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*Terrors of London, a Victorian Horror tale about legendary monsters and a Dark River * a Kickstarter preview.

Marlon Kruis
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Welcome friends! Glad you are here, have a fun read and let us know what YOU think! thumbsupheart





A horror story intro



As most stories start, there was a time when everything was easy and the flow of life was like an easy stream of water belonging to a small creek, which belonged to a bigger river and maybe even to a bigger ocean. The river flowed its way into where it wanted and it never came across anything but beautiful riverbanks with colorful flowers, bees doing there bee like things and wild animals drinking just a small portion of the river's presence. But, like so many stories before ours, such peace and happiness won't be the way this stories will come to be and this zen-like state would change, forever.


On one dark and cold December night, the river flowed into, what soon will be, it's biggest and most scary crossing it would take in his long and everlasting presence. From afar it saw a darker and more red glowing sky as it had ever seen. It's wasn't the moon, which was bright and glowing above it, but the pull of its magnificence being did weigh heavier on the river for some unknown reason. The heavy sense of toxins, smoke, and blood became more and more noticeable within every inch of the river flowed towards that smoke-filled sky. The melody of strange sounding wolves, other beings, and were that mortals flowing in the river which gave their last breaths, were getting louder and scarier. As soon as the first wooden houses rose up, the river could almost feel itself being consumed by some sort of evil, like a thick and syrupy substance being mixed into what once was a clear blue water, it turned into a red stream of death, decay and maybe even a spark of dark sorcery.

The river, as rivers do, still wanted to keep flowing downwards, but when it approached the harbor it almost came to a complete stop and found the source of all these changes. What it found beyond that scene, was the clear and dark reason why it was called what it was called later in history, the River Thames (Tame), or better know in our story, as The Dark River.







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Designer: Brad Pye
Artist: Ryan Pye
Player count: 2 - 4 players (team game)
Playtime: 20 - 40 minutes
Theme: Victorian Horror, Halloween, Monster-lore
Mechanisms: Deckbuilding, Hand management, Variable player powers





Highlights



The elephant in the room and we admit it freely its something we love a lot, the artwork is one on a level we have rarely seen in board games. It's so detailed, it's so fitting, it oozes horror and is just absolutely one of the best ever created for a board game.
Diversity in unique character cards (both relics & monsters) and the available Overlords (8 with the Noble pledge!) are awesome. So much cool creatures from the well know horror stories or ones which get lesser attention are portrayed in cool ways.
Horde actions versus faction monsters to boost your own Overlords powers. You cannot go for only faction monsters, you will need other ones too, to make hordes of monster for extra actions. So mix your deck up with all kinds of creepers.
The possibilities are humongous with the easy set of Keywords and the stories which are out there to include in this adventure. It seems a smart choice by Kolossal Games to put out games which have legs for many moons to come.

Lowlights



We are curious what the team game will bring. This really seems like a 2 player battle card game only. So there may be a limit on gamers who are looking for a game for a higher player count.
Cleaning up some of the Keywords, trying to limit some edge cases which may lead to confusion is a development activity which needs to be done still before production retail launch.
Player boards need some work, we don't want that health marker being on the wrong position due to a bump. But being a Kickstarter, and seeing the unlocked stretch goals, this has been unlocked already.


Playing Terrors of London at night on our family vacation at full moon was quite the moment. Plus, it was quite scary...


Which story are we telling

Not much here, for this time, our opening has set the scene hopefully and puts you into the fantasy times of classical monsters, beasts and dreaded humanoids roaming the streets of London. As one of the mighty Overlords, which are the big bosses behind the curtains, you will be trying to be the one left standing in a clearly broken world of darkness, magic and more shades of grey. You will horde, trick and play the big puppet master from behind the curtain on your minions, underlings or other creepy creepers.


Acolytes are the money makers of the game, but they have their own factions


The flow of the game

Every player is given his starter deck, ten cards containing money cards (cultists), power cards (fanatics) and two out of four of your influence cards (special power cards related to your Overlords faction) which you can choose before the game. Out of the ten cards, the start player takes four cards and the other, five to start the game off.

The goal of the game is to slay the other Overlord and reduce its health to zero.

Resources come in three flavors, Coin, Power & Regeneration.


You can do the following actions on your turn, which contains playing as many cards from your hand as possible and consist of three phases, passing is only allowed with at most 1 card in hand. Which you put onto the draw deck.


1 Phase 1, The Action Phase. Play cards, form hordes, activate Relics, use Overlord abilities, buy cards from the street and deal damage.

EPlay Actions are simply played a card from your hands with no costs and play out its immediate effect or which may activate later in the round.
E Buy Actions are when you have enough money played on your play area, you can purchase a card from the Street to build up your deck better.
E Attack Actions is putting your build up power to use and deal damage.
E Horde Actions lets you form or expand a horde, which will give you nice bonus actions and ways to manipulate the game state. This is one of the unique, or at least fun parts of Terrors of London, making compatible factions lines.
E Relic Actions lets you activate one of your maximum of three Relics.
E Overlord Action is a one time a turn possibility to active your specific faction power on your player board.
E Pass Action is simply that, passing out of your turn.

2 Phase 2, The Clean Up. Simple, clean up the mess you made with all those cards but leave those Haunt given monsters where they are.

3 Phase 3, The Draw Phase. Draw five new cards, if your deck is empty, shuffle your discard and form a new draw deck. Next player is up.

This continues until one of the players is down to zero health and then you may put out your best evil laugh you can as the winner.



Keywords

As is the case with most deck builder card games, Terrors of London has a list of specific KEYWORDS with their unique actions within the game. We won't list them here to avoid having conflicting meanings with the eventual production rulebook being out versus what is now present in the preview rulebook version. But understand that most of the ones figured out by Brad Pye are very clear and are making sense in most cases and aren't hard to grasp after a few plays.

Component quality

Being a preview copy, this is always difficult to say, but based on the artwork and the reached stretch goal of for example 300GSM cards, this will be a beautiful game, where the artwork will be the key factor eventually. The rest of the game components are quite basic cardboard chits and player boards. The cubes we used for health tracking are replaced by small open cardboard donuts with a hole which lay flat on the player board. Sorry, we couldn't come up with the technical term of those. At least, that's a better solution when you bump the table instead of the cube. The Player aids are fine, but we do like to have them include all of the Keywords and the possible Actions for the production release. We think it could do an even better job there when they do that. Less friction is more enjoyment. But, knowing Kolossal Games as a publisher a little, they will do their utter best to deliver the highest possible product as possible.


These Cultist and Fanatic cards make up your starter deck and will give you money and power to obtain better cards.


Shelf Life

It is another deck builder and there are many of those out there in the wild. So where will this one hold up on our game shelves? We don't own many of them, if we look at Boardgamegeek (we did search on deck builder & card game) we don't own a lot of competitive deck builder cardgames. Helionox, Hands in the Sea and as a co-op we own Aeon's End, those don't have any overlap. So for us on both theme and mechanisms, this can stay on the shelf for a while as a go-to deck builder game which takes just a few minutes to play and have a hell of a lot of fun. We often like the deckbuilding part in grander board games as one part of the experience, and we do less go for full-blown deckbuilding only games like Dominion, but in this case, it is theme, cleverness and the easy to grasp rules & keywords, which makes this a keeper for us.


These influence cards spice up your factions powers. As Overlord it can give you the needed extra actions to derail your competitor's plans or get stuff back from the dead.


Weight

Using the Boardgamegeek ratings, this is a light to a medium-light card game. When you understand the Keyword principal it's just matching icons for the horde abilities and trying to make the most out of your hand of cards & abilities. We found for example Omen a Reign of War from the same publisher a notch higher in complexity on Keywords, but just a tad. There are meaningful decisions to make, which monsters to add and where do I balance variety versus own faction? But there is also a big amount of random luck of the draw with the stuff available from the Streets.


Staring yourself in the face


Theme Consistency

This game breaths theme in every sense of the word. It's really that simple and it's a full-blown thematic card game. The card actions make sense with the characters, the Overlord special abilities also make thematic sense with their factions. The one thing which is less thematic, or at least it isn't in the same style as the hand-drawn cards, is the 3d like faction symbols, but for gameplay purposes, it does work quite well and it's a nitpicky thing either.


Let's lay out some pain and monsters


Fun Factor

We really like playing this one and that obviously is very personal, and the concept fun in its sense is also very subjective. If fun sets you off on the wrong path, replace it with enjoyable instead. It's a good thing more Overlords and Monsters are added through stretch goals so the game won't get stale soon. Combining the right monsters, with the right artifacts and delivering your opponents tons of damage is just a satisfying feeling for us. Playing a couple of games, in just an hour, makes this an acceptable thing and won't make the other side too grumpy. It stings, but shuffle up and start over making the world a darker place.


The death of an Overlord, a tragedy for some, a win for others.


Setup-Time

You will bust this out in minutes and same for clean up. If you keep the Acolytes separate, the starter cards, the special overlord cards and just the big deck of other cards, you are set for the races in a quicky.



Audience

The horror style game does mean you need to be open to somewhat more explicit kind of artwork. It isn't a gory style, but nonetheless, it is something to be aware of. But being a light game it's playable with a lot of people and the explanation is done in a few minutes. So there's a broad group of gamers to play this game with. For our D&D friends this is a game which they are going to love to pieces, but for our family, it may be a little too explicit in its exposure, but if they can stomach it, try to let them see the beauty of this title.


The streets are filled with tasty monsters and horror


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In Short

If you like a little Horror in your life and adore beautiful artwork, or if you like a solid deck builder which isn't overly complex but still has a lot of cool little things going, don't look any further. This game is going to fire up some of your senses and scare other games in its niche away. A more strategic way of play is possible, but there is a sweet sense of randomness left. which fits the setting very well.

If you don't like darker subjects and want heroes in your stories, don't take this path. But do know that on the dark side there can be a beauty too. If you want a highly strategic deck builder with zero luck, that's also not the case here. This game needs you to do a little of many, and for players who want's set strategies to explore, they may be lost in the balancing act this game needs.

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Our (preliminary preview) verdict



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We hope you liked our contribution to this Kickstarter and if you do, let the publishers and other gamers know this on the Kickstarter page or down below with a comment or a like. You can't imagine how much those are appreciated and do make a difference.

Thanks for reading and joining us on our board game journey.



More monster and relic cards from Terrors of London from Kolossal Games to close the preview out.




________________________________________________________________________


Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!


Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna


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This copy was provided
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behind Kolossal Games.
Thanks for the trust
Kira, Travis & co!

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Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:08 pm
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* Combo Fighter, video arcade gaming pleasure in its purest analog form, a Kickstarter preview.*

Marlon Kruis
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Welcome friends! Glad you are here, have a fun read and let us know what YOU think! thumbsupheart





When the fantastic Kira from Kolossal Games asked if we wanted to preview a new game coming to Kickstarter, we couldn't say no to that request.  The game set out to bring back sweet memories from days past, Combo Fighter which is a re-implementation of Caesar's Glory from 2017, is setting out to give you a fun, fast, video arcade fighting game experience. Arcade gaming has been a massive part of our school life and we can't deny missing out on quite a few hours at school due to it. Sneaking out of classes to go to the arcade playing all the new hotness games like Mortal Kombat was very addictive.

Will this new card game by Kolossal Games & Plotmaker Games bring us these experience back years later? Let's find out together and punch our way through the good and the bad, shall we?







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DesignerAsger Johansen
Artist: Snorre Krogh
Player count: 2 - 4 players
Playtime: 10 - 20 minutes
Theme: Video Arcade fighting, button bashing delight
Mechanisms: Variable Player Powers, Rock Paper Scissor, Hand management



Highlights



It really feels like the old days and simulates slamming those button combinations so very well. Being just rock paper scissors in its simplest core, it disguises that fact well. The power bar lose is captured with the bleeding card lose from your deck (your deck is your life) and counting those hits out loud is just painfully fun. But yes, depends on which side you are on.
The artwork is fantastic, it's clean and very fitting to the theme.
Every character deck feels very unique and the different characters really have their own way of playing. So expect also a lot of different ways to experience the game between the characters having a fight off. They also have their specific backstory and we can't wait to see more characters and more locations to fight at in the future. The diversity of characters is as it should be and we expect more characters and inclusiveness to come in some stretch goals and future expansions. Good stuff publishers!
There is massive interaction and a lot of table talk and cheering, or painfully taking hits. Mind games are also an enjoyable part of the game, what will they play? Do they do what is expected? Are they going slow? Have a watchful eye on what is going on.
Don't take it too seriously and just get into that feeling of loading up that arcade game and just go with that addictive flow. Play a metagame! If you need help in emerging a little? Just play the Kung Fu Fighting song, watch some Bruce Lee flicks or finish your combo's with yelling out, FINISH HIM or HER!
Player versus player, Team game or Battle Royal! We played the pvp one and that was heaps of fun, but those other two ways to play the game will bring even more tabletop chaos to your house!


Lowlights



Randomness can be a big part, but it is also the place where the real fun is at in this game. Landing signature combo's, or regular ones, is still achievable and does take some planning to do so. Plus taking some hits to build it up. Admitted, it can be frustrating that your choices can be falling flat every time your opponent makes the correct guess of what you are playing. But with it being a lightning-fast game, the next round can be just the other way around. Just like a real fight.
If you take this game too seriously and want it to be a big strategy deckbuilding card game, then you may be a disappointment in the game. In essence, it is just rock paper scissor and collection the right combination of icons. But why not emerge yourself a little into your character role and feel the action come to live with your martial artist?
There is and will be a huge variety of characters, and there will be locations included which will break some rules of the game, but replayability after a while may wear off if players get to know the decks better and just start playing "the number game". A.k.a. card counting players can have an advantage and if you only see the numbers, it can get a very abstract experience.



Which story are we telling

You will be playing as martial artists or brawlers from around the globe, coming to a location to become the last fighter standing or just be kickass. Imagine the movies of Jean Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee or the crazy powerful female characters from the arcade game Mortal Kombat like Sonya Blade or Kitana. Everybody thinks they can KO the other ones, a filthy rich person is behind it setting it all up for their pleasure, but in the end, just one will make it out as victorious and the rich gets richer along the way. In this story, that person is named Biff Bennett and he has money like water and a sweet rig somewhere in the Pacific.



The flow of the game

Everybody starts out with 5 starting cards in hand and will shuffle the remaining 45 cards to make their deck. The deck will also function as your life bar, so be smart about your discards and which combo's are worth stringing out. Each character also gets its specific power token and its character card with the Signature Combos and deck layout.

From your hand, you will play 1 card face down to the table and reveal that simultaneously. The winner of the play may string out his combo with cards which are allowed to be played or has to call out which specific Signature Combo it will make. You count the amount of damage and the losing player needs to discard that amount of cards from his hand or deck.

There are 3 types of cards in 3 different colors and 3 shapes. These are the tools given to make your combo's. Every card has a Combo Box and the next card in your combo needs to be present with its color & icon in that place. They have introduced a very smart wheel which easily explains which cards win. When you tie, you look at the initiative value on the Red cards and the asterisk on the Yellow or Blue ones.



After the rounds end, you will discard the used cards and any extra from your hand which you don't like and refill to a max of 5 fresh ones.

Staggering will happen in two ways, your fighter takes enough damage to empty your deck but you still have cards left in your hand or when refilling your hand you draw the last card from the deck. This will in both cases, show you the bottom card called the Staggering Card. This will mean you can continue playing, but with your next damage taken, you will be knocked out! Make that final comeback count!



Component quality

All still prototype, but it is already looking great on artwork and graphic design. Print & Play did another stellar job providing preview copies. We trust in the publishers here to get us the best game experience possible and they won't shy away to make fantastic products. The colors are already very snappy, the icons are clear and the cardstock is above par even for a preview copy. We won't mind them turning it into linen finish and some sweet thick tokens for the power tiles by the way.



Shelf Life

We are currently very into our two player only games which can be played almost everywhere and Combo Fighter is no exception to filling that niche too. Besides the character sheets, there is just a deck of cards for each character. So shelf life for our collection, with the knowledge there will be much more content coming, this is going to stay a long time on our shelves. Tie in the fact you can play it in teams too on those social and loud game nights or go even more extreme with a Battle Royal and we can bust this out almost everywhere.



Weight

That's an easy one really, we ain't going to add weight where there isn't or make it more complicated than necessary. This is a perfect lightweight game where players need to get into the groove and can start playing within minutes. But there's nothing wrong with that, we can't play a Splotter or an Arkwright all the time,  and it is also far from just a silly party game. It's just extremely accessible,  everybody knows the rock paper scissor game and sometimes you just need to punch it out with a game to clear the mind of the daily hassles.



Theme Consistency

As long as you stay in the mindset of being a brawler or martial artist, the theme is done in a pleasant way. The characters really feel as unique persons in a world of fighting and trying to be the best. The chosen artwork, the shouting out of Signature combo's and the comic style rulebook adds to that fact of being sucked into the story.



Fun Factor

You have fun and you have F U N. Guess in which fun Combo Fighter falls? On a scale of enjoyment and sheer enjoyment, this is just perfectly balanced. There is still a game, but not too much to overcomplicate the fights and the premise the game sets out to give you. Throw in a dollar or a euro, and start those quick battles, just like the video games.



Setup-Time

Less than 5 minutes and you are ready to go. So really not much at all. Put the Staggering Card at the bottom, place your power tile on the A side and take your starter cards and FIGHT! The rules teach is easy too and will take also not much of the needed play time.



Audience

We think really everybody can play this. The box says 12+, but we think much younger kids can have a go at this with some help from their parents. Figuring out what colors and shapes belong together is a perfect thing for those youngsters and they figure that out very quickly in our experiences. With the current hype around all those Marvel characters, these arcade-style fighting games, can attract a lot of adults too and may lead non gamers into our beautiful hobby. And yes, even grandparents may remember dear old Chuck and want to experience some of that fist fighting stuff for themselves. Let them and you will see how they unleash their inner combo beast.



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In Short

If you like highly interactive various player power card games and like to play your games a few times in a row with every time a different experience, and you don't mind punching your friends around, this is a perfect fit for you!

If you don't like too much randomness and want a very strategic and controlled fight, this rock paper scissor game may not be your cup of tea.

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Conclusions

As with every Kickstarter, we have seen a prototype in its current form and what is possible with a given system, model or game the designers are presenting us. So a final verdict is something to make when the production copy will be available and we can make a proper full blown review. But, being just a prototype, it is one which is looking very promising and is kicking off the entertainment scale to a high degree. Go check out the Kickstarter page for more information and even more previews and smash those stretch goals in a long-lasting COMBO STYLE!

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We hope you liked our contribution to this Kickstarter and if you do, let the publishers and other gamers know this on the Kickstarter page or down below with a comment or a like. You can't imagine how much those are appreciated. Thanks for reading and joining us on our journey.



________________________________________________________________________


Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!


Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna

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Follow Us:

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This copy was provided as a preview copy by the lovely folks behind Plotmaker Games and Kolossal Games. 




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*May 2018: Kickstarter & Pre-Order Cross Section*

Marlon Kruis
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What grabbed our attention and which Kickstarter board games should you have a look at if you like similar style games like us? We also include the current line of board game additions and possible upcoming reviews, previews or showcases!


Kickstarter


Still running (or late pledge open) and backed





The premise this game is set out to let you experience is that it will give you an 18xx game but in a much smaller package and time. We have played 1846, which we can appreciate and did like, but to say we are the biggest 18xx fans out there would be overselling that fact. One of the biggest reasons we are less into those type of games is the running time you need to finish them. This game seems to come in a much smaller scale, hence the title but does bring the facets we did like a lot such as track laying, shares and things may be less regular 18xx, beautiful artwork, and nice components. Especially hopeful is it comes from the creators of 18CZ, which also looks great and good with 2 players! Fox in the Box!





We are really liking what 2Tomatoes (review for Peak Oil is being drafted) is bringing and New Corp Order is another title we are looking forward too! We even hope to showcase it here on the blog, if the stars align that will happen before the Kickstarter ends, fingers crossed. Megacorps taking over, mega Conglomerates setting the tone to the connected citizens, sounds familiar? With a range of 1 to 4 players there is a lot of flexibility to play, quick playing time from 30 - 45 minutes, a retail version and a deluxe one, again the beautiful art from Heiko Gunther and what we saw at the Heavy Cardboard teach was very good!



Still running (or late pledge), but thinking about




Another Roll & Write title, but men do we love those at the moment. A lot of game in a much smaller package and it is so easily brought along to friends & family and bang out for some board game fun. The theme is fun and is also very appropriate for what you are doing. Smartly done Chad!





Quite an interesting setting and something we haven't seen that many strategy games about. Stranded on an island or floating on the sea, you will need to get back home and outsmart your opponents in the process. The tagline is fun too, a game of shrewd tactics. Does have the sound of something with a real narrative packed into it and that is always something we want from our board game experiences. And those Light tower meeples are just fantastic! The reason why we are on the fence about it, one too many backed projects already and it does look quite abstract to our liking. Brought to you by Sharon and Lior from Tyto Games





We must be very honest, we were in as backer number 6, but also backed out of it after some thought on it and watching a few videos on it. The way the rings are working sounds amazing and it is such an original thing to do. But the overall game isn't making us really want to play it or maybe better put, is it going to be another dry euro or is it really sets itself apart? Really on the fence about this one from Academy Games, Inc.





We did not go for the first Vast: The Crystal Caverns, but we did hear a lot of great things about it over the last few years. As vivid d&d players, we do love the setting and the whole idea behind the game. On the other hand, it also has a steep learning curve with so many synchronized features to it, that teaching it to other players everytime is not something we are looking forward too.

We like this too, smart move to put your reasoning out on the campaign to Leder Games!







We know, Game Salute (Starling Games) isn't being one of the most liked publishers out there, but this game does have somethings going we think sounds cool. We personally don't have any experiences with this publisher, so we want to treat every publisher on the same level until proven otherwise. Second chances are there for a reason.

The first thing that drew us in was the artwork, we love that painted feeling it gives and a somewhat faded look to it. The chosen color scheme is also to our liking. We love civ like wargames, with unique factions and a lot of interaction between players. The round shaped board does look interesting, it does give a feeling of being on a real globe. We haven't done any more digging yet on the minutiae, but we are intending to do so. It has a huge Game of Thrones feeling too it and we love that game.





Card drafting and sweet clean graphical design is always something which has us turning our heads on a Kickstarter launch and Villagers are no excepting in that regard. Building out your Village with a variety of different people with an array of skills. There is a tech tree feel to it with the way you need to follow a certain path to get people into your village which will give you better and more rewarding actions. The campaign is crushing it and it is already on its 48-hour mark. A lot of tasty stretch goals have been already achieved and there is one still on the horizon and has our interest to, solo mode upgrade! Sinister Fish Games did very well on this. We do find it regretful that the 2 player scaling is taking out quite a few cards. You will not use two types of the cards in the game and that does not add to the replayability. In spite of that, we do really like what we have seen on this game and Tom, Slickerdrips, did a stellar job with his playthrough.



Finished and backed




This came out of left field, at least before our friends from Heavy Cardboard were very stoked about it on their podcast, we never heard of it. This is a classic British kids tale which showed on the BBC and the creator of the board game, Nick Case, made this his passion project. And it shows in almost every inch of what is happening around this project. The stories on his meetings with the artist, Peter Firmin, are just wonderful on its own. The fact it has two ways you can play the game, family style or standard, is a huge advantage for us! The game has a coop vibe to it, you all don't want Nogbad to win so some progress as a whole as players are needed, but you must make sure that in the end, you should be the one helping Noggin to his rightful throne, the most.





We liked the releases The Game Brewer did together with TMG, Chimera Station (here our thoughts) and Pixie Queen (coming also soon!), and this one seems to be another hit. At least, the project did great and the community brought a lot of extra's into the game. Even with the whole needed name change, they kept the momentum going. A project where 1 to 5 players can explore the imperial palace in China of 1570. Especially the clever way the cards are played had our interest and also the fact you need to reach Palace of Heavenly Purity, makes this a euro game which is anticipated and we cannot wait to give the deluxe version a swing.



A list of backed board games in 2018


E The Omen Saga by Kolossal Games
E Habitats 3rd edition by Cwali Games
E The Estates by Capstone Games / Simply Complex
E Imperius by Kolossal Games
E Architects of the West Kingdom by Garphill Games
E Spillover by 2Tomatoes
E Kami Sama by Kolossal Games
E CO2 by Giochix.it
E Gentes by TMG
E Western Legends by Kolossal Games



Additions


indigo Paperback by Fowers Games
tobacco Paperback: Unabridged
sugar Fugitive by Fowers Games
coffee Boarding Now by Fowers Games
corn The Sands of Time by Spielworxx



We hope we put some extra attention on some of the projects and we would love it if you go check out some of these awesome people's works of art and don't shy from sharing this forward.

Which ones did we miss and which ones should we check out? Let us know in the comments below!


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Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!


Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna

________________________________________________________________________


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** What did we play aCross the Month of May **

Marlon Kruis
Netherlands
Hoogeveen
Drenthe
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What have we played
across the month and 
what is worth mentioning? 
We will tell you and we
also give our initial
feeling on our experiences
with the games?




________________________________________________________________________


The Mind


What a game The Mind is and we are still flabbergasted why this got us hooked as much as it does! We already did a crossword review on it here, but we cannot stop pulling this one out and try to crush those 12 levels. It can be so hard, but also so satisfying at the same moment. You will never know how intense people can stare at you until you have played this one.

4 / 6




Lords of Hellas


At long last, we received our first wave copy of this beast of a Kickstarter board game, Lords of Hellas by Awaken Realms. The expansions are more coming at the end of the year, but we don't need that yet. There is so much going on in this epic Greek Gods meets future technologies megamix. It's a strange cocktail of themes, but for us, it works brilliantly. Another genuine theme would not have set this apart from the masses. But it isn't just the theme alone, the gameplay is solid as a brick too. Quests, hunts, area control, working together, backstabbing, there's so much going on. Again, the mix of different influences here is reminding us of games like Kemet, Cry Havoc, Blood Rage and more. Is that a bad thing? Hell no! I played a 4-hour session with the guys from the Epic Game Day The Hague and we had a total blast with it. The miniatures look fantastic, and we cannot wait to see what Martijn will do with his copy. We need to play this soon and more and often and always! Really need to get this played with Erna too soon, let's make war and not love!

5 / 6


Peak Oil


A belated board gameplay from a game we received at Spiel 2017, Peak Oil, finally we have got it to the table. And we can say that we wasted far too long before playing this. It is published by the Spanish publisher 2Tomatoes and spiced up by the wonderful art of Heiko Gunther. We will be releasing our full thoughts on the game soon, it's already in draft version, so keep your eye on the blog for it soon! It's a wonderful set collection meets action spot majority based oil themed game. You will try and invest in the future tech and make that as valuable as possible. By drilling around the world, you will put black barrels all around the game, which have a different function where they are on the board. But, be aware, it's very player interactive and much shorter then you may expect. Lovely game!

4 / 6


HUE


We needed an extra game to make it across the free shipping amount, so we picked up one of the Packogames game, HUE. As most will know, these tiny games are ideal travel companions and make even for some fun weeknight gaming when the time is very limited. Hue is all about connecting colors and scoring your last card, which holds 3 colors. The longest adjacent color will be scored. Fun little abstract game and a fantastic niche they have found with these titles. Any others you can recommend?

3 / 6


Orcquest


To be fairly honest, my mind was still at the Lords of Hellas game I just finished and I wasn't grasping Orcquest immediately. It's all about slamming cards to the table at the right time, getting in (or out) of fights and trying to gain the most loot or get your fellow Orcs killed. There are a bunch of cards and from what I saw, a massive variety of effects through a bunch of expansions. The ways to screw over your opponents are endless. The art is so good in this and it is of course one which has that Heroquest copy box cover. I only played it once and I really need to play this one again to say if this is something I may like more with more plays. Don't think this is in anyway a game Erna will enjoy though, from that I am sure.

- / 6


Fuse


Can we say this? Yes, we can, it's our own blog, so let's say it. This instant classic dice game from Renegade Games, which is designed by one of our favorite designers, Kane Klenko, is always such a blast to get to the table again. In just 10 minutes you will experience the pressure of being blown to pieces if you do not solve the needed amount of bombs to escape that dreaded vessel. It's so simple, roll the amount of dice that there are players and everybody needs to take just one. But the choices, the decisions, and the frantic communication is hilarious and always keeps you coming back for more. It is one of our favorite filler and social games out there and we really should try Flatline, the sequel of Fuse, someday.

5 / 6


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Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!


Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna

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Fri Jun 8, 2018 1:45 pm
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*Zoomaka, the zoo building rat race where almost everything is allowed * a CrossWord review

Marlon Kruis
Netherlands
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We love animals and we love hanging out in one of the many beautiful zoos which can be found around The Netherlands. There is always the moral discussion if animals should be locked away in cages, and we do think there is something to say they shouldn't be so in some cases, but too many species are saved only because of being helped in there captivity instead of being out in the wild and being hunted on. Also the possibility to get to know the animals better, so the educational part of the equation is something especially the little ones always seem to appreciate.



So when Pablo and Tove from Worldshapers Boardgames reached out to us if we wanted to try
a copy of Zoomaka (which you can buy here) we couldn't say no. And even more special and frankly, heartwarming, this personal note.



Join us for our Zoo making adventures and we will tell you what we think about this interactive and fast playing card game! And if that's not inviting enough, there's a Unicorn too!


Designer: Pablo Jomer, Tove Jomer
Player count: 2 - 5 players
Playtime: 25 - 45 minutes
Theme: Building your own zoo
Mechanisms: Hand management, card play, take that, set collection



The narrative

If you ever wanted to become an entrepreneur and start your own Zoo, here is your chance. You will need to use some imagination in places, because there will only be a deck of cards available, to transport you into the world of Zoomaka. You will start collecting species and will be trying to put them together in different sections and try to open 4 of those before your competitors do. But as with every business model, you will need some cash at hand and will start asking entrance money as soon as you possibly can. With the stolen, or rightfully claimed assets, you can fill the bank or put the needed species you took of your competitor's hands, at a far better place in the world, your side of the zoo! Only, there is a big but in the room (which isn't the elephant) some of those pesky owners don't want to coöperate with your plans and play dirty games like stealing your precious animals, pay entrance fees with peanuts or block you out in a whole. Gladly when all is down, there is a way to soften some setbacks, by playing a setting card you can add some wrinkles in the rules or give yourself some extra motivation to achieve your goals. A lot of the game is being smart about when you do what and trying to dodge those reaction cards, those can hurt you badly.



The flow of the game

The game is played over several rounds until one of the players has 4 sections which are filled with the correct amount of animals. The needed amount and the corresponding symbols are on the cards and there is a variety of animals, ranging from where you just need 2 of a given species or somewhere you will need 5 to get a herd. And like we said in the intro, there is a Unicorn, which is a section by itself.

You will start the game with 6 cards in hand and you will grab 2 when you finish your turn with at least still one card in your hand. If you are empty, you will take 6 fresh ones.



On your turn, you may do up to 3 actions, which can be the same or all different.

1 Place an animal in your section, where you will need to group animals when they have the same symbols
2 Play one of the action cards which costs an action:
2 1 Entrance, you can choose a section in your zoo which you want to monetize. Other players need to pay you from their bank or with assets from their zoo. This way you can grow your bank account and acquire animals which you need for your set collection needs. Or you just hamper your enemies, which is solid and satisfying strategy also.
2 2 Add-on, these will give a section where you put them extra powers like defense, extra cards, etc. The number on the card will also add to the value of the section. Important for when you Entrance a section and want to bleed your opponents dry of there wealth.
2 3 Direct, these actions will give you great rewards but can be countered by a response card, so time them smart. They range from adding cards to your hand, extra actions or stealing from other players.
3 Sell a card from your hand, which you will need to pay stuff, and counts as your bank. You may never pay with cards from your hand.
4 Move your animals and add-ons around within your own zoo.

There is 2 other type of cards in the game which can be played for free.

1 Setting cards which will be played on there own discard and will affect all players as long as it is on top. The one where you will need to imitate an animal when you play is just a random funny one.
2 Response cards, which will let you counter direct cards played by others, are a huge thing in a game of Zoomaka. They will give you those table flip moments or those little smiles of satisfaction. After their effect, they are then discarded.

And that's really all there is to a game of Zoomaka. There are still some small minutiae which we left out, but the rambling above gives a good idea of what you are doing with all those cards in your hand and why.



Components, Graphical Design & Art

As you may expect, there are only cards and they are made from a decent cardstock quality. It isn't a linen finish, which we do like more for our cards, but it is fine and on par with what you will be paying. The black card backs do stand out against the very colorful fronts, but without sleeving, they will wear off in the long run. There is a silver lining though, this is some feedback we received from the publisher:
Quote:
" I'm not sure there will be a future print of Zoomaka. But we are developing other games at the moment. One game revolving around growing chili and one that revolves around nomads and prophecies. For those games, we would probably be able to add linen texture. We might, however, scale back on card size as that would make a smaller impact on the environment. We are trying to reduce our effect on the environment so the games, including Zoomaka, are printed on environmentally friendly paper."


The anatomy of the cards and the graphical design approach can be described as clean, clear and very solid. They really did think of their color use, making the borders different and it stands out very quickly too which of the different types of cards and animals it belongs. It is very clear when an animal can belong to more than 1 collection also.

The art style is very modern and simple, but we love that about it. It isn't too much explosion of beautiful artwork like for example Evolution has and we like that too, but that can sometimes detract from the gameplay. This is clearly function over form, but not in a way where it is too much to one side or the other.



Highlights

Such an easy ruleset, but with that said, there are still some meaningful decisions to make. The randomness is in control, but, just barely. It does have its place in this game.
Big variety of possibilities with just a few card types, but it isn't too much, so it keeps the game quick. There is a variety of animals in the game, always fun to learn new ones or make the kids guess which is which.
The entry-level here is low, it's very tactical but does have a nice sprinkle of strategy to it. So from nongamer moms or dads to regular gamers, who can appreciate some randomness in their game experience, it has a large scope of possible people to play with.
This game is a take-that game, so make plans for that. You will be playing the game also on the other players their turn.
The art is clean and you may call it, minimalistic even, but we like that. It reminds us of our own logo really. It adds to keep the information very clear on the cards.

Lowlights

The cardstock is okay at best and we would have loved to see them in a linen finish. But, we do understand that there's a price point for that, maybe in a future Kickstarter, they will reach a pledge level for it.
The experience of building a zoo is a shallow, set collection of cards and the added wrinkles with the action cards is something which can be done with any theme. That said, it works and it does, in the end, lead to you collection specific species together.
Dark back of the cards? We love the look, but it will scratch easily.

Now the question, can we do a toast on Zoomaka by Worldshapers?




Our Criteria (as always, very subjective)

d10-1 Does it play well with 2?
It's more direct as with more players. A lot of take-that actions are only beneficial against other players and with just one, it can be a lot. The plus side is, your counter cards are also just focussed on 1 player. But overall the game looks quite balanced and the amount of take-that cards versus counter cards is good. Sometimes, because you cycle slower through the deck, your card pulls can be a little frustrating, but that's a minor thing. There are a lot of ways how you can increase the chances of getting what you want, just steal it, simple.

d10-2 Does it suit one of our game groups or family (D&D, Heavy games, thematic games, etc.)  Not sure about thematic players, those will see only the cards and less of a real setting. It's far from a heavy game, it is medium-light at best, but may fill an in-between heavier game spot. It does keep your attention at the table, the situation changes a lot and your reaction (!) cards can be played out of turn also.

d10-3 Does it come with a solo variant? No

d10-4 How are theme and mechanics tied in together?
You really do collect sets of animals and most species which are available, are living in zoos around the world. But in the end, it's a pure set collection card game with some nice colors and there isn't a real feeling afterward where you have to build a beautiful zoo. Like for example, you do have a game like Unfair. But I, Marlon, hated the pushback from the game on certain situations there and would love to have such a game without too much random bad luck stuff.

d10-5 Does my collection need this? What stands out?
(New mechanics? better integration of x? new theme? etc.) We love quick playing card games, which can be dragged along easily to places where we can combine games with other activities. We didn't own an animal themed one yet and this one is filling that gap. We don't know if it's the best tit for tat card game out there and it is more on the social side, then on the strategy, but we are having a blast with it at the moment. 

d10-6 And how is the rsp?
For just a whooping 17 euro you and your gaming friends will have a blast building zoos and be taking each other by the nose in occasions. On the side, you support a wonderful board game-loving couple and help them to create even more of these amazingly fun titles.   



Conclusion time!

We ain't gonna lie, the personal touch included by the creators, does help to enjoy and connect with someone's else their dreams that few percents more. And we would be heartless if it doesn't right? We have said it before and we will say it again, this hobby is so much more than just cardboard stuff we enjoy, it is the whole chain of people doing something in this industry. Is it from creator, publisher, content media channels or just those who enjoy playing the games, it is the human connecting on every level which is still the most important factor within it. Zoomaka is something where you feel there is passion behind it.

Is it perfect? No, it isn't. There could have been more elaborated artwork, there could have been used better cardstock and we would have liked it to have a little more strategic possibilities to it. But who cares in the end? This game is highly enjoyable, it looks very 2018, it comes from people who love their creation intensely and we will choose that any day over any overproduced and forgettable title where it is purely based on popular IP or a long-lasting milk cow principle. You all know which titles we are referring too.



We honestly hope you will give this game a fair chance and we will promise you, you will have a blast with it for just a few bucks and you will have a chance to finally own a Unicorn? Come one, that's worth the experience alone!




________________________________________________________________________


Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!


Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna

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Wed Jun 6, 2018 4:54 pm
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* The Mind, is this card game hype a pathetic hype monster or are there really telepathic powers involved? * A CrossWord review

Marlon Kruis
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There is always THAT game. And this year the first one is The Mind by NSV.de and now Pandasaurus Games! Every year something unexpected get's so much wind in their sails, it looks to be everywhere. And eventually, it comes to a point where it cannot be ignored any longer in this household and we just happen to be looking for an extra thing on Amazon. In most cases when something is being overly hyped, we tone down our expectations a little. Why? Because it most often doesn't live up to the expectations, but in this case, someone important was hyping this, Jess (boardgame_girl)!

In most cases when something is so (over)hyped, it sets us off a little and disappoints us in most cases. The hype and the buzz are everywhere and then it must be a good game right? No, it doesn't have to be. It is often more marketing doing its magic, and that's fine and we are part of that too, but too much is often a signal it is an unnatural high which is created. So, is this small little card game really that good? Is it really something worth buying? Or are we being tricked by mind games being played?

Let's find out.



Designer: Wolfgang Warsch
Player count: 2 - 4 players
Playtime: 15 minutes
Theme: Floating bunny or abstract card game
Mechanisms: Coop, hand management, card play


The Mind by NSV Games is one of these card games, which initially doesn't look the part of a hype game. Now we haven's played something like Strike, which had the same buzz a couple of years back, but it reminded us of that. Looking very simple, just above a social game, but still engaging on a level where people are experiencing more than just cardboard stuff. There was something special, something transcending through digital experiences. Those games, are still the lesser percentage in the current overload of games releasing every year, but we are always looking for the distinctive experience when playing a board game, rather than the mathematics behind it. Designers don't have to invent the whole new wheel every time, but they at least could try and stand apart from the masses, right?



The Mind is from the line of card games called The Game, which already are in their own niche and are quite enjoyable, but none really excel in an unforgettable fashion. They don't have that 1% extra, that extraordinary experience which sets itself apart from the masses. Things happening, which keeps you laughing, or crying, for days after finishing the game.



So what is The Mind all about, what are we doing?

Together with up to 4 players, you will try and concur 12 levels of agonizing silent card play. Every level you will get dealt the number of cards per player of the given level. The cards range from 1 to 100. Without any communication, besides staring each other in the eye intensely, you will have to play out the cards in ascending order. You will start the game with some lives, depending on the player count, and some deadly ninja stars! Why? Well, because those are awesome and wipe out the lowest card in everybody's hand. One last thing to know. Before starting the round, you will put out your hand on to the table and try to focus everybody's mind on what's coming. (don't ignore this seemingly unimportant step!)



Try to remain alive for 12 levels, and you will beat the game. It is really all there is to it. Nothing more, but also nothing less.



But, what gives it that extra 1% you were talking about? To put it simply, it's that whole psychological metagame which is involved in trying to read each other and create that hive mind. It sounds like theoretic nonsense, but after playing it 20 times, we can say it really can happen. Sometimes it doesn't, but when you can make those streak of cards happen, it is beautiful. It's something special. People, even the those normally not that outspoken, will cheer these moments. Guaranteed!

In just a few rounds, people will connect and start reading other peoples behavior and try and act accordingly with their choices. Are you going to play fast? Are you willing to wait another 2.5 seconds, because maybe there is still a card in between the one on the table and one in someone else their hand? It is so much mind game going on with just 100 cards, the design is fantastic.





Highlights
The meta mind games in this one are fantastic.
Heavy staring is taking to the next level here.
Everybody can play this. From your mom to your smartest board game partner.
My suggestion, when you can't stand table-talk, this is the perfect game for you!

Lowlights
It's of course still very abstract and you will need to put your mind into the game
Not endlessly replayable, it does go quite far, but we can see this becoming stale after too many plays.
Dark border cards? Those could have been avoided

The criteria on which we base most of our opinions, but isn't the end all and be all.

d10-1 Does it play well with 2?
It is great at two, just as much fun as with more people. You will never have looked your partner or friend deeper in the eyes then with The Mind.

d10-2 Does it suit one of our game groups (D&D, Heavy games, thematic games, etc.) or can I bring nongamers in or take it to others? Everybody can play this and everybody can enjoy this. It is a perfect game between heavier games, between breaks at an RPG or just when you don't want another imaginary creature doing x amount of damage to your poor hero.

d10-3 Does it come with a solo variant? That would be tricky, challenging though and could suit the schizos?

d10-4 How are theme and mechanics tied in together?
Yeah, that flying rabbit or bunny, we haven't mentioned that yet. Well, let's put it this way, that is also playing tricks with your mind. It doesn't look in place, but it also does look very in place.

d10-5 Does my collection need this? What stands out?
(New mechanics? better integration of x? new theme? etc.) We enjoy these simple, 5 - 30-minute games a lot. Between breaks with all the kid stuff going on, these are fun experiences which you bust out and play a.s.a.p. The whole coöp metagame is something we as a couple highly enjoy.

d10-6 And how is the rsp?
Dirty cheap for the number of experiences and times you are going to play this game.





So what is our conclusion? GET THIS GAME a.s.a.p. Don't think this is just that hype game and everybody is oversaturation their experiences, they ain't. It is one of the most fun, yet crazy simple games, we have played in a long time. Is it everlasting? Maybe it gets stale after 175 plays, like our dear friend Jess mentioned herself about it, but almost every game will give you so much enjoyment (and hive mind fun!) that for us it is a keeper!




Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!




Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna



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+++++++++++Shout out section+++++++++++

Jess Davis
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Wed May 30, 2018 6:28 pm
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* Omen a Reign of War * Sometimes the only path to get Zeus's blessing is one by wit and carnage * A Kickstarter preview.

Marlon Kruis
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John Clowdus and Kolossal Games are going big on this pimped new re-release of the Omen: a Reign of War series. There have been already two iterations of this saga and a lot of expansions of this BGG award nominee game saga since 2011. But we dare to say, this is going to be a big overhaul from the Smallbox editions and is going to be a fantastic line of games which this collaboration between these two publishers is bringing to us!

ON KICKSTARTER NOW!



Quote:
"Open your mouth and shut your eyes and see what Zeus will send you."
~ Aristophanes c. 446 – c. 386 BC


Designer: John Clowdus
Player count: 2 players only
Playtime: 20 - 30 minutes
Theme: ancient mythology (Greek & Persian)
Mechanisms: Hand management, card play, objectives & area majority.

Let's dig in and face our enemy




The big elephant in the room here is the F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C looking artwork which is even more elaborately showcased in this new edition. While we received a Print & Play preview copy, which is just crazy good looking and done by Print & Play, we are mesmerized by the portrait artwork. A host of artists did a stellar job of capturing the gist of this fantasy time period and they set the tone of the world you are fighting in and with, very well.  But don't get pulled in too deep, it will cost you...(check here how much )



As greedy sons and daughters of Zeus, you will pillage and carnage three cities in Greece for its divine prowess, control of the majority to gain victory points and combining all kinds of different power units at your disposal.

E Soldiers: for their brute force and controlling cities. When deployed, they give you a nice extra benefit as well.
E Beasts: even more formidable with their huge strength, but they take up more space in your city for being Colossal. Discard them for some game-changing state actions, called a Dirge.
E Oracles: bring their passive powers to the cities, they may not be as strong at first look as other units, but those sweet passive boons will have some nice benefits, in the long run, to turn tides your way.
E Hero's: what are stories without heroes? These units are great powers or are very rewarding if you can save them until the end. Treasure them.
E Spirits: the advanced units with their huge magical powers. Those aren't for the weak of mind and will be even more grandiose when you use their Invoke possibilities.



If you ain't familiar with something like Magic the Gathering or other card-based board games, the cards are set apart with Keywords, which are specific actions a given word has in the game. With a lot more content possibilities in the future, these will give you so much replayability and a different game experience every time you will play one of the Omen Saga products. That premise is something we highly applaud. It can be a little overwhelming in the beginning, but after a few rounds, it makes sense.



Here are the new central board with the 3 cities and the reward tiles. Those tiles will give you end game points and when you use them, some extra actions, but fewer points.





The flow of the game


1 Wealth Step, here you will gain more cards or money to spend on cards.
2 Surge Step here is the main part of the game and where you spend most of your time strategizing.
d10-1 Choose a unit card from your hand.
d10-2 Pay the cost of that unit in coins by returning coins to the supply.
d10-3 Place that unit card into one of the three cities on their side of the city board.
d10-4Resolve any deploy abilities on the unit.

3 Portent Step, here your Oracles will fire their passive powers and will let you get extra money, change cards and a whole host of other actions.
4 Feat Step, the objectives you can achieve
5 War Step, battles are what the Gods demand and carnage is what they will get! Count your power numbers and decide who won this battle. The loser will discard down till two cards in the city and the winner to one.
6 Offering Step, discard one of your cards from hand to gain extra cards or money. Up until a limit of 5 in hand at the hand.

Already in the base game, there are possibilities to play with some variants. Especially the drafting variants are ones, which when you are more experienced with the cards, you surely want to go to. But the base game, with its central deck (like say 51st State), is one we ourselves love! And who knows? Maybe there will be more unlocked! 



How does this end in the end?


While quite simple, when two out of the three stacks of City Rewards is depleted or when one of the players has achieved five out of the six Feats they have in front of them.

After that, players immediately count up their victory points and the one with the most of those will be receiving the blessing of the Gods. The points are on the reward tiles, through handheld Heroes or those feat cards.



Our initial thoughts


Let's do this, let's tell you what we thought after our first play's of this colossal little card game. We love the contradicting in this, just a small box with a lot of game packed into it. We haven't played any of the earlier editions so we cannot say how it has changed or compares. But, from the information we got from Kolossal Games, it is mostly just are little revisions, rules tweaks, adding reward tiles and a physical central board. As we got to know Kolossal Games a little better over the last few months, we can advise to follow along with the Kickstarter closely for some surprises and more fun stuff they will have for you all. Their first three projects were amazing and they are all-in to over-delivering on everything they do. They are going to give us a whole bunch of Omen products to explore and aren't just here for solely the re-print possibilities.

While I myself have played a lot of Magic styled card games in the past, Erna hasn't. She did need some time to adjust to the Keyword implementation, but I can tell you it is implemented very solidly and she picked up the game very quickly. The variety of units and the coming standalone products will bring a whole Omen Saga to your table and we can imagine us highly liking getting all of these in the end. Due to the easy ruleset and clear flow of the game, it will get you playing very quick. It does take a few rounds to see where the strategy is, but in the end, the base game is a medium to light tactical strategy card game. While we say that, we only played the base game and including more different units, more rewards, more feats, we do see the potential for it to be a more complex game. The system allows for that and that's a big plus in our opinion.






 
Highlights


A huge variety of units and there are so many possibilities within this system.
It's far from a single player solitary experience, watching the moves of your opponent and take-that are through the roof here. Be tactical, but be strategic as well if you want the blessing of the Gods.
Very short play time, but still a lot of game in those 25 - 40 minutes it takes to play.
The artwork and setting are fantastic.
Clear rules and you will be playing within minutes. When you are not accustomed to the Keyword feature, it may take a little longer, but not so much when you start with the base game.

Lowlights (not really though...)


It can be quite mean and has a lot of take-that, so if you ain't keen on that, this can rub some people the wrong way.
You need to play the other player's game also, we like that, but some may not.
Experienced players may trump new players, card knowledge is an advantage.
We do love to see SO MUCH MORE content! But well, stay tuned for that fact here
There are some edge cases with specific powers how they should play out, but this is often the case with a lot of variety in different card powers.

Yes this preview is based on a received preview copy, and yes we are already liking a lot of what Kolossal games are doing lately, but to be honest, they are are just crushing it. And this latest endeavor looks like no exception. We hope this campaign goes over well and will lead to a huge amount of content for the Omen Saga. We did approach this as usual and put it out against our review criteria, but for a longer review, you will need to wait until the full product is available. These are our initial thoughts, based on the current state of the game. (which may change during Kickstarter, who knows.)



Go visit the Kickstarter page through our Blog and if you liked our preview, please let us know in the comments below or on our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or BGG accounts!

Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna


Preview copy was provided by the fantastic folks behind Kolossal games, thanks Y'all!







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*Why Elon Musk and Clay Ross may have more in common than only the color red * The Estates Kickstarter preview and interview

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Welcome friends! Glad you are here, have a fun read and let us know what YOU think!





We call ourselves fortunate to have met Clay from Capstone Games last year at Essen Spiel. First at the Heavy Cardboard meetup with a short hello and we did a long talk, with Mira, at the Capstone booth the day after. Clay is such a smart, wonderful and energetic guy, and together with his lovely spouse Ashley, they have something great going with their publishing house. They introduced a new label, Simply Complex, for their more accessible yet challenging games, and launched that with the excellent The Climbers.

So when the possibility came around to have a virtual sneak peek at The Estates, designed by Klaus Zoch the second title on the Simply Complex label, we couldn't help but comply to write a little post on it. Include the work the Dutch guys, Thijs & Daan Van Paridon, did on it too and we are very excited! 







The premise of the game

If you are like us and have that weeknight's where time is precious, with the kids taking up the time or other social activities eating up possible board game time, a 40-minute shifting economic area control game for 2 to 5 players, sounds like a blessing!

The second luring thing here is, who doesn't want to make loads of money and become the biggest investor & tycoon in The Estates its history? By cunning building and pleasing the Mayor a little, but not too much the City Council won't like that, you will try to gain the most points by completing rows or lose points with incomplete ones. The City Council is something to think about nonetheless, I know you are greedy and don't want too, but they will tear down uncompleted rows when the first two are finished. And you can figure where that leads to, loss of investments and that ain't good for becoming that legendary Tycoon now, does it?

For the older or more informed audience, this title is a reprint of Neue Heimat. That title has been out of print for some time now. But gladly it will be back and now also through Kickstarter, available for a worldwide audience!



Enough with the talk, we demand pictures! The Estates 

 


























Want to get to know the man behind Capstone Games, Clay Ross?

As we want you to experience everything related to a board game life, and not just a dry game pitch or an overview of a board game, we include some fun stuff from the people behind our beloved games. We want you to get to know them a little more and keep the so important human connection, which makes this amazing hobby so great, tangible through the growing virtuals connections.



Here we go with Clay Ross, the man, the myth and the brains, behind Capstone Games! (we all know that behind every great man, there is an even greater woman. In this  case, Ashley Ross! :-) )


Here's Clay in action at Spiel 2017, reading the rules of one of his published game, Wildcatters!


The Questionnaire

Q: How would you describe your job to a child?
We make fun games about different activities in this world from historical settings to modern day times.

Q: Describe your life using board game titles only.
A little bit of Arkwright and Agricola to help Climb in this Terra Mystica world while enjoying some Vinhos all in the Pursuit of Happiness

Q: What is your guilty pleasure, it can be board games or any other noteworthy pleasure.
I'm a sucker for classic video games (Doom, Duke Nukem Age of Empires, Half-Life, etc) --- brings back the memories!

Q: Would you let us hook up YOUR recently played list on Spotify to the office speakers? And if so, who will argue your taste of music the most?
Sure! It's Your Favorite Coffeehouse --- my brother Drew would hands-down argue about this taste of music as it's not metal enough!

Q: Who or what "thing" or which moment has been your greatest inspiration in life and why?
Elon Musk -- He's all-around great guy doing amazing things and not afraid to go after big corporate entities

Q: What's your favorite Disney ride? (if not Disney, what other?)
Oh my gosh Marlon -- I've NEVER been to Disney! Probably a rollercoaster of some sort.

Q: If money, time and place aren't relevant, what IP and with who, would you love to make an epic style boardgame series?
Rollercoaster Tycoon, Sim Golf, or Age of Empires (I love tycoon games and these are some of my favorite from back in the day)

Q: Will we live in a fully virtual reality world in 10 years? And how do you see analog board games evolving with that?
We will have both a massive AR and VR presence in 10 years. Some board games will incorporate it, but the classic euro wood/cardboard style will always be around as it's the one of the best mediums for temporarily removing technology in one's life.

Q: If you could place one billboard, which everybody could see, what would it say?



Q: What's your favorite sports team and why?
Cincinnati Bearcats, college team! I'm also a huge Phil Mickelson fan.



Q: Any closing thoughts or things you want to share with the world?
Enjoy your life the way you want - be yourself.


Thanks for your Answers Clay! Some great answers here, but you really should chance that Disney fact and ride Space Mountain or Big Thunder. A theme parc building tycoon as you, is going to love that!





We hope you liked our short and fun questionnaire, and you got to know Clay a little better. But now we want something from YOU all:

What is your number one take away from this?

Let us know in the comments below, give it a like if you got some fun out of it on our social media or ask Clay directly about his answers on Kickstarter or Twitter!








Subscribe to the blog, leave a comment or just share it forward would make us so happy, thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna






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*War of Currents in a tiny card game * a review of Tesla vs. Edison: Duel by Artana Games

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Welcome friends! Glad you are here, have a fun read and let us know what YOU think!





One of the wonderful things about the board gaming hobby is, that you discover new topics and interesting periods of human history by spending time at the tabletop. Most of us are aware of the legacy Tesla and Edison have in our daily lives. But the fact that there was a real war between the master and his apprentice was something, we personally, did not know until recently. That fascinates us quite a bite, not to be taught through dry college education or some boring teacher explaining the raw stuff, but experience by the way of social interaction, in our books, is a much more fruitful way to make teaching practical.

Tesla vs. Edison: Duel, is an Artana game published in 2017 and created by JR Honeycutt (he also worked on Feudum) and Dirk Knemeyer (he is known for the big Tesla vs. Edison board game from 2015). Add in the amazingly talented artist Heiko Günther and lights may go on for some people. Let us tell you why we think this is one of the best two player titles of recent years.





How do we get the energy flowing?

Both players will firstly make a choice whose team they are going to join, AC or DC? And no, that ain't that punk rock band you were thinking of. While, they do have a lightning bolt as a logo, so it does comply.



We are talking about these two fine gentleman and their given choice of electricity protocol and their 4 inventors. (8 in total)



After you have made your choice which team to join, it is time to pick your quarterback for the game. He or she is better known as the inventor who will give you a set of personal goals to achieve and outsmart your rival before the end of the game after three rounds. If after those rounds nobody won on those, the one holding the most regions, win the game. The inventors are also tied to their company stocks and those become yours exclusively. These will give you access to the portfolio actions, which are an extra way to manipulate the game state to your advantage. More on those later.




 
So, now you have made you first important strategic choice of the game. The other stocks, which weren't chosen, become the minor stocks of the game and will let you acquire influence in the different electricity companies and are accumulating point based on the count in their set region. Every stock is related to one of the three technologies (Bulbs, Transformers, Electric Meters) and can be placed in the given region (Out West, New England, New York).


The 8 packs of stocks in the game


The three technologies. Those are stickers on thick poker chips and are going around the table a lot.


The colors are just gorgeous and the art is so, so good! The region cards.
 

 
The scene is set, now let's g(l)o(w)

The flow of the game is as follows:

1. Draft assistance
2. Take actions
3. Check Inventor Personal Goals
4. Award Region bonuses.


Very handy player aids with very clear iconography on it.


Tiny rulebook and nice back of the propaganda board. The fight is on!

Let's start with 1, because why wouldn't we right, and talk about those assistants who are needed to win you the game. Every one of the 24 cards is unique and are historical figures giving you access to one of the five possible actions in step 2. On the card, there are one or two symbols related to these actions. You can deal three random cards or you may want to do a draft with six cards. We liked the draft one a little more. Because you can make it better suit your personal goals instead of the luck of the draw. Now let's get into two, then how can I play this game?



Electrify City this will let you bring electricity to the City! You select one of the 3 City Cards, 24 are in the game and will slot it in the related Region. That's two points for your side there. When there is a "No Ac/Dc" chip there, you cannot do this action.


Acquire Stock each minor stock has a required Technology related to it. You need to own that chip (be the leader) if else you won't be allowed to buy and put out stock. They will give you control in the related Region. (1-1p, 2-3p, 3-6p, etc.)


Wage Propaganda back in these days PR was also already a thing, yes readers, them who are most popular (bought or not) are winning the game. It wins you ties, earns Free Actions (wildcard for one of the 5 actions) or gains 2 points.



Advance Technology very simple, become the leader of one of the three technologies. But better said, steal the poker chip back!



Monopolize Power you can place one of the blocking chips out onto a Region and make sure your rival cannot play a City or Stock there. Official knows as not being able to electrifying and placing Cities. Another, screw you, other inventor!








 
In addition to these regular actions, you will have the possibility to do Portfolio actions. You will use one of your own stocks still in reserve or one of the stocks out in the regions on your side of the table. You can do two actions:

Place a Share of your own company in the associated region without holding the leader chip in the needed technology.

Sell a Share you can earn a free action here, by discarding one of your reserved stocks or one of the stocks already placed out in one of the regions.







 
Highlights
A lot of different combination possible with the different inventors going head to head with each other.
Stellar production and phenomenal graphical design. Artana has it as a mission statement in their companies vision.
Very short play time, but still a lot of game in those 25 - 40 minutes it takes to play.
Teaches you some historical figures and fun facts from the War of the Currents.
Clear rules and you will be playing within minutes.

Lowlights
It can be quite mean and has a little take that, so if you ain't keen on that, this can rub some people the wrong way
You need to play the other player's game also, we like that, but some may not.
We do love to see MORE content! We hope this will get some expansion love.


The criteria on which we base most of our opinions, but isn't the end all and be all.

d10-1Does it play well with 2?
FANTASTIC! It's a two player only game of course, but one of our favorites!

d10-2Does it suit one of our game groups (D&D, Heavy games, thematic games, etc.) or can I bring nongamers in or take it to others? It is a thinky filler, but one which is very inviting to all sorts of players. It's good with mom, my thematic brother liked it and we as omnigamers also found this a great option to play between heavier games or as social experience when gaming is secondary. A copy paste from last time, but it's just true for Tesla vs. Edison too, it's beauty lures you in and keep attention from a broad spectrum of people. It does take a little tactical insight, so for kids we would say 12 and up is possible.

d10-3Does it come with a solo variant? No, and can't imagine it is any good. 

d10-4How are theme and mechanics tied in together?
This is one of its biggest strengths, the theme and gameplay are superb.

d10-5Does my collection need this? What stands out?
(New mechanics? better integration of x? new theme? etc.)
 As we play 70% of our plays with two, we always have a use for two player games. The theme is unique and Artana stepped in on a great niche. We like our Schotten Totten, but a game like this appeals just more due to having more historic ground to it. It teaches it shows and it breaths passionate historic facts in a gamy kind of way.  

d10-6And how is the rsp?
We received THE personal Kickstarter copy of the amazing Jess (boardgame_girl) (go check her Instagram!) as a gift after our epic punching party at Essen Spiel 2017! On The Geek the price depends a little on where you are based, but between 19 and 25 € seems like you can get a copy still. Which seems a very sharp price for the high-quality components and game you will receive.














 
In conclusion, we can say we loved our time playing Tesla vs. Edison. It's such a well balanced two player experience and teaches you so much with just a few cards and a few components. And the artwork and all those buildings and Cities? We want tons more of those! This smaller box game has us very interested in what Artana has up their sleeves for the future and now we need to seek out the big board game version of this, Tesla vs. Edison War of Currents



Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!






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~ Marlon & Erna






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* 5 highlights why building blocks are still brutally cool to play with * The Climbers Review *

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Welcome friends! Glad you are here, have a fun read and let us know what YOU think!





As alluded to in the title, we are going to have a look at the brutal, yet very cool board game The Climbers by Capstone Games. In this seemingly simple game, you may end the night with fewer friends or family as to where you took off from. Besides that little thing, you will have a great tactical strategy puzzle in front of you. With just 5 player accessible colors and 1 neutral color, you will build your way up into the sky. Who will reach the top first and who will stay there? Don't think this is a lovely kids game where you will have fun, There will be blood. (this could be seen as a cross-reference to another Capstone title, can you guess which? )


There Will Be Blood. (Deviant art piece from Supajoe)



Holger Lanz seems to be a one-time designer and if you can kick off your board game designer career which such a beauty, we hope he will do a whole lot more designs. Konstantin Vohwinkel worked on some other titles, Halloween and Keyflower for example, and did a lovely job on the box cover. It's almost like one of those posters at the dentist where you will find a new scene every time you look at it.

The games play two to five players and will take you about 45 minutes to finish. Age depends on the child's development, but 8 and up seems quite on target.


A massive stacking gaming needs a massive impressive box. It's a tight fit inside and that's a good thing.

The flow of the Game

The main thing you will be thinking about is how can I go up, how can I block others from doing so and how don't I get stuck myself on subsequent turns due to earlier decisions. If you are in the understanding it's just stacking of some blocks, you are wrong, very wrong.

On your turn:

1 You may move across or up (not down) as much as you want (using ladders for this is fine) and is legal (no diagonals, not on blocks with a blocking token, only on your color or white)
2 You may move or rotate a block that does not have a player token or a blocking token on it. It needs to follow the same placement rules as set up.
3 Move again just like the first time.
4 Other players in turn order complete their move during your turn, a sort of free action.
5 The next player on the left follows this same flow and
the game ends if each player takes a turn without anyone moving up.


King of the hill, who will get the highest and who will be left behind?


All fine and together here, but soon they will be on their own and cutting cords.


Head into the clouds.


The three different stack heights of blocks, 1, 2 or 4 high.

When the Dutch and French meet at the foot of the mountain

So we introduced the game to my sis and her hubby, our French connection, to get our experiences with the higher player counts too. No, that isn't like The French Connection movie with Gene Hackman, but when we think about, he did win two games and stabbed me nicely in the back when he could? But, maybe it is just the game playing up...


When playing with the French, this might happen if you ain't watching your back! Just joking Arnold, fair use blague ;-)


they were all cute and laughing at the start of the game. The Climbers is said to change this mood very quick when somebody gets blocked out in the cold. We cannot deny or confirm that sentiment.


Your tools as a climber, two ladders, and a blocking stone, use them wisely.


Keep a watchful eye on all possibilities.



Highlights

You can play it with anybody, there's almost no threshold to enter.
Everybody loves to build, kindergarten feeling guaranteed here.
If you ever wanted to throw friends or family down a cliff? It will give you the chance to do it here in a figurative way of course.
The player interaction is through the roof here and there isn't even one present.
It presents tactical and strategic choices in a delightful brutal way.

Lowlights

Another obvious one, but it still is just an abstract.
The components in our copy were already a little scratchy from the start and it will wear over time more. But it's a game, right?
The rules, while being short, do lack some and leaves some questions unanswered or unclear.



The criteria on which we base most of our opinions, but isn't the end all and be all.

d10-1 Does it play well with 2?
It plays two players, but it isn't the most interactive and it gets stale quite soon. We think the sweet spot is at the higher player counts.

d10-2 Does it suit one of our game groups (D&D, Heavy games, thematic games, etc.) or can I bring nongamers in or take it to others? It is a thinky filler, but one which is very inviting to all sorts of players. It's good with mom, my thematic brother liked it and we as omnigamers also found this a great option to play between heavier games or as social experience when gaming is secondary.

d10-3 Does it come with a solo variant? No! That would be a little awkward.

d10-4 How are theme and mechanics tied in together?
Well you are climbing and so you go up, but the theme is of course very secondary here.

d10-5 Does my collection need this? What stands out?
(New mechanics? better integration of x? new theme? etc.) 100% it does. It looks great on the table, it plays such a broad scale of people and it brings something unique to the table. We do own something like Rhino Hero for building, but that's less confrontation and more for only the waves of laughter. Climbers will bring some serious faces to the experience too.

d10-6 And how is the rip?
The price on The Geek goes from a cheap 35$ up until 100$, which is crazy expensive. Because of the hefty amount of wood in it, it won't be cheap production, but somewhere between 40 and 50 would seem like a nice price for what you get for it. We imported it from the States and got hauled last Essen for around that price from the Capstone website.


Everybody wants his hands on one of these and we think Capstone knocked it out of the parc with this one.




So what is our conclusion? Go find a copy if you can and add it to your collection. It's an instant classic in our household for those filler evenings or when gaming is meant to be secondary. But that said, it does have teeth and can bite you hard. The table-talk will be high on this one and if you love that, it's something we will highly recommend. Two player isn't the best count, so keep that in mind.





Subscribe to the blog, leave a comment or just share it forward would make us so happy, thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna






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As a side note, Capstone Games will launch their second game from the Simply Complex line the 11th of April! The Estates

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