Monday, March 31, 2014

Welcome to the Multiverse: A Review of Sentinels of the Multiverse

I love cooperative games.  There, I said it, it's out in the world and there's no taking it back.  I love to work with a team and destroy the evil game!  Whether it's ridding the planet of diseases or clearing a dungeon of vermin, cooperative games got their hooks in me a long time ago and I just can't get enough of them.  

They provide a great entry point to the hobby, allowing non-gamers to contribute and not feel picked on by the experienced players.  They provide an island of collaboration and team building in a hostile ocean of "take that" and "screw your neighbor" games.  All of this brings us to today's review - a cooperative superhero experience - Sentinels of the Multiverse by Greater Than Games!

Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game, by Devin Low

Welcome Agent Phil Coulson to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ.  Today we need you to bring a team of young agents to the field and have them assist you in the apprehension of some of the biggest villains in the world.  You will not be alone as you will be joined by up to 6 different super heroes in the field.  You will need to utilize each hero’s strengths and work with them to exploit the villain’s weaknesses.

Now that you have been briefed let us dive right in to the world of Marvel Legendary Deck Building Game by Upper Deck.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Suburbia, by Ted Alspach

Did you play SimCity 2000 in 1994, or any year thereafter? I did, and I loved it. There's something about "god mode" and managing an economy that's always held my attention and kept me coming back to the genre for more games - but I didn't expect the latest version to be a tabletop game!

Suburbia is a tile-building game of economic management and city development. It's a pretty deep game, on the level of a game like Power Grid or Concordia, and takes about 90-120 minutes to play. If you're a fan of interactions and building an economy, you should try this game!

I'm including a Q & A with my wife, Amy, and I both answering some general questions after my review. Enjoy!

Loonacy, by Looney Labs

Same size as a Fluxx box!
When I was 8 years old, I was the Morningside Elementary Third-Grade "Speed" champion. It's a simple card game of playing out your hand of cards as quickly as you can while your opponents try to beat you to the same goal. 

Flash forward 20-something years, and it's like my childhood has snuck up behind me - Loonacy reminds me so much of those days that I can practically taste the Star Crunch cookies. If you're looking for a speedy matching game that can be taught in three words - "play matching cards" - then you're looking for Loonacy! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Medici, by Reiner Knizia

I was told by my friend Marcelo to buy Medici, sight-unseen, immediately after meeting him at Texicon in Fort Worth, Texas. I’d only just met Marcelo, but we bonded quickly over our mutual love of Smash Up and Lords of Waterdeep, so I took his advice and picked up this wonderful game about shipping goods in Renaissance-era Florence.

I’ve gotten this game to the table again and again, and it’s one of my 2-3 “go-to” games for a group of 5-6 players who don’t have the time to learn a long game, but want something deeper than a “party” game like Wits & Wagers or Cards Against Humanity.

If you’ve got a love for bidding games, being a trading lord, and a little math, read on!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Small World, by Phillipe Keyaerts

My apologies if the song gets stuck in your head...
Are you a wizard? Have you ever been called a troll? When you were a kid, was your nickname, “Dwarf”? Any skeletons in your closet, or rats in your walls? These are the probing questions you’ll have to carefully consider during a game of Small World.

I’m kidding, of course – Small World isn’t a game of sharing your dirt, but a fantasy-themed territory-acquisition (meaning you DON’T share your dirt) game from heavyweight publishing company Days of Wonder.  That’s a group well known for Ticket to Ride and other titles, and Small World fits right alongside those hits in a hallowed place in my game library. Come on inside, and I’ll share a few secrets of my own!

Friday, March 21, 2014

BattleLore Second Edition, by Fantasy Flight Games

Imagine yourself walking into your FLGS, box of board games under one arm, backpack full of micro-games, and you're ready to throw down some dice and cards.  As you walk to the gaming tables, you see them.  Yes, THEM.  The war gamers.  They dominate the room with their giant tables full of beautiful terrain, second only to the glory that is their armies.  Finely painted, detailed, moving about in formation, advancing across the field of battle to bring pain to the enemy.

And what do you have?  Cardboard chits?  At best, maybe paper standees?  How glorious it must be to direct hordes of troops across alien worlds or advance threateningly across the grasslands towards the demon horde assembled before you.  Have you ever wondered how to get involved without spending the equivalent of your mortgage to do so?  The answer is here, my miniatures-coveting friends, and that answer is BattleLore!  Er...Second Edition...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Guildhall, By Alderac Entertainment Group

Guildhall is a set collection game from Hope S. Hwang and published by AEG. In Guildhall, players recruit various professions into their guildhall.  Once a player completes a chapter of their guild, they use it to buy cards that provide victory points.  The first player to 20 victory points wins the game.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dixit Journey from Asmodee

The eyes are the window to the soul. Truth is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye. The eye sees what it brings the power to see. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The eye is the notebook of the poet. If all these things can be said about the eye, what can be said about the things the eye sees? In Dixit Journey, a picture is worth anywhere from 1 to 1000 words.

Devastation of Indines by Level 99 Games

Seriously, Look at it.

Have you ever spent any time in an arcade? Specifically one where there were giant glamorous arcade machines that played things like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat? If that pictures is at all bringing back fond memories, do yourself a favor and buy Devastation of Indines. It will be 100% worth your while.

Devastation of Indines seeks to recreate the look and feel of fighting games, and it does an incredible job. When you first open up the box, Devastation can look a little daunting, but the rulebook explains, and so will I, don't worry about it. A majority of the components you won't even use during your first 40 or so games (And you will play that many games.)

Seasons, By Asmodee

A Review of Seasons; or How I Learned to Live Without Magic: The Gathering

There was once a point in my life when I was addicted to little scraps of cardboard.  They held the power to move stars, summon demons, smite my enemies, and stymie the most panic-inducing enemy advance.  They were powered by the energy of land - mountains, plains, forests, islands, swamps - and they invoked equal parts fear and wonder from my opponents.

They were beautifully illustrated and I would slide them delicately into plastic sleeves and package them reverently into hard cases.  Yes friends, there was a time when Magic: The Gathering ruled my life.  But like all addictions, I had to step away for the good of my health (and bank account!).  You may ask, "Donny, how have you been able to cope with such a dramatic change in your life?"  And I would say to you, "Reader, one word: Seasons."

Pirate Den, By Bo Radakovich

Pirate Den cover (not final art)Ahoy mateys, and welcome to the Pirate Den. I'm yer captain, JRrrrrrrr, and I'll be watchin' from the mainstay while ye and yer mangy chums scrub the decks... and plunderin' treasure from ships floatin' about the vast blue sea. Yo ho! 

Pirate Den is on Kickstarter as of March 10th. The designer, Bo Radakovich, is a friend of mine and asked me to review it. We played Pirate Den on launch day for the campaign, and filmed an episode of Back It! to go with it. After one game I was hooked, and I can't wait until I'm playing this at my friendly local game store with all my buddies.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: Last Night On Earth by Flying Frog Productions

The work day is ending and the stillness of evening sets in on a quiet Midwest town, the kind of town where the high school, the police station, the junkyard and a farm are all within a short walk of each other.  Johnny, the high school quarterback is getting in a few more reps in at  the high school gym; Sheriff Anderson is locking up at the police station while his son Billy stashes his belongings in his locker.

Then, a blood-curdling scream echoes through the small town... Jenny, the farmer's daughter, on her evening walk through the cornfield!

The dead are rising, and it might just be these folks' last night on Earth...