Villagers from Sinister Fish

Villagers

Game by

Sinister Fish

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 1-5 Players
  • 30-60 Minutes
  • 10+ Ages

What is Villagers

Have you ever played a PC game by the name of ‘Settlers’? If so then Villagers will feel very familiar to you. You and your fellow players are the founders of new villages set in the middle ages after the great plague. The roads are teeming with refugees looking for a new home. You need to tempt the best of them to join your village, allowing it to grow and prosper. Choose wisely because food and resources are limited. New residents may allow you to access new or improved skills but they also need supplying by other people from the roads. Choose well and build the most prosperous new village before your opponents do the same.

What is in my Box?

The copy of Villagers I received was a preview copy and as such components and quality were not finalised. In saying that, The standard of the preview copy was very high indeed. Inside the very stylish but understated box there was

  • Numerous coins in denomination of 1,5,10 and 20.
  • Basic Villager cards,
  • Founders cards,
  • Player aids,
  • Travelling Villagers.

The art on show was gorgeous in its simplicity. Illustrated by the artist Haakon Gaarder. The illustrations for each villager were easy to recognise with all icons and titles clear and easy to recognise.

How does it work?

Each round players take turns to draft new villagers based on their food supply. As each villager is claimed, they are replaced on the road by another from the reserve stacks. Players will then allocate villagers for building based on their available building slots. This can be followed by an income phase. After the second income phase the game ends and the player with the most money is the winner.

Sounds simple?

On the surface of it Villagers is a very simple game. BUT (yes it is a big but) there is a depth that is belied by the simple exterior. To start with players can only draft two new villager cards. You can only start to gain more by producing more food. However it is no good drafting more villagers if you cannot do anything with them. So you decide to try to draft villagers with extra building capacity. Some villagers allow you to place others onto them gaining more money, food or building capacity. Wait what is this? Some of the villagers have padlocks on them this means you will need to unlock them. This may cost or earn you 2 coins. If you have the right villager in your tableau you can earn the coins from the bank. If an opponent has the required villager you will be paying them. You can also unlock by paying to the central bank. There are also ‘special’ villagers which allow you to bend or break various rules. 

Strategy?

Choosing when to go for more building capacity or drafting more villagers is critical and different every game. Using ‘Special’ villagers at the right time could swing things in your favour. You will be constantly surprised how much thought you put into each villager draft and subsequently each building option. In fact the amount of thought required for what is essentially a card game is surprising.

Who is it for?

Villagers is a game for everyone. That is something I do not say often or lightly. Children as young as 9 or 10 can play the game without any major issue making Villagers suitable for family play. While its suitability for meet-up groups is an easy recommend with the 5 player count and it having a shortish playtime. I can also recommend Villagers for regular game groups as the amount of thinking and subtle depth mean that it is a great shorter game to start or finish off a game night.

My thoughts.

I first received my preview copy of Villagers about a week prior to its Kickstarter launch. I did intend to try to have a preview ready for the launch, but following my customary 3-5 minimum play I wanted to be certain of how I felt about the game. I do not mean in a negative way but more an intangible desire to play again repeatedly. After more than 10 plays at 2,3 and 4 player (I did not have the solo variant available at time of testing) I could still not find a ‘one way to play’ You do not reveal all the cards each game meaning Sinister Fish have avoided the single strategy way to play. A definite recommend.

  • For my shelf – Yes.
  • Play again – Yes.
  • Recommend a friend – Yes.

I Was provided a copy of  Villagers for review through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game will now be passed onto another reviewer. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible. No recompense was provided or sought for this review from the publisher.

Zombie Legacy

Zombie Legacy

A game from

SLAM Games

A Preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-5 Players
  • 60 minutes

What is Zombie Legacy

Society has fallen to the Zombie Hordes. You and a few survivors have banded together to try to survive by scavenging for supplies like gas, food and medicine. But everybody is different and their experience and life before the fall have shaped who they are. Ex-cons, Police, Single Mums. Thieves, getaway drivers, Sword wielding ninja types all these and more. Who can you trust if anyone? Who will stand by your side and who will let you fall? As your stories unfold friendships will be made and broken, factions will form and survival will be about more than the undead. The question is, Do you have what it takes to survive?What is in my Box?

As you would expect from a Legacy game, a lot of the contents are kept secret. What I can tell you is that when you open the box you will find,

  • A board,
  • Zombies (go figure LOL),
  • Player Characters,
  • Boxes,
  • Packs,
  • crates,
  • sealed decks,
  • Tokens,
  • Stickers.
  • Various other components to be revealed.

First order of note is that the copy of Zombie Legacy I received was a prototype copy and as such did not contain all components for the full legacy. The components were also not to full production quality. I have taken these factors into account. Also being legacy I do not want to spoil aspects of the game so have deliberately left some information out or been a little vague where this might have impacted prior knowledge.

Legacy? That sounds scary!

Legacy games are a little bit of a scary prospect for many gamers. The thought of putting stickers onto the board or tearing up cards. There is also the hurdle of perceived value. Normally you buy a game and that is it you play it as often as you want and the 3PG (Cost per player per game) goes down dramatically often being pennies per game for a really popular game. With a Legacy game however you generally have a finite number of games (often 12) which can make a game feel more expensive (it is not).

How does it work?

Zombie Legacy begins with players deciding on a character to play. There are 10 to choose from, 5 male and 5 female. You will then stick their picture to your player board, this is followed by selecting various ‘backstory elements’ and a starting weapon. You will then place these stickers onto your board as well giving you over 2,000 possible starting combinations for a character. Each of these combinations can change how your character develops throughout your journey (more on that in a bit). Once all players have chosen character set-up, you will open the first deck of cards. Following each cards instructions step by step you will set up for your first campaign.

Sounds simple?

The main gameplay within Zombie Legacy is fairly straightforward. Each game consists of a quest that you need to complete. Players move revealing tiles as they go. Uncovering weapons, survivors, medicine or quest items. Then any zombies on the board move according to simple to follow guidelines. Each time a zombie and a player occupy the same tile an encounter occurs. Draw an encounter card which might give you a lucky break and a reward or more commonly give a die modifier to the zombies. Win and you kill the zombie lose and you take damage. Players will try to complete the main quest before the encounter deck runs out. If that happens you will be able to reset that level and replay that quest.

Strategy & character development?

On the surface the co-operative aspect of Zombie Legacy allows you to work as a team to complete your objective on each level. However as you progress through a campaign of Zombie Legacy, your character will gain motivation cards based on your backstory choices. These are mostly hidden bits of information that will guide the way you play the level or even the entire campaign. Other players will also have their own motivations guiding their actions. Can you trust them?

Who is it for?

Zombie Legacy is a lightweight entry into the legacy aspect of gaming. You can raise the difficulty if you are finding the level a little to easy. As such it can be considered as suitable for the more occasional gamer. While also fitting well with the more experienced gamer looking to explore the legacy style game. Given the zombie theme not really recommended for younger players but families with children over 10 should have no issues. Meet-up groups are a little trickier unless you have the same players most weeks because with its 60 minute playtime it is of the right length. Game groups might enjoy the experience if the theme is appealing.

My thoughts.

Zombie style games are not normally my game of choice. Saying that however I did enjoy Zombie Legacy’s approach with the character motivation progression. I did feel it was a little on the light side for my personal tastes BUT as I only had the first 4 episodes to preview. I felt that could be down to the story arcs only just getting established. Well worth a visit especially for those looking to dip their toes into the legacy game genre especially if they enjoy the zombie theme.

  • For my shelf – No,
  • Recommend a friend – Yes,
  • Play again – maybe.

I Was provided a copy of Zombie Legacy for preview through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game will now be passed onto another reviewer. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible. No recompense was provided or sought for this review from the publisher.

Eye for an Eye

Eye for an Eye

Game by

Darwin Games

A Preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-6 Players
  • 15-25 minutes
  • 14+ Ages

What is Eye for an Eye?

Here we have an Arena combat, Real time, Dice rolling game with zero downtime. Yes that’s right ZERO downtime. Everything and I do mean everything happens at the same time. Damage dealing, Healing, Blocking, Movement and special abilities are all available at one and the same time. OK I hear you. Real time and dice rolling in the same game? Won’t that just favour the fast rollers? Well read on to find out

What is in my Box?

The copy of Eye for an Eye that I received was a prototype copy and as such component quality and quantity was not finalised. Even allowing for that fact the contents were nice to look at. There were,

  • 30 Dice,
  • Plastic Cups,
  • Tokens,
  • Game board,
  • Player boards,
  • Health tokens,
  • Rulebook,
  • Player Character minis.

There are likely to be several stretch goals upgrading and improving the components throughout the current (at time of writing) Kickstarter campaign

There is also a downloadable soundtrack to create an atmospheric timer.

How does it work?

Gameplay within Eye for an Eye is fairly straightforward. Each player has their own board specific to the race they are playing. These boards have allocation spaces for attacking, defending, special abilities etc. players roll their dice and allocate one, some or all of them however they like. They keep doing this until they decide to use one of the abilities. The Nimbus for example can Heal, Parry (block), Fly (move even over obstacles) and Axe Cleave (attack). They also have the added ability of Gliding which allows them to use two different die results for the same outcome.

A game begins and you all start rolling and trying to outmanoeuvre / attack dealing as much damage as possible. Deal enough damage and you can eliminate an opponent. More commonly in larger groups however is the timer runs out you all total your damage and most life left wins.

Sounds simple?

Gameplay in Eye for an Eye is on the simpler side but this does not preclude the ability to use some strategy. Each of the figures has a special designed base which shows the facing direction at a glance. Get attacked from that direction and you can block. Get taken from behind and you are in for some pain. Deciding when to use the attack or block and how many die to use will be your main focus of strategic thinking. Do you go little and often attack or wait, build up and hit hard. There are several different game modes including an advanced mode with more character cards with extra abilities

Who is it for?

Here is a game for fans of real time play, arena battles and take that will find a lot to enjoy here. With its short play time plenty of room for enjoyment at meet-ups. Not really a game for Euro-nuts but some good fun to be found for family play

My thoughts.

When I played Eye for an Eye the first time I had a lot of fun, playing three rounds back to back introducing the advanced cards from game two. This surprised me as I am not normally a fan of Arena or Real time combat games. A few days later when I played again with some different players I did not get that same wow factor. By my third play a few days later I was very ambivalent towards it as I just felt I had seen what was on offer and there was nothing to keep me coming back. This I think is a fatal flaw in most arena combat games. They can only offer variable player powers to add variety. Ultimately this was fun for the first few times but lost its shine. That being said as a more strategic and euro-y type player I am not really the target for this game. I do urge you to give it a try you might find it more engaging in the long term.

  • For my shelf – No,
  • Play again – No,
  • Recommend a friend – Maybe.

I Was provided a copy of Eye for an Eye for review through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game will now be passed onto another reviewer. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible. No recompense was provided or sought for this review from the publisher.

NO ESCAPE

No Escape

Game by

OOMM Board Games

A Preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-8 Players
  • 30 minutes
  • 13+ Ages

What is No Escape

You have done it. You finally landed your dream job working on the space station Titan. You arrived last week and have been getting your space legs ever since. Tomorrow you are due to start working all your clearance codes and passes have been activated. Suddenly there is a huge explosion and the station shakes violently. Alarms sound and Gas starts to fill the room. Outside you see escape pods launching and the evacuation warning sounds. The electronic display tells you that there is a single seater escape pod left, then the power fails. You are now in a race against the other survivors to try to find the last pod and escape before the station explodes. Will you survive?

What is in my Box?

The copy of No Escape I received for preview was a prototype copy and so quality and quantity were not 100% finalised. At the time of writing No Escape was live on Kickstarter meaning stretch goals could also have an impact.

  • Double sided start board (2-4 & 4-8 player sides),
  • 42 Action tiles,
  • 90 Maze tiles,
  • 12 New path tiles,
  • 8 Player pieces,
  • 24 Energy tokens,
  • 2 Custom (1-3 numbered) six sided dice.

How does it work?

You objective is to be the first player to exit the board while adding to the maze and using Action tiles to slow your opponents or help yourself. All players start on the central start board they also take 3 tiles from a central stack of Action / Maze tiles. On your turn you have several action options to take which include compulsory actions. These are,

  • Compulsory Action,

  • Play Maze tile to extend the maze in a legal direction based on corridor directions. No Maze tile in hand and you discard entire hand then reveal tiles from the stack until you reveal a tile you can place.
  • Roll the dice and move your character which can interact with other players character pawns.

 

  • Optional Actions,
  • Play Action tile from your hand with an immediate effect,
  • Use Energy token to add +1 to your movement.

Once you have done this you redraw back to 3 tiles in your hand. Play passes to the next player.

Sounds simple?

The main method of gameplay in No Escape is very simple. Play tiles to extend the maze making life difficult for your opponents while trying to get off the board yourself. First off the board wins but if the tiles stack ever runs out the station explodes and everyone loses. It really is as simple as that. The main wrinkle comes into play when you start using the Action tiles to aide yourself or hinder your rivals with some mild take that style elements of play. Another method of interaction is when you encounter another players pawn. You make them turn round and push them along the corridor, often in the opposite direction they wanted to go.

Strategy?

Here we have a game that is very ‘strategy-lite’. This does not mean that it is a bad game at all just that the decision on where to place the next Maze tile is usually fairly obvious. The interaction of strategy comes with the use of the Action tiles, of which there are a wide range. Some of these include,

  • Redo – Play any one tile from the discard pile.
  • Tactical Update – Play 2 maze tiles this turn.
  • Switch – Change locations with another player.
  • Supply Stash – Target player draws 3 Tiles.

Who is it for?

No Escape is a very entry level gateway tile laying game most suitable for larger family groups containing some ‘non-gamers’ or meet-up groups when you want a bigger group game to play. Very rules light and easy to teach. I do not see this being used by the Game group setting as there is not enough ‘meat on the bone’.

My thoughts.

This is a tough on for me to call. I say that because having played at 2, 3 and 4 player it felt very flat. I would have loved the chance to play a full 8 player as there could potentially be more room for fun over a beer-n-pretzel style title. Fortunately it does not outstay its welcome and with an average 30min playtime you can easily play a quick game or two. Personally though I do feel that there was something missing, maybe an additional mechanic or take that element. Overall an interesting take on the tile laying mechanic and one that shows promise from an interesting designer.

  • For my shelf – No.
  • Recommend to a friend – Maybe.
  • Play again – Maybe.

I Was provided a copy of No Escape for review through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game will now be passed onto another reviewer. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible. No recompense was provided or sought for this review from the publisher.

Goblin Grapple

Goblin Grapple

Game by

Silver Gaming.

A Preview by

MAWIHTEC

2-4 Players

What is Goblin Grapple?

  • Is it a wrestling game? No.
  • Is it a new type of apple? No.

Goblin Grapple has you trying to strategically build an army of Goblins before your opposition. Can you get your armies strength to 100 before the other factions? Put you strategy hat on and come with me.

What is in my Box?

The review copy of Goblin Grapple I received came in a tuck box style deck box with a deck of cards and a small rules booklet. The deck of cards were broken down into different groupings of,

Spies, Defenders, Assassins, Mages, Knights, Raiders and Kings.

Each of these classes of Goblin has its own lovingly created artwork that is very evocative of the role that character plays.

How does it work?

The gameplay with Goblin Grapple is fairly straightforward. You can take one or all of the following either once or as many times as you want or are able to.

  • Play a Goblin to your Army – Place a card face down in front of you to your “Army Stack”
  • Play a Goblin to challenge an opponent Army – Opponent reveals top card from their Army, highest number wins (assassin always beats king regardless of number) and cards go to victors garrison.
  • Discard a Spy Goblin – Steal a card from an opponent hand.

Once a garrison has 21 points in it the round ends. Each player totals their Army and Garrison cards. If neither player has reached 100+ points then play a second round.

Sounds simple?

Yes Goblin Grapple is a very simple to play game with easy to access gameplay. It is not however bereft of strategy. Making choices every turn over which card to play into your Army, Do you attack? How strong is your attack going to be? What cards do you use this turn or do you want to save them for another turn? All of these decisions and more can make a difference to your chances of victory.

Strategy really?

OK so maybe I should say Strategy-lite gameplay. This is because the better you know your opponent or the better you are at reading them, the more chances for success you will have. The careful use of the few cards with ‘abilities’ can help you make educated guesses as to best tactics each turn. They did however feel to few and far between. Otherwise you are just boiling it down to luck of the draw each time and that would be no fun at all now, Would it?

Who is it for?

Goblin Grapple is a game for families with younger players. Simple rules and gameplay makes this an ideal gateway game for the younger player. Minimal card text and large clear numbering all add to this. I cannot honestly see this making an impact at meet-up or game group play being far to lightweight for both of those settings.

My thoughts.

Goblin Grapple, interesting idea, simply executed. Unfortunately too simply for this gamer. Not enough interaction from card abilities take this from just about OK down to a luck of the draw style game more than anything else. A shame because the artwork is nice but the gameplay just needs something else to make it gel. If there was a ‘player life count attack option’ or some extra mechanic to play alongside it could have helped this gameplay. The base gameplay does not have enough for me to recommend.

  • For my shelf – No
  • For a friend – No
  • Play again – No

I Was provided a copy of Goblin Grapple for review through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game will now be passed onto another reviewer. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible. No recompense was provided or sought for this review from the publisher.

Tour Operator

Tour Operator

Game by

Keep Exploring Games

A Preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-4 Players
  • 45-75 minutes
  • 8+ Ages

What is Tour Operator

As the name suggests Tour Operator has you as the head of a travel agency. As such you will need to manage your resources including fuel for planes and your staffing all the while looking after the needs of the tourists. Get them where they want, with what they want, when they want and into the accommodation they will be happy with.

What is in my Box?

Inside the box you will find quite a lot or beautiful artwork in a gentle nice fun style making it feel very welcoming,

  • 4 Plane/ Office boards,
  • 4 Hotel Boards,
  • 30 Tourist cards,
  • 28 Employee cards,
  • 25 City Cards,
  • 4 Aeroplanes,
  • 200 tokens,
  • 5 Dice, Rules booklet.

These are the components in the preview copy and the starting list of the current Kickstarter. They are very likely to change as goals are reached and components get upgraded.

How does it work?

In a game of Tour Operator you are trying to send tourists on holiday. A game is played over a series of rounds based on the number of players. 2 player games last 7 rounds, 3 players will be 6 rounds while 4 player lasts 5 rounds. At the end of the correct number of rounds the highest scoring Travel Agency wins. Each of the rounds is broken down into a number of phases which consist of,

  • New Tourists appear – Players draft up to 4 new tourists for their Travel Agency.
  • Gain & use resources – Each player will roll the 5 custom dice to gain resources.
  • Previous Tourists check out – Any Tourists that have reached the end of their stay leave the hotel.
  • Tourists fly & Scoring – Any tourists on planes can now be flown to their destinations and Victory Points scored.
  • Tourist Check-in – You will need to locate the Tourists into the preferred rooms If a Tourist cannot be put into a room they gain you minus victory points.
  • Activities & unhappy travellers – Tourists already on holiday take part in activities scoring you bonus points while those sat in your Office spaces become more dissatisfied. If they become angry they leave and you gain minus victory points.

Sounds fairly simple?

The basic rules for Tour Operator are very straightforward and easy to pick up. All the Icons used come across very clearly and easy to understand. This includes the bonus points and accommodation needs icons. Each Tourist has different preferences based on Activities they want to take part in like shopping, discoing or Beach. The room they want to stay in is shown along with the duration of their holiday duration time. Staff you can recruit will have bonus abilities to assist you either as a one off or an ongoing effect. Travel around the locations is based on your fuel each location costs one fuel.

Strategy?

You might be thinking cute graphics, 8+ age requirement, easy rules and easy teaching would be a recipe for a super lightweight game with no strategy? Wrong answer! You will be pleasantly surprised to discover that Tour Operator is (in my opinion) a mid weight title in terms of strategy. There is no hidden info, Dice rolling can be mitigated with the use of Staff abilities, Staff recruitment is based on the draw 3 choose 1 method which will allow you to make useful decisions as opposed to the “get what your given” method. Your strategy for playing starts with deciding which tourists to place on your plane. How much fuel do you have? Where can you reach? Do you want to use all the fuel available? Once you have made those choices you will then look at your competition. What’s that? Looks like Stella needs to visit Tokyo to place all her Tourists? I will fly there instead I can still score some bonus and she will have a Tourist without a room and minus points. Yes you have a little element of take that as well.

Who is it for?

Tour Operator is an entry level mid weight game with more strategic play available if you want to expend the added brainpower. Equally as good as a straight up race for points as a deeper thinky game. Suitable for Family play due to its easy to understand rules and accessible use of graphics. With a play time of up to 75 minutes it just about fits into the meet-up category. I do not think it has the depth or involved play for regular game group but will definitely be one that comes out from time to time.

My thoughts.

Before giving my thoughts I will be honest and say that the game designer Nestor is a designer I have spoken to many times during the development of Tour Operator. Mostly about my opinions over artwork choices. This has not affected my thoughts or review but is for openness and clarity.

I liked Tour Operator quite a lot. It is accessible and easy to both teach and learn. The ability to plan ahead or just play on the fly. Minimal luck with good mitigation means that this is suitable for almost everyone apart from ‘dudes on a map’ exclusive players. Tour Operator felt well balanced and while there is the chance of a hugely bad / good roll your Staff recruitment choices will help you stay in the game.

  • For my shelf Yes,
  • Recommend a friend Yes,
  • Play again Yes.

Tour Operator is live on Kickstarter now with a short campaign finishing on April 28th. Go check it out for yourself and the option for 5Euro discount coupon for the first week as an added incentive makes this a much better value campaign than many others.

I Was provided a copy of Tour Operator for review through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game will now be passed onto another reviewer. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible. No recompense was provided or sought for this review from the publisher. All images used are from Kickstarter page due to prototype components being received for preview.

Lost my Mummy

Lost my Mummy

From

David Gumbrell

A review by

MAWIHTEC

  • 1-2 Players
  • 20 Minutes
  • 7+ Ages

Lost?

Lost my Mummy is a card game for 1-2 players. The tuck box storage tells you. ‘Lost my Mummy is a family friendly fast paced card-game. Rave your opponent to find your mummy by searching for clues about Canopic jars, Death wishes and Amulets’. So what does this mean to you and me in real terms? Read on to find out

Canopic.

When you open the tuck box you will discover 72 cards, three themed dice (Red, Blue and Green) and a rules sheet. The artwork throughout is a gentle and lighter depiction of Mummies Tombs and general Egyptian paraphernalia surrounding the titular Mummies.

Found.

OK how do you find your Mummy then?

The overarching goal of Lost my Mummy is to find three Mummies. When this happens the player with the most reward money wins the game.

Players start with three Mummy cards valued at 50 King’s Gold Rings. First player rolls the Blue die and draws that number of cards. However if you roll an Eye symbol you forfeit your go. Once you have drawn your cards you choose one to play either a card matching a Mummy or an Action card. If a swap a Die card is revealed the active player gets to upgrade the dice they roll. The remaining cards are discarded play then passes to the next player. Once you have found three matching cards you can turn your Mummy card over keeping it safe and securing your rewards. First player to find three Mummies ends the game and the total rewards from the Found Mummies is calculated highest total wins.

Bandaged.

In an attempt to increase replayability there are three variants included on the rules sheet as well as a solo mode on the makers website. In all honesty these variants only change the number of cards required to find your Mummy. Artisan (100 Gold Rings cards) needs sets of four, Scribe (150 Gold Rings cards) needs sets of five and Grand Vizier allows you to select from the three values and collect the correct number of cards accordingly.

Summary.

Lost my Mummy is a set collection game which is all luck based. Roll a dice, draw cards or miss your go. Pick one to play discard rest. There is no “bad roll” mitigation other than ‘swap a dice’ which allows you to draw more cards. The whole miss-a-go with no mitigation is a horribly outdated mechanic and deserves to be locked into a pyramid along with the Mummies. In one game I played with my son he rolled three Eyes in a row. So for three rounds he sat there doing nothing. He refused to play a second game with me. In fact all players I played with said 1 game was enough.

Pointless, Boring and outdated mechanics mean that at 20 minutes this game still manages to outstay its welcome. I cannot recommend this game even for 7 year olds, there are better games out there.

  • For my Shelf – NO
  • Recommend to Friends – NO
  • Play again – NO

I was provided with a copy of “Lost my Mummy” to review as part of the BGE group. I have now passed this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Fire Tower

  Fire Tower

Game by

Runaway Parade Games

A Preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-4 Players
  • 15-30 minutes
  • 13+ Ages

What is Fire Tower?

FIRE!! You hear the call go up. From your watchtower, you scan the forest. Smoke there in the distance. The wind is blowing this way. Oh No! You will not get any help from the other towers. They just look out for themselves. Quick dispatch the engines, construct fire breaks, order water drops. Wait what’s that? The wind is changing direction. Quick alter your plans. Push the fire towards a rival. It is too big to put out. You need to save your tower. OH NO FIRESTORM………………..

What is in my Box?

Inside a copy of Fire Tower you will find,

  • Fire Gems,
  • Weathervane,
  • Action, Bucket and Firestorm cards,
  • Game board and
  • Firebreak tokens.

The copy I received was a preproduction prototype and as such quality of components was subject to change during the upcoming Kickstarter. That being said the quality was very good for the most part.

Not a Co-Op?

Absolutely not. Fire Tower is a total opposite from the usual fire fighting style games. Here you are totally out for yourself. Protect your Tower and spread the fire towards your opponents. The fire cannot be extinguished and spreads every turn. Your aim is to try to push it towards your rivals and be ‘The last tower standing’. Using cards to change the wind, build firebreaks, add water and vary the spread pattern.

How does it work?

Gameplay in Fire Tower is very straightforward. There are two phases to a game round.

  • Wind Spreads the Blaze:- Following a simple set of adjacency rules the fire spreads in the direction the wind is blowing.
  • Tower Action Round:- You can choose to either play a card from your hand (redraw after action complete) or discard and redraw.

Yep that’s your lot.

Sounds too simple?

Thankfully there is more to Fire Tower than that. How the fire spreads, while the wind dictates the direction the fire spreads. You get to choose which space it spreads to as long as it is orthogonally adjacent the the existing flames. Each player will place one Fire Gem on their turn in the same manner. So changing the wind direction with the use of cards is important. Within the deck of cards there are several card types to assist you or hinder your opponent as well. These are comprised of,

  • Water Cards– Blue cards allowing you to remove Fire Gems according to the pattern on the card itself.
  • Fire Cards– Orange cards used to spread the fire. Helpfully they are not tied to wind direction.
  • Wind Cards– Grey cards that will allow you to change wind direction either by using the cards stated direction or spinning for a random wind direction. They can also be used to add a Fire Gem in the direction on the card.
  • Firebreak Cards– Purple cards that will allow you create a block to stop the fire spreading across certain tiles.

If the fire ever reaches the orange highlighted square of your Tower, that’s it your out. You do have one final line of defence if your threatened with this. A one use bucket of water that can only be used when the flames reach your Tower.

Strategy?

I would say that Fire Tower is very strategy lite. This is because apart from the judicious use of the various cards. Or where to place a Fire Gem on your turn. There is not really a lot of strategic involvement. This is much more a quick down and dirty romp where your just trying to save yourself at the expense of others.

Who is it for?

Here is a game that is squarely sat aiming at the family group with occasional meetup use as well. I would not expect to see this on a games night Except maybe at the start of the session when waiting for a late player to arrive.

My thoughts.

I quite liked Fire Tower but if I am honest it was not as good as I had hoped. A lot less depth of thinking than I personally would have wanted. Not withstanding that though there is a good bit of quick fun to have for family play. The Fire Gems really lift it up a notch or two on the presentation stakes as well. I will be watching the Kickstarter when it launches to see how it develops.

  • For my shelf – No
  • Recommend a friend – No
  • Play again – Yes

I Was provided a copy of Fire Tower for review through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game will now be passed onto another reviewer. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible. No recompense was provided or sought for this review from the publisher.

Fire in the Library

FIRE

in the

LIBRARY

From

Weird Giraffe Games

A preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 1-6 Players
  • 30 Minutes
  • 8+ Ages

Story.

FIRE! The Library is on fire! Quick. Save the books. You and your fellow Librarians are rushing to save as many books as possible before the building burns down. Push your luck and retrieve the most books. Books are worth saving and the Librarian who saves the most books will no doubt be made the Head Librarian once the Library is rebuilt.

Index.

The box art for Fire in the Library is set out to give the impression of being a hardback book. Very much in keeping the theme of the game. While the lettering is designed to give a burning fire impression. It manages to pull this off without appearing ‘tacky’ or ‘cheap’. Upon opening this Tome… sorry I mean box. You are greeted with,

  • Book tokens,
  • Fire tokens,
  • Library bag,
  • Score track,
  • Library figures,
  • Library, Tool, Reference and Turn order cards.

Important Note. This is a preview copy of the game and as such components, rules, presentation and quality are all subject to improvement as the game runs its course on Kickstarter and achieves stretch goals.

Chapters.

OK so Fire in the Library is based around saving books from a burning Library. You and your fellow Librarians try to gain the most Knowledge by saving books. Get to the books before your competitors and earn yourself Bravery points as well. A game of Fire in the Library is played Over a series of variable turn order rounds. During these rounds books will be destroyed by the fire. As this happens the remaining books in that subject will become more valuable. But because the fire rages on the chances of saving those books becomes harder to achieve. Once any section of the library completely burns down the game will end and the Librarian with the greatest amount of combined Knowledge and Bravery will claim the win.

Non-fiction.

A game begins by sorting the Library cards by both book section (colour) and Value (lowest to highest). You will all then claim a Librarian token and a colour coded reference card (I could find no reason for the colour coding as all were identical). Book and Fire tokens are put into the draw bag. Players are dealt Tool cards. Turn order is randomly allocated and your ready to begin, in following rounds you will choose your turn order with lowest score choosing first.

  • On your turn you have a few options to choose from based on what has happened to you earlier in the round.
  • Save a Book- Draw a token from the bag placing it onto your turn order track.
  • Play a Tool- Play one of your Tool cards. (these may allow you to score a card twice, continue your turn or steal books).
  • Score Knowledge- Stop saving books and gain Knowledge.

You need to be careful though because as you try to draw books to save them you risk causing the fire to spread. The more books players save the more the chance of a spreading fire happening. When this happens the player tries to use Tools to stop the fire spreading, if they cannot do this they lose the books they have collected. The Sections of the library connected with each of those book’s colours are destroyed as well. This will increase the value of that section of the Library but also mean that there are less parts of that section left. They score no Knowledge, return their tokens to the bag. Adding extra fire tokens as indicated and drawing a new tool card. Play then passes to the next player.

Reference.

Scoring within the game is based on the current value of that section of the library (Knowledge) and on how much risk you took on your turn order card (Bravery). After all players have had a turn a section of the library burns. As soon as the last card from any section is burned the game ends and scores are tallied.

Librarian.

Here we have a game which is unashamedly luck reliant on what you draw. BUT and yes it is a big but the potential rewards and options for clever play choices. Do you try for that extra book? Do you have a Tool to help stop the fire spreading and gain you an extra decision? If you are behind you get to choose earlier for the next rounds turn order Gaining a possible scoring advantage in the next round. All these decisions will affect your chance of claiming victory. So clever thinking over the risk over reward level is the key to victory.

Shhhhhhh!

So final thoughts time. Fire in the Library is a nice little game that plays quickly. It feels well balanced with the Tool card powers. I enjoyed the solo variant and there was a nice AI option built in to add an extra challenge. If you can allow for the heavy luck element and take it for what it is as a lightweight quick filler you will find it a bit of fun. Suitable for family play and meet-up play. Game group play occasional as a quick snack between meatier products. Like a lot of push your luck games. If a player has a couple of really good draws it can force you to push your luck more than you would do otherwise in an effort to try to catch up. I say this as getting off to a flying start first round and then going a little more conservative in the following rounds. Or maybe even drawing to try to force a spread of the fire to try ending the game quickly are sound tactics. This can be combated by good turn order choices going forward.

So in short, Quick, Lightweight, Luck heavy, Fun. With some luck mitigation possible.

  • For my Shelf—Maybe.
  • Play Again—Yes.
  • Recommend a Friend—Maybe

I was provided with a copy of Fire in the Library to preview as part of the BGE group. I will now pass this copy on to another reviewer in the group. This has no bearing on my review or my final thoughts on the game.

Kitty Cataclysm

Kitty-Cataclysm

Game by

BEZ

A Preview by

MAWIHTEC

  • 2-5 Players
  • 10-15 minutes
  • 7+ Ages

What is Kitty-Cataclysm?

You and your fellow felines are a bunch of temperamental squabbling cats. You are keen to gain the most ‘Meowny’. You will strut your stuff scratching and biting your way to the top. You won’t think twice about stepping on the shoulders of others to get there (or their tails, heads or any other bits actually). Will you have what it takes to claim your rightful place as the Top-cat?

What is in my Litter Tray?

Inside the box of Kitty-Cataclysm you will find, A deck of cards and a rules sheet. Yes that’s it. No you do not need anything else. Well apart from other players, but they never come in the box. Although as it is all about being cats you might find one of them trying to sit in the box.

Cat-art?

At the time of writing Kitty-Cataclysm has just successfully funded on Kickstarter. Bez has now gone to work on refining the artwork (well to be honest Bez is now starting the art). The preview copy I received was full of hand drawn sketches which if I a, honest I really liked and if they had been given a touch of colour I would have said they were good to go. Sometimes simple is best.

How does it work?

When playing a game of Kitty-Cataclysm you need to be ready to mess with your opponents at every opportunity. Take no prisoners and show no mercy. You start a game with five cards. The starting player plays a card in front of them into a personal ‘Kitty’ then completes the action on the card. Play passes to the next player and so on. If on their turn a player cannot play a card due to having none in their hand. Or a draw from the central stack cannot be completed due to too few cards, the game ends. Count up the ‘Meowny in your ‘Kitty’ and your hand, highest total wins.

Sounds simple?

On the surface Kitty-Cataclysm is a very simple game. To be honest, under the fur Kitty-Cataclysm is a very simple game. But the action on the cards do lead to some surprisingly deep thinky moments. Will you choose to steal 2 cards from another player or try to offload some of your less helpful cards by choosing a card with ‘Donate X’ on it? Some cards are worth negative ‘Meowny’ as well. Do not fall into the trap of hoarding cards though as should a ‘Cat-aclysm’ or ‘Cat-astrophy’ card be played you will lose all your cards over a certain number.

Strategy?

Kitty-Catalysm is very strategy-light. Choosing which card to play when and who to target with an action is in reality the sum depth. This is more a game of Chaotic pun filled dickery or the highest order.

Who is it for?

Here is a quick lightweight game that is suitable for everybody. Yes even those who dislike or are allergic to cats. 7 year olds can easily play this independently. It is safe for Family play, quick meet-up fun and also suitable for a game group when your waiting on a player to turn up or a quick ‘snack’ in between meatier games. In a direct quote from the Kickstarter page

This game is chaotic.

You can be a dick to your friends and family.
There are many cat puns.
You need to think about what card to play.

That is pretty much the entire game.”

My thoughts.

I really like Kitty-Cataclysm. It is a bit of fun that can fit in your pocket, Only takes minutes to play, Suitable for everyone even cat-hating non gamers down the pub. Full of Cat puns of the highest order. Sometimes it is good to just lose the Cat-titude and take a mewment to have a litter Claw-some fun. Do yourself a favour. Contact BEZ and by this game when it is released on BEZ-Day in August 2018.

  • For my shelf – YES
  • Play again – YES
  • Recommend a friend – YES

I Was provided a copy of Kitty-Catalysm for review through the Board Game Exposure Group. This game will now be passed onto another reviewer. I have tried to make this review as impartial as possible. No recompense was provided or sought for this review from the publisher.