place the five Relic cards in a row above the minions. Each player then picks their hero and receives their player board and chits to start the game.

Theme and Mechanics:
Thematically, the artwork and style of play fit really well for Runes of Ragnarok. Each card has three versions of it with varying abilities; the better the ability, the higher cost to recruit the minion to the army. Additionally, each hero has special abilities that also fit along with the theme of the game, whether it be Freya summoning a copy of a minion or Thor doing direct damage to all players. These additional abilities vary between the heroes, and as you level up, you gain the more powerful abilities.



Mechanically, you will spend the majority of the time rolling dice, which determines what abilities and actions can be done on your turn during the Ready Phase. When you roll pairs (or higher sets) of the same symbols, you can vastly improve your skills on the player board or level up your main character. During the Combat phase, both players (attackers and defenders) will, after calling out any abilities that will be used during the phase, roll dice and determine the outcomes. All attacks and defenses occur as a group, meaning you roll all your dice at once and add all the numbers together.

Game Play:
Gameplay consists of two phases: the Ready Phase and the Combat Phase. During the Ready Phase, you will be rolling five white rune dice, which allow you to enhance your spells on the player card, level up your hero, gain focus, or recruit minions to your army. As you recruit your minions during this phase and roll the dice to determine their level and power, you’ll see that each minion has an ability. Some of them are triggered during the Combat Phase, whether as an attacker or blocker, and some are triggered when they are summoned or when they die. Additionally, some of the abilities have a symbol (*) that shows that it will only trigger if the side of the die also shows that symbol on it.



Each player will get a turn during this phase before moving to the Combat Phase.



Included in the game are an optional set of five cards called Relics. These relics are cards that have abilities, either ongoing or whenever a condition is met, that can be purchased by heroes and acts as a permanent addition to that hero for the game. These cards can be purchased when the runic dice are rolled, but only if the symbols (cost) match. Additionally, each hero has an affinity to a specific Relic that works with the hero’s natural ability, giving it a greater boost when there are leveled to their maximum.



During the Combat Phase, starting with player one, combat damage from creatures (plus any abilities) will be assigned and dealt to a defending player or their minions. Each side of each minion die contains up to three values on it: level, attack value, and defense value. When attacking and defending, you will add all the attack and defense numbers and compare them to the other player that is engaged in combat. Any attack numbers that surpass the defense values of the defender's minions will pass through to the defending hero, who will take damage. Your hero starts at 20 life, and the last hero to stay alive wins the throne!

Artwork and Components:
Each card has three versions of it (Lesser, Normal, and Greater) with varying abilities, and while the three cards have the same artwork, the artwork on all the different sets are very different and well done. The artwork is very fitting to the theme, sticking with the mythos of the game.



The game also includes custom dice similar to what you’ve seen in other games where dice are used to represent creatures, with each side of the die being specific to a level of the minion, and are unique to each set of minions. Additionally, the game has a number of cardboard tokens to help you keep track of improved abilities and the level of your hero.

The Good:
Runes of Ragnarok is a dice-roller. There is no doubt that if you love dice, you will truly enjoy this game. During the Ready Phase, you will be rolling dice to level up, store up abilities, purchase minions, and roll more dice. Combat is very simple and satisfying by using a group attack and defense number to determine outcome. With a tableau of between four and six random minions being used each game, and eight different types of minions (remember, three different types of varying abilities), you have a good selection available in each game without it being repetitive. Additionally, the minion powers are really well balanced, along with the special abilities of each hero.

The Bad:
The game is estimated to take between 40-80 minutes, and it truly can be anywhere between there. While the combat is made simple by limiting the minion tableau, you will find that most teams will consist of the same minions, and damage can take a while to get through to finally take out an opposing hero. Additionally, when you play with all four heroes in play, the game can take even longer. With just over ten plays in, the sweet spot for our group seems to be at three players, and that still runs just over an hour.

Final Thoughts:
Let me start by saying that I really enjoy dice games, especially dice games with custom dice! Throw in some combat using the results of the die rolled for each minion, the same minion tableau for all players that forces you to add strategic planning, and specialized hero abilities, and this game is right up my alley. While there are a few issues around difficulties in getting damage through to hit the enemy, gameplay is very easy to learn and move forward. There is very little opportunity for anyone to suffer from Analysis Paralysis, as the abilities are all triggered prior to the combat being started. Additionally, the ability to expand the game can easily be done with the addition of new heroes and minions. Love dice-chucking games? This is a must-add to your library and will likely see regular play.

Players Who Like:
People who love dice games will really enjoy this game. The simple tableau to choose from is very inviting, and players who like working on building up their abilities based on dice rolls will want to play this.

I am giving Runes of Ragnarok 7.0 out of 10 super meeples.

See more reviews and Kickstarter previews from EBG at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/p/reviews.html
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Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:29 pm
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Everything Board Games Triplock Review

Dane Trimble
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Quick Look:
Designer: Adam Carlson, Josh J Carlson
Artists: Josh J. Carlson
Publisher: Chip Theory Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 1-2
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 15-30 minutes

Lock picking is the art of manipulating the components of a lock without a key to unlock the lock. Though this might be associated with criminal intent, it is essential for the legitimate profession of locksmithing and is often pursued by those who see it as a useful skill to learn. Rogues are very keen in their profession and knew a good deal about lock picking long before locksmiths discussed it among themselves. If you're a rogue, a locksmith, or just trying to improve your skills, show off your talents by solving the Master Lock.

Review:



Rules and Setup:
You are competing to be the first player to solve the Master Lock, done by being the first to complete five diagrams or by earning ten points. Setup is fast and easy. Begin by placing the mat out, taking the chips, and making a "sandwiches" with the mechanism chips in the middle of the failsafe chips. Each player starts with a diagram card and will need to figure out which diagram to pursue, placing the card according to the one they choose. Players will each choose a character and place their character card and a skill bead nearby.

During gameplay, you can use a skill, take an action, and/or attempt to complete one of your diagrams. These can be done in any order, and you'll find yourself having to decide the best order each turn. Using a skill consists of placing your bead on different paths or moving it up on the path until you get to the end and receive its benefit. Depending on the track you choose, you will either gain two points or roll an action die. Alternatively, you can choose to reset instead, causing your opponent to move their bead off their track to the reset position and start over. Each character also has their own skill available for them to use.



Actions consist of rolling two action dice and performing the action shown; alternatively, you can sacrifice both die results and choose any one action. These actions consist of the following: peeking at two mechanisms and the top failsafe; flipping the mechanism stack; swapping two stacks, disarming a failsafe and drawing a new diagram; peeking at the mechanism in the hidden lock area with the top failsafe and then rotating all four mechanisms stacks; and, revealing, concealing, or altering any lock diagram, including your opponent's.

The rulebook does a great job of explaining the game mechanics so that you can perform actions exactly how they are meant to be used. It's also very well-organized and includes information on competitive, cooperative, and solo play.



Theme and Mechanics:
In New London, four different people have caught attention for their lock picking skills. They all have been summoned by a mysterious lock box with a time and location inscribed on the bottom. It's time to dive into the deeper secrets of the Royal Company or show off your talents against the others who think they can outwit you. It's all up to you to solve the Master Lock.

Triplock has various paths to victory, as you can win two different ways. It's an abstract memory game using different mechanics like pattern recognition, set collection, hand management, and variable player powers. This game takes many different mechanics and combines them into a system that works very well together and causes your brain to think about five different things at once.



Artwork and Components:
The artwork is done professionally and matches the theme beautifully. However, the colors are somewhat dark, which can make it hard to see some things in the game.

The components are excellent, the highlight being the amazing mechanism and failsafe chips. Top-notch components like this are what Chip Theory Games pride themselves on. The cards and other components are all good quality, as well. The game also uses a neoprene mat that fits the mechanics and theme perfectly.








The Good:

This is one of the best two-player games I have played. The gameplay keeps your brain thinking as you constantly reevaluate your tactics. The game doesn't drag on, but it also doesn't end abruptly, as you're constantly aware of your opponent's score and progression. In many of our games, a player who lost had been only one or two moves behind, with each player using different strategies.

The Bad:
The icons can get a little confusing, but after playing a game or two, your memory will kick in and help. Also, at the beginning, it gets a little confusing between the mechanism chips and the failsafe chips and the significance between the two. Sometimes, a player can luck out and be able to fulfill some mechanisms easier because of how they're placed on the lock.

Final Thoughts:

This game is perfect for solo play and doesn't lose the challenge. The game is deceptively heavier than you might think. This might be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you are looking for.

Players Who Like:
This game somehow reminds me a little bit of Splendor. If you enjoy Splendor and want to use more brainpower when playing, this is a great game to try. I would recommend this to those who play two-player games or solo games. If you were looking for a fast two-player game to play but wanted something a bit heavier than most, this is the game for you!




I am giving Triplock an 8.5 out of 10 super meeples.

See more of Brody's reviews at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/p/reviews.html
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Thu Nov 9, 2017 3:36 pm
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Everything Board Games Galactic Warlords: Battle for Dominion Kickstarter Preview

Dane Trimble
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Quick Look:

WARNING: This is a preview of Galactic Warlords. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Designer: Babis Giannios
Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski
Publisher: Archona Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 30-90
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


Review:
tl;dr: A decent little Risk meets Mission: Red Planet, with one too many mechanics and a flawed rulebook. With time to fix both.



Getting to the Game:
Setup for Galactic Warlords is not terribly difficult, and sets up a little differently depending on how many players are vying for galactic control. The pieces that were included in the review copy are not the final ones, but are different enough that it won't be confusing as to what goes where.

Teaching this game to new players is going to be a bit of a challenge. There are three separate, main game mechanics, which feels like one too many. Each one has a couple interconnected strategies, so it's a lot to grok for someone just sitting down to play. If your group handles medium-to-heavy-weight games often, it'll take 10-15 minutes to go through all the moving parts. If your clan leans more towards lighter fare, you'll want to budget more time.

Playing the Game:
Actual gameplay feels very good. Each player takes on the role of one of the great houses of the galaxy. You're playing as a Warlord, hiring mercenary leaders and their respective grunts to take and hold planets for you. Each mercenary has a personal mission of one of the six planetary types that will grant you end-game bonus power for holding. How you get there, though, is somewhat of a slog.

As previously mentioned, there are three main gameplay mechanics. The reputation track, which rewards you with additional units or bonuses if you perform certain actions on your turn. The rewarded action changes after two uses, though, so you need to diversify to climb this ladder. Once a warlord reaches the 9th space on the track, the game ends.

Each warlord hires a single mercenary every turn. This mercenary gives you access to 2-4 actions that you're allowed to take, and gives you a few extra grunts to do your bidding. Deploying units to a planet, invading an occupied planet, drawing support cards, attacking other warlord's mercenaries, and even bombarding a planet's surface with artillery are all fair game. Each action costs infantry units, so you'll need to make sure you have enough men to carry out your orders. Once a warlord plays their fourth same-colored mercenary, the game immediately ends. It's important to note that playing a mercenary happens before you actually use their actions, so playing your fourth red mercenary will prevent you from using their actions. This forces you to decide if you're *really* ready for the game to end, as you won't get to do the things your last mercenary lets you do.


Finally, there's the actual domination mechanic. The game board is divided into 9 total sectors, and each has at least 2 planets in them. Each planet could be any of 6 different colors, which match the mission types of the mercenaries. The more matching mercenaries you have, the more compelled you'll feel to take over those planet types. This *could* lead to a completely peaceful game state, where I'm going for red and green, and you're going for yellow and blue. Since actual combat has very few incentives other than taking over the planet for your gang of mercenaries, you have to be pretty sure you want to take it over. I personally wanted more of a reason to fight, other than just denying my opponents the points they wanted. In fact, the game itself penalizes you for actually fighting, lowering the point value of the planet type simply for instigating combat. For a game with such an aggressive title, this felt like a very strange way to balance points.

That brings me to the actual combat. Like Risk, when a battle takes place, the attacker rolls dice for each attacking unit up to three. The defender rolls one die for each defending unit up to three. Each of the dice has 3 "hits," 1 "invader hits," and 2 "blanks." The invader hits side only triggers when the attacker is attacking with a tank unit, and each warlord is only given three of those in the entire game, and there's only one way to get one of them back. This seems like an odd use of an entire face of the dice, and I expect this rule to be tweaked a bit before the game finds its way to your table.

(NOTE: This rule was explained to me by the game developer after specifically asking about it. The rulebook contradicts this in a few places, stating that an invader can use the invader hit as an actual hit when then invading. Clarification will certainly happen in the final product.)

Combat is simultaneous, so if you attack with two units, and your opponent is defending with 2 units, it's possible to mutually destroy each other. If you successfully invade the planet, you're rewarded with control of that planet and... 1 step up the reputation ladder. Again, there are only 9 steps on that track, so it's not a useless reward, but it doesn't feel very satisfying.

When one of the three game-ending triggers happens, there's a final scoring phase where you compare your mercenaries' missions (colors) to the planets you've managed to take over, and gain points for matching, as well as accumulating points for controlling individual planets.

Artwork and Components:
The game board and pieces I got for this demo copy are not final, so I can't weigh in too much on this aspect. I will say that there is placeholder artwork on the cards, and it's not awful. It could stand some better coloring and more thematic stylizing (it feels just a *touch* too cartoony for the theme of the game). Pieces are standard injection plastic (think Risk again), but this is all subject to change. The board art and player cards look very, very good, though.



The Good:
There's depth to strategy here, and hunting for mercenaries that complement your own has the right amount of press-your-luck to it. Being forced to play a mercenary every turn means that you can't have someone just force a single strategy into the ground, which is also good for the game. The art style of the board and player cards I saw was great. I hope the mercenaries step up to match.

The Bad:
When the plastic hits the cardboard, this game isn't "bad." We wanted to try it again after playing it, so that says something. It definitely feels like there's one too many things going on, and we often forgot about doing each of the many things that can happen when an action is taken. Combat isn't quite there yet, which is a shame because it feels central to the larger game. Interactivity is also a problem; this game could easily devolve into each player playing their own game, because again, combat isn't strictly necessary.

Score:
This is my first review for EBG, and I hate numbered scores. My group rates games on a "how often, given a weekly gaming night of three hours, would we play this game in a month." Which doesn't really fit well into a bite-sized chunk. So, I'm giving Galactic Warlords a score of Hire on a Probationary Period.

See Nicholas's original review at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/2017/11/galactic-warlord...
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Mon Nov 6, 2017 2:11 pm
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Everything Board Games Brass Empire: New Canton Expansion Kickstarter Preview

Dane Trimble
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Info:

WARNING: This is a preview of Brass Empire - New Canton Expansion. I was sent the base game and a prototype version of the expansion. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Designer: Mike Gnade
Artists: Declan Hart
Publisher: Rock Manor Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 1-6
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 30-75 Minutes

Quick Look:
Brass Empire is a deck building game with a really nice steampunk theme and art. Each player typically starts with a matching starter deck and builds their deck through purchases throughout the game. Each player's deck is built of employees, buildings, and units meant to aid in the mining of brass or to sabotage the ability of other corporations to mine for the same brass.

In the base game, each player starts with a deck of ten employees and a supply of resources that only their individual company can supply. These resources need to be purchased, but no other players can purchase them. A draw pile that includes employees and a draw pile of buildings and units are placed in the middle of the table, and six cards from each draw pile are turned face up for purchase. Also, a supply of brass is placed in a "mining pool" depending on the number of players.


Basic Game Setup


To start, players draw five cards at a time and, on their turn, play as many of them as they wish (usually all). Building cards are played face down, as they are "in construction"; units are played face up, but their effect can't be taken until the next turn, and employees are placed face up. Employees, some buildings, and some units provide two types of currency for further resource purchase: labor and/or construction. These resources are used to purchase from a choice of the twelve available cards that are face up. The purchased cards go into the player's discard pile, any extra labor or construction that can't be used is lost, and all employees go into the discard pile. The player takes five new cards from their supply deck and play passes to the next player. When the player's supply deck is depleted, all the cards in their discard pile are shuffled to create a new supply deck.


Meet some of the Employees


Different resources provide opportunities to remove cards from your deck, collect brass, and attack other corporations' buildings or units. Throughout the game, brass is won, lost, stolen, or destroyed. Once the mining pool is depleted and each player has had an equal number of turns, the game is over. Players count their total brass (buildings, units, and employees also have brass values in your deck), and the player with the most is the winner.


Any of these buildings useful for your Corporation?


The New Canton Expansion takes the base game and turns the storyline into a much deeper story for each corporation with "choose your own adventure" elements. In the expansion, you play the base game a multiple number of times with more story being revealed over time; certain triggers within the game cause additional actions for both the player's individual corporations, as well as overall game effects. Each game is scored based on where each player finishes in the game, creating a single "super game." It is possible to play the super game over multiple sessions. (We are three games in and have no idea what is still coming or how many games we will play in total.)


One of the expansion cards giving instructions as to when the storyline continues.



Check out those Guns!


The expansion also adds the necessary components to play with a sixth player.

Review:
Rules and Setup:

If you know how to play the base game, the expansion does not add any complexity to the rules or setup. If it is your first time, like it was for me, I think it makes sense to understand the base game before adding the expansion. The rules are laid out well and more coherent than most review copies I receive.

The game setup is not complicated. There are two main decks: one with buildings and units, and one with employees. These are shuffled, and six of each are laid out. Each player gets their starting deck (which will change from game to game throughout the expansion). The expansion event decks (one for each corporation and one for the overall game) are laid on the table, and players need to know what event triggers reading the next part of the story and the related game events.

Theme and Mechanics:
I don't know why, but I love steampunk themes. The theme and the story-line go great together in this game.

The deck builder mechanics are not different from most deck builder-style games. The one minor difference from some of the classics I can think of is that you play your entire hand on each turn.

Artwork and Components:
If you are going to have a steampunk theme, you have to do it right. This is done right. Having seen the artist's work, I'm amazed at how many images are in these decks. It must have cost a fortune in time and money. (Designer Mike Gnade claims, "I do everything but the art. But, I tell them what to draw so that counts for something.")

The components are good. The card stock is good, the plastic counters are good quality, and the box is strong. I wish there were a few more spaces in the box to keep everything sorted from game to game in the expansion. I did not receive a box for the expansion, so that might be something coming or even a stretch goal, but there are a lot of individual piles to keep sorted between games in the expansion.

The Good:
There is a ton great about this game. The art, the theme, the gameplay, the storyline and on and on. This is a keeper for my house. It's easy to teach and easy to play, as well.


Jack England is the spitting image of Dave Merrell.


The Bad:
The only two negatives I would raise are with the expansion. First, the replay-ability of the expansion components. You don't know what's coming, and that happens only once. I haven't gotten all the way through it yet, but I assume there are bigger things yet to come, and I'm sure a second time through might spoil the surprise, especially if playing with new players. It's a little like reading a book over and over, though, and it's probably just fine if there are no new players being surprised by the knowledge of everyone else.

Second, although you play multiple games throughout the expansion, the group playing must remain the same. You can't add or subtract players very easily. You could probably replace players from game to game, but there would be some of the story missing.


Spoiler alert. This happens during the expansion, but to save you
from knowing too much, I won't tell you when.


Final Thoughts:
We loved both Brass Empire and the expansion. If you like deck builders, this is a Kickstarter project you can't miss!

Players Who Like:
Deck builders like Dominion are similar in style. If you like Choose Your Own Adventure books, you'll like the expansion for sure.

I am giving Brass Empire - New Canton Expansion 8.5 out of 10 super meeples.

See Dave's full review at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/2017/11/brass-empire-new...
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Sat Nov 4, 2017 4:12 am
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Everything Board Games Space Race: Interkosmos Kickstarter Preview

Dane Trimble
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Quick Look:
Designer: Michal Mikes, Jan Soukal
Artists: Dalibor Krch
Publisher: Boardcubator
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 1-5
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 30-90 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Space Race: Interkosmos. I was sent a prototype version of the game. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Review:



Rules and Setup:
Let me start by explaining the base game before explaining the new additions that Interkosmos adds. In Space Race, you need to lead your country to be in the pages of history as the first nation ever to conquer the universe. Each player has twelve Control cards that determine the type of cards you acquire and the order in which you acquire them. After looking into what cards are available in the universe, you will decide on the Control card to use. Control cards will only be used once and will be left in front of you in a pile as you play them. Each player will decide on their card and flip their cards over at the same time. Players will go in order of picking cards depending on what type and number of card they choose (later in the game, cards in each player's agency will help determine order as well). This card will be added to that player's agency, and the actions on the cards are performed. Actions might consist of drawing more cards from the deck, adding cards to your laboratory (worth a point at the end of the game), or adding from one of those areas into your agency. Some actions are single use, while others might be reusable; certain cards will give you actions to uncover single-use actions to reuse again.

After each player has done this, you prepare for the next decade by adding cards from your hand into a pile that will eventually go into the universe. Other players won't be able to see these until after showing their next Control card, and you are able to get the card you want if you play it just right. At the end of the game, players receive points from total space agency levels, laboratory power, and breakthrough categories. Whoever has the most points wins.



Setup and rules are pretty easy to understand. It's explained in the rulebook using basic concepts and terms used in the game. You will not be playing straight from you hand, but you will acquire cards from the universe where you will compete with other teams to get the card you want. Cards in your hand are instead used to learn more information about what will potentially come to the universe and then be used in your agency. Knowing zones is also important, and in the rulebook, there are great pictures and diagrams used. Make sure you understand the difference between your hand, your space agency, your Control cards, and your laboratory, as well as the deck and the universe. The universe will have cards both face up and face down at times.

The Interkosmos expansion includes a fifth player (the Chinese space program) to be used for the game, different scenarios, added achievements (my favorite addition to the game), and some new terms and mechanics used on the new cards added to the deck.







When playing with the expansion, you add seven cards into the deck, with two cards face down at setup, and when preparing for the next decade, you will flip three cards face up. The scenarios will put historical context to your game and will have you start with certain cards in your hand. You will need to read each scenario when playing, as they all change the game a bit to keep things balanced and to put those big historical events into play. Achievements are added by revealing two from the card types set, two from the agency levels set, and one from the miscellaneous set. Everyone can claim these achievements on their turn similarly to using abilities. When claiming achievements, you place one of your Control cards in your hand on top of the achievement. This Control card will not be usable anymore. The first player to place on a card will get four points at the end of the game, the second will get two points, and the third will get one point; no points will be awarded after that.

The achievements really add on points to the game and help direct players to a goal while playing. There are different achievements each time you play, and your strategy might change each time you play due to these goals being different each time.




Theme and Mechanics:
The theme is exactly what the game title says, a "Space Race." The game uses events from space history to help with the theme, and you will feel it when playing the game. The mechanics used in the game include card drafting, hand management, and simultaneous action selection. These mechanics are used in a way that differs from other games. With the way they are used, you will need to think strategically about your moves and cards.



Artwork and Components:
The artwork is just wonderful, and the lines used across the cards make it easy to know if you have any other actions from cards other than the recently acquired one. The icons match well, and after learning the icons, you will be able to sort out what actions each card has. I was sent a prototype version that was printed differently than the base game and not as good quality. I would expect that in the final version, you will be able to add them to the base game and not know the difference in cards or quality.



The Good:
To me, a good game makes you think. This game definitely made me think a lot. You have to find a strategy to go with, since you can go after many different cards, as well as figure out if someone else might get to the card you want before you do. You don't have straight conflict with other players, but there is conflict by taking a card that another player wanted or that another player planned on getting when placing it into the universe. The achievements in the expansion game made this game a whole lot better for me, as it guided play a little more for me and helped score more points. Also, everyone else playing was going after the same achievements, and some cards seemed to be more precious than others due to this.

The Bad:
If you are a player that has a hard time making decisions, then you will not like this game as you will gather many cards to potentially get and use, but you won't have enough turns to use them all. You will have to figure out which cards you really want, and sometimes this will take lots of time to sort through. Also, when new to the game, learning what actions are on the cards will take time and will cause the game to be longer than needed. This will also get better with more plays.

Final Thoughts:
The base game is a great game by itself, but the Interkosmos expansion adds some much-needed mechanics and goals into play. It also adds some scenarios that end up telling a great story. We played "The Dawn of an Era" with NASA (USA) and Soviet (Russia) going head to head and using special cards like Moon Speech, Small Step for Man, Sputnik 1, and Leaving Earth.

Players Who Like:
If you enjoy games that connect you to history or tell a story, you will need to check out this game. This game is perfect for those who don't like direct conflict during play but still enjoy the strategy and interaction it presents.




I am giving Space Race: Interkosmos an 8 out of 10 super meeples.

See Brody's original post at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/2017/11/space-race-inter...
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Thu Nov 2, 2017 3:51 pm
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